Bulan, Sorsogon, November 3, 2009: Thousands of Bulanenos trooped to the four cemeteries of Bulan on November 1 and 2, to commemorate Pista sa Gadan, a Filipino tradition of honoring the dead.
Observers noted that the crowd this year appears to be more than the number last year despite the difficulties brought about by the global economic downturn and the typhoons that devastated the country particularly in Metro Manila and Northern Luzon.
Families, bringing along their children, took advantage of the fine weather even as up north in the Southern Tagalog Region Typhoon “Santi” just unleashed its fury and devastated several communities.
Early in the morning of November 1, even as others were still sprucing up and painting the tombs of their loved ones, people especially from the far barangays were already coming to the cemeteries bringing flowers and candles. The surge of people started by 5 PM and lasted till the late hours of the evening. It is estimated that around 25,000 to 30,000 people have observed this year’s Pista sa Gadan in Bulan.
The Bulan Chief of Police, Inspector Efren E. Orlina, Municipal Administrator Luis De Castro, the Barangay Chairmen and officials, together with the Tanods and several Volunteer groups were all kept busy manning the traffic, and maintaining peace and order. Police and Tanod foot patrols roamed and covered almost all areas of the cemeteries. The Bulan Emergency Action Team, coordinating with the Bulan Rural Health Unit, set up a first-aid center along Tomas De Castro Street to attend to persons with first –aid needs. Other volunteer groups included the Bulan Neighborhood Watch (BANWA), the Kabalikat-Civicom, the USWAG-Bulan, Tanod Brigades from several barangays in the Poblacion, the 509th Police Provincial Mobile Group, and the Bulan Rescue Team. Drinking of alcoholic liquor and bringing of deadly weapons inside the cemetery was prohibited. A public address system was set up by the police at the Sta. Remedios outpost. A zero-crime rate was recorded by the police over the next two days.
However, this crime-free record was marred by a fatal motorcycle accident which took place away from the busy areas, when, in Sitio Pawa, Lahong, near the gate of the Pawa Hospital, around 11:30 midnight of November 1, one Joseph Sambajon, 22, of Barangay San Vicente was killed when the motorcycle he was driving crashed and hit a pedestrian, after overtaking another vehicle near Pawa Hospital while he was on his way to the Poblacion from Fabrica. The pedestrian was identified as Maryjane Nares, a resident of Pawa. She was given first aid in Pawa hospital but was further referred to the Irosin District Hospital due to serious injuries. Authorities are now investigating the incident.
In her Radio Message before the activities of Pista sa Gadan, Mayor Baby De Castro reminded the Bulan public of the importance of the commemoration, and she exhorted the constituents to observe it with solemnity and faith. She has also instructed the Municipal Peace and Order Council to draw out plans and measures to assure the peaceful conduct of the Pista sa Gadan. (Read the Mayor’s Message, Click Office of the Mayor)