A Rawitdawit on the 1814 Mayon Volcano Eruption

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In 1962, while visiting the town of Budiao, Bishop Teotimo C. Pacis recorded an old rawitdawit (poem) on the eruption of Mayon Volcano in 1814 (Realubit 1983: 336). Bikolnon scholar, Maria Lilia F. Realubit included this rawitdawit in her book Bikols of the Philippines (1983). Here is the untranslated rawitdawit:


Kan taon 1814 pag-oran nin bato
Kaaldawan Martes dos de Febrero
Alas siete an aga oras campanario
Iyo si pagsimba kan gabos na tawo.

Aso madali na magpoon an misa
An poro kan bukid natatahoban na
Nin asong malibog makakangalas na
Ining horog-dorog makakatakot na.

Oras alas nueve an gabos na tawo
Sa lawog simbahan riribok nang gayo
An padi nagtaram dai magluwas kamo
Ta kun magpirit igua nin peligro.

Iyo nang pagpoon pag-oran nin bato
Di na nakaluwas an gabos na tawo
Duman sa simbahan huli ta sirado
Alagad an padi nagluwas secreto.

Na kan mapara an pag-oran nin bato
labing ciento ochenta nagadan na tawo
Gaba si simbahan sagkod campanario
Huling darakula naghugpa na bato

Iyo nang pagpoon nin pagdurulugan,
Si pagsadiri ninda saindang binayaan;
May nagpasan baol, estampa kung minsan
Iguang nagpapandong anit nin karabaw.
Digdi na natapos an sakong pagsaysay
Huli ta dai na akong naisipan
Alagad an iba kun may naaraman
Idagdag na sana ining kasaysayan.
(Realubit 1983: 175)

The word “mayon” is said to be from the word “magayon” which means beautiful in the Bicol language. Indeed, Mayon volcano is renowned for its almost perfect inverted cone shape. Its beauty, however, is matched by the ferocity of its eruptions. The worst recorded eruption occurred in February 1, 1814 which buried almost the entire town of Cagsawa. The poem above tells how the people tried to find safety inside the church of Cagsawa. However, as the picture above shows, the whole church was buried except for the tower. The rawitdawit above, narrating the events of the 1814 eruption, is by now almost 200 years old.

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