Bantay Banahaw for Holy Week

MP-KNN teamUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Text and photos by Grace Bondad Nicolas, contributor

Approximately 150 volunteers from the Tau Gamma Fraternity were at Mount Banahaw for the “Bantay Banahaw” project from April 1 to 8, 2012.

The Triskelion City Lions are members of the fraternity, but 25 members are volunteers under Mayor Joaquin Chipeco, Jr. at City Hall. The group is one of 13 organizations that comprise the yearly” Bantay Banahaw”: a volunteer program tasked to assist Holy Week pilgrims, visitors, and devotees, and ensure they stay within the allowed areas or campsites at the foot of the mountain, which was declared a national park and a protected area in 1941.

According to Ogie Dizer, the group provides medical team, first aid kits, body harnesses, spine boards, and ropes. On March 24, 2012, the group prepared everything for Holy Week. According to Arnold Medina, there are 30,000 members of their fraternity in Calamba City. They organized this group to become identified and to change the image of fraternities in Calamba City. They help the community in all possible ways. After Holy Week, they began conducting two other programs: “Blood Letting,” a 24/7 monitoring program for dengue with the coordination of the City Health Office under Rodolfo Khan, and a Libreng Gupitang Pambayan service.

The group also provides assistance to travellers; implements national rules with the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) to make sure the surrounding areas are clean; provides medical support with rescue teams; and makes sure only opened areas such as Santa Lucia, Kalbaryo, Tatlong Tangke, and Kinabuhayan may be visited. Restricted areas include Unang Dungaw, Pangalwang Dungaw, and Pangatlong Dungaw, which are at the highest peak of the mountain.

Many Filipinos are still composed of Catholics, and for this Lent, it’s a common cultural event to visit Mount Banahaw. According to many, it can heal the soul.

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