Fall in love with Pili all over again this Valentine's day

The Handiong sculpture by the late Ros Arcilla
is one of the monuments to be visited during the tour.
The life-size sculpture in the front yard of the Camarines Sur Provincial
Capitol has often been mistaken by visitors and locals as that of the Tagalog Malakas.
Seeking to reawaken the passion of the people of Pili for its culture and history, the cultural  heritage advocacy group Pili: Banwaan Ko, Padangat Ko is spearheading an information campaign dubbed as Dai Magin Dayo sa Sadiring Banwa.

One of the highlights of this project is the Pili Pride Tours which bring students and other groups to points of interest in the capital town.

Opportunely, one of these special tours is scheduled on Valentine's Day.

The day-long rendezvous will include visits to the ruins of the Spanish leprosarium and Agila. The latter is a one-of-a-kind, castle-like structure previously occupied by the philanthropist Don Susano Rodriquez and long-time Pili Mayor Jose Velarde. Both sites are located in Barangay Palestina, a settlement believed to be older than the present-day downtown area, the former having figured in oral narratives and early folk poetry.

The tour shall also allow its participants to have a glimpse of the caves carved by Japanese soldiers during World War II on the slopes of Mt. Isarog as well as the Padre Refe Arch.

Included too in the itinerary is the stately Imperial House, a local pilgrimage site. The same houses the age-old Inulid, an image of the crucified Christ clad in a dark purple Nazarene gown.

Other landmarks to be visited are the sculptures of Handiong and Daragang Magayon, which are key figures of a Bikol epic and legend, respectively. Both were crafted by the late Ros Arcilla, a Bicolano gold prize winner of the Art Association of the Philippines arts competition. Said human-size statues fronting the provincial capitol building are often mistaken to be that of the Tagalog Malakas and Maganda.

Apart from sponsoring tours, the group has also been conducting lectures on George Curry in local schools. Curry is an American general in whose honor a barangay in Pili was named after.

The next lecture is slated on March 7 with the editorial staff of The Stateans as audience. The Stateans is the student publication of the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture

The foregoing cultural projects enjoy the utmost support of the Local Government of Pili and the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.(Carlos A. Arejola)

Itinerary of the Pili Pride Tours on Feb 14, 2014:

6: 45 AM -Departure of 6 x 6 truck from origin to Pili Municipal Plaza

7:00 AM  -Depart for Curry Orientation & Inputs about the Filipino-Japanese Friendship Arch,
the Japanese man-made caves, and George Curry

8:15 AM -  Depart for Palestina,  visit Agila and the ruins of the Spanish Leprosarium

10:00 AM - Depart for CBSUA, visit to the CBSUA infirmary and other heritage buildings

11:00 AM- Depart for Camarines Sur Capitol Grounds, visit to Ros Arcilla's Handiong and Daragang Magayon monuments and other landmarks

12:00 PM-Lunch break

12:45 PM- Depart for Downtown Pili, visit to the Padre Refe Arch in San Agustin, the old PNR station
in San Juan, the Imperial House and Inulid in San Vicente, and the Gabaldon buildings at Pili West Central in San AntonioSchool and/or Pili Central School in San Roque

2:30 PM -Depart for Kampo Elias Angeles

4:00 PM- Depart for Pili Municipal Plaza, Visit the Cimarrones & Cimmarrona monuments and the marker for the Unknown Soldiers of WWII

4: 45 PM-Wrap-up

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