Bikol archaeological team visits Pili

The Bikol Archeological Project, a joint exercise of the University of California Los Angeles and the Archdiocese of Caceres and the Partido State University is now back in their ‘field of study’ with Dr. Stephen B. Acabado, a native of Tinambac, Camarines Sur and a professor in archaeology and anthropology in UCLA as the team leader. Acabado is assisted by Earl John Cedo Hernandez of PSU and Fr. Eric Bobis who represents the archdiocese.


Last week, June 23, 2022, Acabado, together with Ifugao scholar, Marlon Martin, launched the Philippine edition of Decolonizing Ifugao History published by the Ateneo de Naga University Press at the Kamarin Art Galller of Savage Mind Bookshop in Naga City. During the launch, university press director, Fr. Wilmer Tria and the current parish priest of Saint Raphael Archangel in Pili, Camarines Sur, invited the team to do a preliminary survey in the capital town.

The team responded to the invitation of Fr. Tria last Monday, June 27, 2022. Fr. Tria together with Kristian Sendon Cordero, ADNU Press Deputy Director accompanied them in the acknowledged old settlement of the town called Binanwaanan. The name of the village suggests that this was the old banwa (town) before the local inhabitants moved to the present site of the town. In fact, Fr. Tria commissioned local artist, Nitoy Peñera to document this historical site through a series of paintings which can be viewed at the parish mini-art gallery.


The team with local guides from the parish, walked through the vast rice fields in the village giving them another picturesque view of Mount Isarog, and upon reaching the old site, made some initial documentation activities to proceed with the next archeological activity. Fr. Tria is optimistic that the preliminary visit to his parish will yield new results that will help his parishioners appreciate their local history. “It is our hope that Dr. Acabado and his team will be able to come up with another book on Bikol history that will help us in our decolonization studies. We need more scholars like them who are committed to bring to light our histories using the rigorous scientific methods and an active community participation. Professor Acabado has given us a very good model of this indigenous archaeology through the Ifugao story, and we are grateful that he has invited his team to his place of birth,” said the parish priest.