The Provincial Government of Albay (PGA) is one with the nation in celebrating the month of May as National Heritage Month, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 439. This year’s theme is “Victory and Humanity: Upholding Filipino Heritage and Identity” in solidarity with the commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan, and the Philippine part in the first circumnavigation of the world. The 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines is also celebrated this year.
For its own heritage-related activity, PGA launches Albay Heritage Month, a virtual program highlighting the significant heritage properties that have given Albay and the Albayanos their unique identity. One heritage property will be featured on social media everyday for the whole month of May. Every Albayano is enjoined in the celebration by taking efforts to learn, appreciate, and promote their heritage.
Cagsawa Ruins is a ruined church and parish house (casa parroquial) that marks the once-thriving town center of Cagsawa, now in Barangay. Busay, Daraga, Albay. The church was built by the Franciscan priest Fr. Francisco Blanco in 1724 under the patronage of St. James the Great, more popularly known as Santiago Matamoros.
Beginning as a pre-colonial settlement, the town of Cagsawa was founded by St. Pedro Bautista, a Franciscan martyr. On February 1, 1814, it was destroyed in a strong eruption of Mayon Volcano. The survivors went on to resettle in the village of Daraga where a newer stone church was already in place. Over time, volcanic debris accumulated in Cagsawa’s abandoned church, covering around one-third of the structure. The other ruins in the town that are still visible are the casa real (town hall) located to the left of the church, and the escuela (school house) located in its front.
Cagsawa is one of the few sites in the Philippines that has preserved the old Spanish town plaza complex and its structures as it was in the early 19th century. Its famous lone-standing bell tower, often viewed against the backdrop of Mayon Volcano, has become an iconic heritage structure of Bicol Region, and one of the most recognizable heritage sites in the Philippines.
Cagsawa Ruins is a Level II Historic Structure (structure with NHCP marker). In 2015, it was declared by the National Museum as National Cultural Treasure, the country’s highest designation for a cultural property.
Credits; govalbichara