Pronounced like "buy-uh-nee-hun," bayanihan is a Filipino word derived from the word bayan meaning town, nation, or community in general. "Bayanihan" literally means, "being a bayan," and is thus used to refer to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation.

Although bayanihan can manifest itself in many forms, it is probably most clearly and impressively displayed in the old tradition of neighbors helping a relocating family by getting enough volunteers to carry the whole house, and literally moving it to its new location. They do this by placing long bamboo poles length-wise and cross-wise under the house (traditional Filipino houses were built on stilts), and then carrying the house using this bamboo frame. It takes a fairly large number of people -- often 20 or more -- working together to carry the entire house. All this is done in a happy and festive mood. At the end of the day, the moving family expresses their gratitude by hosting a small fiesta for everyone.

Bayanihan has been a favorite subject of many artists. The picture above is from a mural by Filipino National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco, commissioned in 1962 by UNILAB founder Jose Y. Campos, and currently on display at UNILAB's administration building in Manila. It is used here with permission from UNILAB.

There is also an impressive real-life photograph of bayanihan in action in National Geographic Magazine, March 1977, p. 382. Unfortunately, we cannot post a copy here due to copyright laws. If you're interested in seeing this picture, we suggest going to a library.

By developing the idea of volunteer computing, Project Bayanihan seeks to bring the bayanihan spirit into the realm of world-wide computing, making it possible for people around the world to help each other and work together toward a common goal. The software framework we are currently building serves as a tool that, much like the bamboo framework in traditional bayanihan, will allow people to more easily pool together and coordinate their processing resources.


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