Dárlán Pálénciá Bárcélón
If the copper Statue of Liberty was built as gift by Gustave Eiffel to the people of the United States of America by the French, Mother nature has also probably carved a distinct natural landmark in the municipality of Bagamanoc has also have its own unique landmark to promote their own distinct version of Statue of Virility, the, phallic-shaped rock Ilihán.
The ancient deities of Bikól must have been so engrossed in projecting the good image of the Bikólánó’s manhood to shine above the rest – probably on a sense of endowment, to make them virile at all times.
The monicker to every Bikólánó as Urágón makes a distinction in a crowd or even in gatherings, particularly in their chosen careers. When a Bikólánó accomplishes excellence, an admiration will be described in superlative as “máorágón.”
Although the meaning of the word and it’s contemporary use has changed over the time, positive traits depicting daring and greatness. The root word “orág,” originally means libido or sexual drive.
The proof to this masculine characteristic of the Bikólánó’s as a people, and as a person – has an attestation, that can only be found in the municipality of Bagamanoc, in the island province of Catanduanes.
A natural phallic-shaped rock formation is among the icon of this municipality, aside from equally mesmeric natural lagoons, caves, shoals, islets, falls and last but not the least, the people’s customs and traditions.
This phallic-shaped rock is situated adjacent to the Ilihán Point rising from the sea and can be viewed visibly from the shoreline of the poblacion.
For every traveling visitor to Bagamanoc, one cannot resist to smile or giggle because of the riveting and amusing scene to behold as the shape it suggests – a visitor will be easily tempted to exercise a cerebral imagination that the deities have conspired with the elements of air and water into a bold unison erotic statement.
Truly, this is a bragging icon of every Bagamnocnons has endowed to them by nature and Ilihán is indeed the ultimate natural representation to the characteristic of Bikólánós – as Orágóns.
According to Francisco Arcilla Villarino, 88 years old of Bagamanoc the local folks of Bagamanoc called the rock formation before as Ilihán, which means; to take shelter or a place giving temporary protection from bad weather or danger.
Ili was the root word from an archaic Bikól noun meaning; a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.
Villarino’s vivid his childhood account of his native Bagamanoc, the rock was connected before to the Ilihán Point located in Barangay Bacak, but today it sits atop of a corrals reef and presently submerged on the sea.
“In the olden times Ilihán serves as the shelter of local fishermen when the sea is rough, including the Muslim seafarers who sailed to Bagamanoc, they took shelter there with their vinta afloat,” the old man told The Philippine Examiner.
We call the rock as Ilihán, not Bótó ni Kurákóg [Kurakog’s Penis] as non-Bagamanocnon claims, the source clarified.
Although I subscribed to shape resembles male sex organ and it faces a crevice along the cliff of Ilihan Point that also resembles a female sex organ, but we did not call it that way, he ended.
Unlike in the Shinto Kanamara Matsuri or “Festival of the Steel Phallus”) that is held annually in Kawasaki, Japan. The local tourism office in Bagamanoc is yet to make a definite a tourism plan to embark by showcasing this phallic-shaped rock Ilihán in their annual Sogoc-Sogoc festival.
However, a strong objection among the people of Bagamanoc, particularly the old womenfolks tagging Ilihan as Bótó ni Kurákóg remains high and contentious because it connotes vulgarity and provokes their sense of religiosity.
The municipality of Bagamanoc is located in the north-eastern part of the province of Catanduanes directly facing the vast Pacific Ocean with a total land area of 80.74 square kilometers and is about 62 kilometers north of the capital town, Virac.
Although it has a distinct rustic topography its location and distance is somewhat regarded by non-Bagamanocnons as disadvantageous – this northern municipality of Catanduanes, remains to be a bastion of its indomitable culture and traditions endemic and distinct only to every Bagamanocnons as their pride, heritage, and their home.