Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cagsawa festival celebrates rising from disaster to renewed life
By Connie Destura

DARAGA, Albay Feb. 01 (PNA)-—Albay second district Rep. Joey Salceda extolled the resilient spirit of those who survived and started life anew in Daraga, Albay during the opening rites of the Cagsawa festival held at Cagsawa Ruins here today.

He said the festival “commemorates the passing of the residents here from life to memory.”

Salceda said the annual event also celebrates the resilient spirit of those who survived, started a new life and prospered in the town of Daraga.

He added it also showed the ability of the people of Daraga to “rise from disaster to renewed lives.”

The Cagsawa festival commemorates the worst eruption of Mayon volcano that occurred on Feb. 1, 1814, when a huge volume of superheated volcanic materials covered the former settlements known as Budiao and Cagsawa.

Thousands of people were estimated to have died, including the 1,200, who sought shelter inside Cagsawa church and were buried alive.

Subsequent eruptions further covered the church until only the bell tower remained above ground.

Salceda said the people who died in Cagsawa taught Albayanos to be ready for different disasters brought by movements of the earth.

“How to prepare when the weather worsens, how to be mindful where the winds blow, how to be wary when the tides rise,” he cited.

Salceda said that the ancestors gave various advice to the Albayanos: “Dai pakaseguro, kwaresma man may bagyo (Don’t be complacent, storms may come even during the Lenten season); Mag-adam ki pandong bago ka uranon (Prepare your shield before the rain falls); and Pag may honas, may taob (The tide that ebbs also rises).

The other advice were: Kun sain ka napukan, hingowahon bumangon diyan (You rise up where you fell); Pag ontok nin bagyong makusugon, an masangli marhay na panahon (Good weather comes after a strong storm); and An tubig dai minabulos na labawan an saiyang ginikanan (Water does not rise above its source).

The Albay solon said what happened before will serve as an inspiration as it provided lessons that strengthened the Albayanos.

He recalled how for some 12 times humanitarian teams from Albay went to other areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to help them rise from disasters.

During the 200th year of the destruction of Cagsawa, the Cagsawa Park was declared a “national cultural treasure” by the National Museum of the Philippines.

Salceda noted that earlier, the Church of the Nuestra Senora de la Porteria (Our Lady of the Gate) in Daraga was also declared a national cultural treasure and became a “monument for recovery.”

The festival showcases various sport events, culinary activities, cultural presentations of dances and plays, and other outdoor activities. (PNA)