Saturday, November 14, 2009

Prayers on Mount Mayon slopes to keep it in restive state

An obscure tribal group from Mindanao arrived here over the weekend to hold a religious ritual near the slopes of Mt. Mayon volcano in a bid to invoke spirits to thwart a potential violent volcanic eruption.

Datu Higyaman Naholag-ayan , the tribal governor from Bukidnon who will lead the prayer ritual with 400 tribesmen from various ethnic group will perform the religious rites to stop the 2,450 meters high volcano in Albay from erupting.

Datu HOLag-ayan said the ritual will be held at the famous Cagsawa ruins where remnants of a church belfry stands in a village in Daraga town that was buried by lahar, rocks and other volcanic debris spewed by Mt. Mayon in 1814.

Clad in their ethnic costume, the group intends to hold ritual prayers and offer animal sacrifices to ask unseen spirits to intercede and calm down the restive volcano listed in the world tourism map as the volcano with an almost perfect cone.

He said: “We will offer prayers and sacrifices to ask the hundreds of spirits to stop the volcano from erupting and for the protection of people from calamities brought by volcanic eruptions including typhoons and other natural disasters that may come.”

The ritual will save the people of Albay from the wrath of any disaster be it volcanic eruption or even typhoons, earthquakes and other calamities, he pointed out.

He however, said that the ritual is not an assurance that this would prevent the volcano erupting but this would make the people aware of the danger so that they may be prepared in the event the volcano erupts.

The Datu said he believes that the volcano is no ordinary mountain but is a kingdom where people live and die.

Albay Gov.Joey Salceda will lead thousands of people across the province to witness the colorful religious prayer rituals.

The datu said there are 135 ethnic groups with 12 million members across the country. Bicol has 27,000 tribesmen spread over the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Albay.

As this developed, Mt. Mayon continues to show signs of restiveness, with 7 quakes jolting the volcano for the past 24 hours.

Mt Mayon alert status remains at Alert Level 2, meaning the volcano is still on a state of unrest as it continue to spew ash with periodic explosions.

Military and police personnel manning the 12 checkpoints surrounding the volcano will enforce the off limits regulation and strictly implement the 6 kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone and the 7 km. extended danger zone (EDZ) on the southeast flank of the volcano due to the threat from sudden explosions and rockfalls from the upper slopes.

Residents near active river channels and those areas perennially identified as lahar prone in the southeast sector should be on alert during heavy and prolonged rainfall.

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