LEGAZPI CITY – Culture, nature and adventure converge as Daraga town in Albay gears up for its annual Cagsawa Festival this February.
As it pays homage to the 300th year of the rebuilding of the iconic Cagsawa Church (formerly Cagsaua), this year's month-long festival promises to be bigger and grander – enough reasons why Daraga should be on every traveler's bucket list.
For renowned historian Danilo Gerona, this year's festival is a "rare opportunity" that should not be missed.
"The 300-year celebration of the rebuilding of the Cagsaua Church in 1724 is of great importance for one major reason: we are celebrating an event where the object of the celebration is not only present in our midst, but continues to attract awe to an untold number of tourists not only for its colorful history but even for its elegant architecture," he said.
To capture the magic of this momentous event, the town has lined up an array of activities guaranteed to take everyone through the vibrant history and rich cultural heritage of Daraga.
From the highly anticipated street dance competition featuring native costumes, elaborate props, and dazzling choreographed dancing, to a cultural night top billed by local artists, a culinary extravaganza guaranteed to take visitors through a gastronomic tour, a singing tilt promoting the town's local dialect, and a fire dance competition symbolizing Mayon's dual nature as both an icon of beauty and fury, this year's Cagsawa Festival is a feast for the senses as the town becomes a melting pot of artistic cultural expression.
Travelers wanting to immerse themselves in nature and embrace slow living can find solace in this quaint little town, nestled at the foothills of the world-renowned Mayon Volcano.
For soul-searchers who want to level up their Cagsawa Ruins experience, watching a mural painting contest with the historical church as a backdrop is a must-see event. Marvel at the stroke of creativity as local artists capture the scenic beauty of Daraga while basking in the grandeur of Mayon Volcano.
To get a glimpse of the perfect cone-shaped natural wonder from a different vantage point, head to Farm Plate in Gabawan village. Fly a kite on the farm's vast expanse and soak in the unhurried rhythm of nature while listening to the melodic humming of the wind and the gentle rustling of the leaves.
Located just a few minutes away from the town proper, this serene tourist attraction offers a quick escape from the bustling sights and sounds of this year's festival.
With its stunning landscapes and diverse topography, Daraga Mayor Carlywn Baldo said this year's festival will transform this laidback town into an adventure eco-tourism hub in the province of Albay.
For adrenaline junkies craving the rush of extreme sports, the outskirts of Cagsawa Ruins will be the playground for enthusiasts whose hearts beat for adventure.
Witness as the country's best put on a show as speed, skill, agility, and endurance become the name of the game in various off-road racing events. Whether it is a 4x4 enduro competition, a motocross tilt, or a mountain bike cycling contest, thrill-seekers will never run out of reasons to enjoy this festival's exhilarating sporting activities.
To cap off every traveler's Daraga adventures, rev up an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and navigate Mayon's challenging trails --from driving through a boulder-strewn path to wading through small streams-- this out-of-the-routine activity is the ultimate getaway from the humdrum of everyday life.
Daraga town is accessible by air and land transportation. (PNA)