Legazpi City’s ‘Baltog’ statue unveiled
By Cet Dematera
The 10-foot statue of Baltog, one of the three heroes of famous Bicol Epic “Ibalon” has been finally installed and unveiled on Monday, Aug. 23 at the entrance of the 75-meter bridge at Legazpi City Boulevard that is facing the Albay Gulf and the majestic Mayon Volcano.
The statue is anticipated to draw local and foreign tourists alike into this growing metropolis.
The installation of Baltog’s sculptured fiberglass statue materialized through City Ordinance No. 15-0009-2021 or the renaming of the Legazpi City Boulevard’s 75-meter bridge stretch in Dap-dap as “Baltog Bridge.”
Also to be renamed based on the same ordinance are the 20-meter bridge in Barangay Puro as “Handyong Bridge” and the 10-meter bridge in Barangay Lamba as “Bantong Bridge.”
Baltog, Handiong and Bantong are the three main heroes in the epic Ibalon.
Mayor Noel E. Rosal together with city and barangay officials as well members of JCI Legazpi led the unveiling ceremony of Baltog statue.
Rosal in his statement said that he is very grateful to the JCI Legazpi for donating the monument of Baltog adding that it would serve as another landmark of the city that would symbolize the culture and the art of the Ibalon Epic.
He explained that the statues would also serve as educational tools among students and teachers particularly those would come from the nearby places that would hold their educational tours in this city.
The Baltog statue (Photo by Allan Miranda)
Rosal said the installation of the Baltog monument coincided with the 30th year annual celebration of the Ibalon Festival that was cancelled due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
“This statue will be remembered not only by the present generation but also by the generations to come that such a famous epic exists in Bicol,” Rosal pointed out.
He said two more organizations in this city have pledged already to donate the remaining two statues of Handyong and Bantong and they are expected to install them at the two bridges of the boulevard before year end.
The Ibalon festival is a non-religious festival in Legazpi City based on the Ibalon Epic. The festival celebrates the epic story Ibalon who was accompanied by three heroes namely Baltog, Handyong and Bantong.
Johnson Uy, president of JCI Legazpi, said that they donated the monument of Baltog as part of the project of the JCI to help improve the beautification efforts of Legazpi in order to sustain its already booming tourism industry.
Uy explained the 10 feet statue was placed at the five feet pedestal made of fiber glass with an Ibalon logo and manuscript or Baltog sculpted by Juanito Napay, a famous sculpture in Legazpi City.
He said that his organization is very supportive to the continuous progress and development of Legazpi.