More hidden history of Bicol revealed

NAGA CITY---Another hidden document of the late Bishop Francisco Gainza, O.P., of the Archdiocese of Caceres is revealed at a lecture series last Monday evening, September 16, at Savage Mind: Arts, Books, and Cinema in Peninsula St., Brgy. Tinago, this city.

The lecture entitled “The Bikols according to Bishop Francisco Gainza: Preliminary Notes from the Vatican Secret Archives” is headed by Rev. Fr. Andrew G. Recepcion, Spiritual Director of Jesuit runned Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy, with students from Ateneo de Naga University (AdNU) under the class of Kristian Sendon Cordero, Bicolano film maker and author.

Fr. Recepcion, who hails from of Nabua, Camarines Sur, discussed the view of Bishop Gainza on the moral characteristics of the Bicolanos during his term as the 25th Bishop of Nueva Caceres (now Naga City).

He revealed that the pastoral writings of the bishop, before he took his seat as bishop in 1863, show that the Bicolanos are honest people, peace loving, and lived a hatmonious life.

He said that Bicolanos during Gainza’s time could leave their homes unlocked worrying not about thieves.

“An sabi niya, sa ibang lugar, may mga parahabon. Digdi sa Kabikolan, mayo. Inda ko lang ngunyan.” (He said that in other places there are thieves. Here in Kabikolan, nothing. I have no idea if there are thieves here today.) he ridiculed.

Gainza, according to Fr. Recepcion, described Bicol as rich in abaca and other natural resources, such as the sinamay as produced by natives of Ambos Camarines (Now divided between Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur) and gold from the northern towns of Paracale and Mambulao (now Jose Panganiban).

Gainza also considered Camarines Sur as commercially and militarily strategic because of the Bicol River, which became the primary medium of transportation, trade and industry throughout the province.

The priest, however, admitted that Gainza was on the side of the Spanish Government, protecting it’s interests.

When he asked how the bishop viewed the voyadores, Recepcion said the bishop’s writings did not mention about them as bearers of the image of the Blessed Virgin during the procession, but would write glowingly about the people’s devotion to the Blessed Mother,

Today, new books on Bicol history are being published, including new finds on Bicol history, heritage and culture.