The third leg of Bol-anong Kabilin, Atong Bahandi (BOKAG) heritage-based creative hub is Brgy. Napo in Loon, Bohol, the center of old Loon town.
Being one of the most affected areas of 2013 Earthquake which destroyed the once biggest and one of the oldest churches in Bohol, Our Lady of Light (The Nuestra Senora de la Luz) Parish Church and other historical structures, Napo-anons learned the best way to move on with their lives and appreciate the value of their heritage.
Home to the Inang-angan stairway, a 6-meters wide, five flights and total of 212 steps constructed from 1847 to 1849, the stairway made of limestone blocks served as the gateway from the church to the sea port. Declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum, Inang-angan became Napo’s gateway to the world.
The talents of Napo-anons which they believe are Divine gifts, are also their greatest possessions. From singers, dancers, painters, dramatic actors to being great directors and choreographers. They learned that their talents, which they claim as treasures passed to them by their forefathers, are worthy of preservation and development and they decided to be part of their everyday lives.
Evident are Lumad Napo-anon, a group of dancers, performers and singers who are the current Grand Champion of the annual Bangga sa Kuradang ug Subli sa Sandugo street dancing competition which is a major highlight of the Sandugo Festival. Others busy themselves practicing acting and painting as early as three to five years old.
Here are some of the responses by the tourists who witnessed and joined Napo-anons during the tour:
“We came without expectations and were blown away by the experience. It was wonderful to see the history, the culture and the involvement of the people. Thank you for the wonderful day.!’
– Charlotte Habets and Erniel de Boer from The Netherlands
“This weekend was great! The first time in the Philippines, first time in Bohol. All impressions are special. This weekend/today made the experience more intense! To see how people live, the stories we heard…It’s different for all I have seen or heard. Thank you! I will tell everybody at home. I will keep the memory always!”
-Arinemidevan der Ploeg and Bert Willer Kole from The Netherlands
Sometimes, we need to know other people’s perspective before we appreciate our own talents, our own capability. Witnessing Napo-anon dance, sing, laugh together, enjoy what they are doing every day, I personally realized how diverse Filipinos’ talents are, how lucky I am to be an audience and be with these amazing people who taught me how to be happy, to smile even in despair, to learn to act together and build dream together. And how proud I am to be a Filipino!