LEGAZPI CITY, May 2 (PNA) – Albay Gov. Sarte Salceda on Thursday night stressed the Diwa ni Magayon (Spirit of Mayon) at the opening of the National Heritage Month 2014 and the Taoid Heritage Program at the façade of the historically and culturally-rich Nuestra Señora de Porteria or Our Lady of the Gate Church atop a hill in nearby Daraga municipality.
The National Heritage Month opened under a culturally-rich atmosphere with a lively ceremony graced by guests from Metro Manila.
The event featured the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on heritage conservation among the Province of Albay, National Commission on National Culture and the Arts (NCCA), local government units of Legazpi City and Daraga, and Diocese of Legazpi.
It kicked off the NCCA’s annual national Taoid Heritage Program for the Albay-Sorsogon (Almasor) tourism cluster, which Salceda conceptualized and implemented as chair of the Regional Development Council for Bicol.
The celebration is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation Number 439, Series of 2003.
Salceda proclaimed actor Enchong Dee, who attended the occasion, as Albay’s Ambassador for Heritage.
Others present were Prof. Felipe de Leon, NCCA chair; Rev Fr. Harold Rentoria, commissioner, NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Heritage; Dr. Ramona Ines R. Bustamante-Rañeses, co-chair, Albay Culture and Arts Council; Bishop Bong Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi; and Engr. Abdon Balde Jr., poet laureate and chair, Albay Historical and Cultural Unit.
Representatives of the Angat Pinoy Kabataan from Misamis, Bacolod, Iloilo, the cities of San Pedro and Biñan in Laguna and University of Sto.Tomas as well as various diocesan youth organizations in Albay also attended the event.
The occasion is part of five-day activities of the NCCA in Albay, Masbate in Sorsogon.
The National heritage Month 2014 and the Taoid Heritage Program will also be launched today (Friday) at the Sorsogon Provincial Capitol.
The twin events will also be replicated at the Old Municipal Building of Masbate City, to be followed by a local history writing workshop at the Masbate National Comprehensive High School on May 5.
Similar activities will be done in some parts of Mindanao like Iligan, Gimenez and Misamis Occidental in June and the Visayas area, especially in Limasawa, Leyte, where the first Catholic Mass was held.
Salceda said Albay’s rich culture and heritage are depicted in the 21 festivals the province and its cities and municipalities celebrate the whole year-round, highlighted by the just- concluded month-long Daragang Magayon Festival which is composed of 278 activities.
These festivals and activities do not only give entertainment and fun but also awakens the spirit of art lovers, gives income and bequeaths culture to the next generation, he claimed.
Explaining the relevance of the Taoid Heritage Program, the Albay chief executive said “taoid” is an Ilocano word for heritage, which is equivalent to the Filipino word “tawid.”
He said the word suggests a transfer from the past generation to the present one of something – tangible or intangible – like custom or legacy.
“Thus, we can aptly call it ‘tawid-lahi’, ‘mananlahi’ or ‘salinlahi’. In Bicol, it is ‘dakit’ which is rich in meaning,” Salceda said.
He said it can mean crossing a river, “dakit-taramon” or translating a word, or “dakit-isip” transforming from simple to meaningful idea.
He said the culture of the Albayanos is the foundation and the basis for which the province is known worldwide.
The arts patron claimed that the Spirit of Magayon is embodied in the all the programs of the provincial government.
"This is the foundation of the distinctive comparative advantage of Albay as a tourist destination vis-a-vis the rest of the world -- the foundation of our unity as a people,” he said.
The environmentalist governor stressed that it is embodied in the five traits of the Albayanos: heroism, love of nature, constant kindness, full preparedness and resiliency with renewed strength.
Salceda informed his listeners the UNESCO might confirm next year the Cagsawa Church Ruins as a Cultural Heritage Site.
He said he also suggested to include in the listing the Mayon Volcano, being Albayanos’ identifying landmark in the world.
Aside from these two, the province has 11 cultural assets that are programmed for rehabilitation and preservation, while 13 of the 18 churches in Albay are candidates for national heritage.(PNA) CTB/FGS/NIM/CBD/