‘Happy Island’ marks Catandungan festival, holds ‘Padadyaw sa Tinampo’

By Rhaydz B. Barcia


VIRAC, Catanduanes --- Called the Happy Island, Catanduanes commemorated last October 24, this year, its foundation day as a province, independent from Albay.


It was in 1945 when Congressman Francisco Perfecto filed House Bill No. 301, separating Catanduanes from Albay. The bill was approved on September 26, 1945. It was signed into law by President Sergio Osmeña on October 24, in the same year.


In his message, Governor Joseph Cua said that despite the disturbing situations being felt by the Catandunganons, the province continues to look for better ways to prosper.


Speaking in the gathering of guests, visitors, members of the media, and fellow officials of the province, the governor said that it is truly amazing how Catanduanes can immediately recover. “In 2020, we faced the challenges of Covid-19. Just in the same year, one of the strongest super typhoons to ever hit our province caused widespread devastation especially in infrastructure and agricultural sectors. Grand celebrations like this were put to a halt or migrated to the digital world,” he said.


“Today we celebrate another milestone. It’s an exciting time to be a Catandunganon. You see different energy—a vibrant performing arts scene with young and talented artists. Local businesses are emerging and many are thriving. Despite the inflation, the occurrences of typhoons and Covid-19 pandemic more developments are happening,” he said.

CATANDUNGANONS dance the pantomina in the streets to celebrate the island-province’s independence from the mainland Albay and to give thanks for its rich culture and tradition. (Rhaydz B. Barcia)


Like in previous years, one of the highlights in this year’s 77th foundation anniversary was the “Padadyaw sa Tinampo” featuring the dancing of Pantomina Catanduanes in the major streets of Virac poblacion.


“This year, we are again putting our best foot forward to show the world the beauty and richness of Catanduanes identity. Catanduanes culture is not one-dimensional. We may be an island province but our heritage, while deeply rooted in our identity of deep religiosity, sense of family and humble character, is always adapting and evolving as generations pass,” he said.


“But we always look back to our history with pride. We honor our roots and develop our collective consciousness and identity. Recently, the provincial government unit held a dance workshop to ensure that there is a standard performance of Pantomina Catanduanes for contingents in the Padadyaw sa Tinampo,” he said.


A people’s celebration through street dancing and merriment to the beat of music on major streets, the celebration, which is being held every 24th of October, was highlighted by choreographed theatrics.


The celebration also comes as a tribute to the late Congressman Perfecto whom the Catandunganons should continuously be remembered.


Capping his message, Cua said that hope is always there for every Catandunganon whom he dearly holds in his heart. “We are just getting started. Soon, Catanduanes will be a prime tourism culture and arts haven not just in Bicol but in the country. As an island blessed by God by natural wonders, tourism remains one of the forefront economic industries that will continue to put Catanduanes on the map. We want to continue the momentum and ensure that we become a home province with a strong sense of identity and community ready for the global stage.


Various activities have been lined up to highlight the festivities. Last October 24, a grand parade was held and participated in by various government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations and private establishments in the province.


It was followed by the opening ceremonies at the Capitol grounds and opening of art exhibits and Catandungan and Tourism Fair.


The culture and heritage ride was conducted last October 26, which was followed by a thanksgiving Mass at Virac Cathedral, procession of Our Lady of La Naval to Capitol grounds, and wreath laying in honor of Cong. Perfecto.


Former President Rodrigo Duterte declared every October 26 in Catanduanes as a special nonworking holiday pursuant to RA 11139 which was signed into law on Nov. 9, 2018.


Cua said that the province is not fully recovered yet as many public schools remain unrestored.


“Our province is not fully recovered from the devastation of three consecutive typhoons in 2020 but gradually we are recovering. We hope to fully recover by way of our vibrant tourism and economic recovery plan,” Cua said.


DILG 5 Regional Director Atty. Arnaldo Escober Jr., CESO V represents DILG Secretary Atty. Benjamin Abalos Jr. as Guest of Honor and Speaker at the Opening of the Catandungan Festival 2022 bannering the theme “Catanduanes @ 77: Pagtalubo kan Kulturang Ginikanan, Satong Pakusugon” at the Catanduanes Provincial Capitol on October 24, 2022.


“May we continue to teach so that others may understand; understand so we may persist in loving and embracing our roots; and from this love, may we all become champions of our Catandunganon culture,” RD Escober expressed, encouraging the Catandungan audience to cherish and be proud as they altogether seek to preserve their cultural heritage.


After the program, a ceremonial turnover of Disaster Preparedness and Response Equipment to Catanduanes Municipalities was held. The equipment were sourced from the Disaster Training Equipment and Assistance Project (DTEAP) through the initiative of Senator Francis N. Tolentino.


RD Escober also graced the ribbon cutting at the Catandungan Festival Trade and Tourism Fair featuring various handicrafts and delicacies, as well as the opening of the Pagkamoot Exhibit which featured, among others, local artists, photographers, events planners, and pastry shops.