LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – The town of Libon in Albay province marked its 450th founding anniversary on Saturday, July 1, with the opening of the month-long celebration of the Paroy Festival.
Mayor Wilfredo Maronilla said that the town founded in 1573 is one of the oldest settlements in the Philippines.
“Four-hundred fifty years ng maipundar ang bayan ng Libon at ang aming simbahan (Our town and church were established 450 years ago). The second oldest town in the Philippines, ang una po ay ang Villa de Cebu at ang second po ay itong Villa de Libon (the first was Villa de Cebu and the second was Villa de Linon),” he said.
Maronilla said that this year’s commemoration of the birth of Christianity in Albay is being highlighted by the “Pagpasa pasa niyan Ladyo,” a historical re-enactment where residents line up on the street from Barangay Linao to Saint James the Greater Church in Centro Poblacion to transfer red bricks used to build the church.
“Kaninang umaga, nagpasa-pasa kami ng ladyo na galing sa Barangay Linao kung saan doon ang unang nilagyan ng simbahan (This morning, we passed bricks from Barangay Linao where the first church was built),” he said.
Maronilla added that at least 10,000 people participated in the reenactment which lasted about four hours and 30 minutes.
Libon was discovered by troops of Capt. Juan de Salcedo from Manila by way of Majayjay, Laguna and reached the gold mining town of Paracale in Camarines Norte and proceeded to follow the Bicol River until they reached the former name of Libon as Libong.
RESIDENTS participate in the reenactment of the ‘Pagpasa pasa niyan Ladyo,’ a historical reenactment of passing the red bricks to build a church from Barangay Linao to the Libon town proper. (Contributed photo)
“Ang bayan ng Libon ay nadiskubre ni Juan Salcedo, pero ang founder ng bayan ng Libon ay si Pedro de Chavez (Libon was discovered by Juan Salcedo but the founder of the municipality was Pedro de Chavez). Galing po sila sa Camarines Norte at sumakay sila sa Bicol River at dito bumaba sa Libon Lake (They came from Camarines Norte and followed the Bicol River until they reached Libon Lake),” Maronilla added.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, festival opening keynote speaker, emphasized his support to local government efforts to uplift lives of every resident not only in rice production but terms of tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, education, and skills development.
“I am with you in the celebration of your 450th founding year. I am also glad that you have chosen the motif of the Paroy (palay) as theme of the celebration. Libon has long been considered the rice granary of Albay. This is so because Libon is one of the biggest rice-producing towns of Albay. I am fully supportive of your efforts to improve the living condition and economy of Libon not only through rice production but in other aspects of progress as well,” Salceda said.
Kaci Abila, tourism officer of Libon, said that this year, amid the restive Mayon Volcano, the local government has prepared different activities for the month-long celebration of Paroy Festival.
July 1 is the opening of Paroy Festival and commemoration of the town and church founding anniversary while the succeeding days are full of exciting events in line with the festivity, she said.
RESIDENTS participate in the reenactment of the ‘Pagpasa pasa niyan Ladyo,’ a historical reenactment of passing the red bricks to build a church from Barangay Linao to Libon town proper. (Contributed photo)