Rey Anthony Ostria
Tabaco City, [04.16.17] – About 10,000 pilgrims joined the Way of the Cross from Crossing Mayon to Mayon Resthouse in Barangay Buang, Tabaco City early Friday, a number fewer than the estimated 30,000 turnout.
Tabaco City Tourism Officer Eric Valeriano said that the ‘alay-lakad’ had a few participants this year partly because of the restrictions set by the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua prior to Passion Friday.
“Only 10,000 joined this year’s Passion Friday pilgrimage maybe because of the restrictions imposed, which we think are proper and appropriate,” Valeriano said.
Prior to the pilgrimage, Valeriano said that they are confident that Tabaco City residents will be disciplined, citing the “city’s intensified waste management segregation.”
“We are confident that the local pilgrims will be disciplined this year. What we are worried about are the excursionists,” he said.
Pilgrims from Tabaco City and from neighboring Ligao City and other towns walk from the foot of Mayon Volcano the Mayon Resthouse on the early morning of Good Friday. The pilgrimage takes about two to four hours. Pilgrims walk about 16.4 kilometers to and from the resthouse and stop at different stations for prayers.
The Parish of St. Anthony of Padua reminded pilgrims to refrain from public display of affection, to properly dispose their waste, and not to bring alcohol, deadly weapons, cigarettes, and loud speakers.
Alert level 1 is still raised for Mt. Mayon, but Hugo Bien, city disaster risk reduction and management officer, said that they have been prepared since September.
Prior to the ‘alay-lakad,’ Ed Laguerta, resident Mayon volcanologist, assured the public that Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) will continuously monitor the volcano during the Holy Week and coordinate with the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office [Apsemo].
“Every year naman kahit nakataas ang alert level 1, tuloy ang alay lakad sa Tabaco City,” Laguerta said. He also explained that the alay lakad is held at the northwest side of the volcano. Mayon’s breach is found on the southeast side of the summit crater.
“There is no eminent threat of an eruption that would affect that portion of the volcano,” Laguerta said.