By Ramon Jorge Sarabosing
“Please come, every proud Butuanon should,” Lilit Concon, the hard-working OIC city tourism officer texted me. I’m glad I did.
Today, March 28, we open the first day (of the four-day) 496th anniversary of the first Eastern mass in Philippine soil and planting of the cross by Ferdinand Magellan, (a replica of which is standing) on the 31st.
Though I came late, I get to witness the beautiful cultural presentation of Caraga State University (CSU) amidst a drizzle.
Yes indeed, Lilit was right, I was proud and grateful I came. I saw the young performers giving their creative all which is the spirit of our rich past.
After the cultural action, Lilit took me to a tour of the park. I was here years before when it was yet undone and seemingly neglected but what a pleasant surprise to see a good improvement, like, it’s ready for the world!
Overheard from students before us: “mag-jogging ta dinhi ugma.” (let’s jog here tomorrow.) One said. ” Okay, then we go swimming at the river below.”Someone replied. ” No!” let’s sail on the balangay! This is a balangay (boat) country!” Another insisted.
We followed a trail winding down towards Masao River where I expected it yellow but light green.
We sailed on a “baroto” filled with buntings. Our “pilots” were polite men in red shirt uniform.
I remember what respected local historian Greg Hontiveros told me years before. Masao River is an ancient river, most likely the very same one Magellan navigated.
Thick palm forest spread out of the river. We decided not to pursue going farther towards the coastal barangay of Masao.
Not when the drizzle get too much and we be drenched.
There’s always another day, we assured ourselves. Coming here is not just history “hunting” but a perfect time for relaxing.
Photos Butuan City Tourism Office