As the pilot trip of the XPlore Program of Xavier School, XPlore Peñafrancia enabled students to explore the different faces and facets of the Bicolandia to enrich their faith and heighten their awareness of the beauty found in the Philippines.
The message below was delivered by Justin Co (H3F) and Chino Rodriguez (H3D) during the high school general assembly last October 3, 2014.
“Dios marhay na aga! To my fellow Xaverians and ‘Chers. I’m Justin Co.
And I’m Chino Rodriguez. If you didn’t understand what he just said, ‘Dios marhay na aga’ means ‘good morning’ in Bicol.
I have a question for you guys. Has anyone here seen Mayon Volcano?
Oh, and by the way, Chino, did you hear about the news that’s currently happening with Mayon Volcano?
Oh yes, isn’t it going to erupt or something?
Yeah, man! And actually, remember that we saw the volcano two weeks ago?
Yeah, I remember when we landed in Legaspi and had a roadtrip to Naga.
To give you an overview of our trip, here’s a short video.
Words cannot truly express how grateful I am to be able to partake in the school’s endeavor since this is actually the first time that Xavier did this. When I heard about the trip, the main thing that I was excited about was to be able to see Mayon Volcano and nothing else, but when I got there, I actually got to see a lot of things. I was amazed at how hospitable the people are, especially our hosts, since they would often invite us to attend fiestas almost every day. I didn’t expected anyone to do something like that for someone else. For me, what they did was an extreme act of kindness.
Like what Justin said, the hospitality that the people of Naga showed was amazing. For example, on the second day of our trip, we had lunch with the nuns at their convent, and they would just stand outside inviting people to have lunch with them. Suddenly we were just eating with people we didn’t know at all. Our hosts, the Lo, Poon, and Tan families, also invited us to mini-fiestas with them several times, and at the beginning, we didn’t even know them. At the end of our trip, though, it seemed like we were one big happy family. Justin mentioned that the kindness of the people surprised him, and it really is. It’s amazing how simple acts of kindness and simply being hospitable and open to other people can bring a group of people so close together.
So, Chino, why do you think the people are so hospitable?
You tell me, Justin.
Hey, I actually remember hearing something about the hospitality of the Bicolanos. It has something to do with their religion. Since almost everyone there is extremely devoted to Ina (who the Virgin Mary of their place), they have this saying, “Ina’s guests are our guests.”
That basically means that since we are guests of that place and since our main reason for going is because of the Peñafrancia Festival, the Bicolanos became hospitable.
Naga City is also famous for its good governance. I’m sure all of you know the late Jesse Robredo, who was former mayor of Naga City. We met his wife, Congresswoman Leni Robredo after we went mangrove planting in Cagsao, Calabanga, which is also in CamSur. She told us about how the mangroves help prevent floods and destruction of homes. Because of the mangroves by the shoreline, the town of Cagsao was spared from the destruction that would have been caused by typhoon Glenda last year.
We also got to know how the city developed through getting to know some of their government officials where we learned about their different programs like Naga SMILES and how the people of Naga really trusted their government and how the government trusted the people as well.
We are grateful to Mary our Ina, for this experience, and in celebration of the Marian month, we invite everyone to say this with us.
Every time the mass ends, the priest would shout “Viva la Virgen,” which means “long live Our Lady of Peñafrancia,” and we would respond with “Viva!” with our fists raised up. And we would do this 3 times. We want you to say it with us. Viva la Virgen!
Thank you and have a wonderful day.