Magayon Fest 2017 soars high in Albay

by Jose Briones

Come May 1, the 19th edition of Magayon Festival 2017 will soar high in Albay anew. Magayon Festival began in 1999, This was started by Governor Al Francis C. Bichara when he was seated as Governor in 1996.

Magayon Festival was the first festival throughout the Philippines that came up with a month-long celebration in May 1999. This idea was conceptualized by Governor Al Francis C. Biichara himself who was then really focused on the growth and development of Albay province through tourism.

In doing so, he prodded the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Albay to create a touriism department which is now the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office or PTCAO.

Albay was the first province in the entire country to create a tourism department but came second to Cagayan de Oro City.

It began first with the name Karangahan Festival in 1997. Two years later, Governor Al Francis C. Bichara introduced the name Magayon so as to highlight the beauty of the majestic Mayon Volcano and to widen the significance of the melodramatic legend behind it. - The Legend of Daragang Magayon.

Yours truly was the first Tourism Officer of Albay with the position title as Supervising Tourism Operations Officer IV. when Karangahan and then, Magayon Festival commenced its month-long merriment under Governor Al Francis C. Bichara, the real founder of Magayon Festival.

It was my baptism of fire that year by heading in organizing a month-long celebration containing a variety of activities made up of cultural, sports, musical, tour packages, agricultural and trade fairs, and finally, a festival parade with the old Penaranda Park as the center of all these activities.