In photo exhibit, Vizcaya folk relive their pastBy Melvin Gascon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SOLANO, Nueva Vizcaya—Dr. Bonifacio Ramos wishes he could go back in time, or more than 40 years ago, when the old San Luis Beltran Church basked in its full splendor at the town center here.
“I remember the times in my younger years when we used to go there, such as to hear Mass in Latin,” he says, his eyes welling up.
Ramos, a retired university professor, was looking at reproductions of old pictures of his hometown, including those of the old Catholic church in Barangay Poblacion North, which has since been reconstructed to make room for what would be a bigger cathedral.
Trip back in time
For the past two weeks, most of this town’s 60,000 residents have been enamored with the exhibit of old pictures showcasing Solano’s historical wealth.
The exhibit, “Sulyap sa Nakaraan (A Glimpse of the Past),” was a trip back in time. Pictures, some dating as far back as the 1920s, revived residents’ memories of their town.
The project began as a photo contest in April, which called for the submission of old pictures of the town showing government buildings, churches and other landmarks, or of events that depicted its people’s rich cultural heritage, mainly of their Gaddang ancestry.
It led to the exhibit, which became one of the highlights of the town’s 2012 Pagbiagan Festival, a celebration of its 152nd founding anniversary from Oct. 11 to 13.
The gallery features a collection of more than 400 entries, chosen based on authenticity, historical significance, antiquity and relevance.
Since Oct. 8, these have been on display at the Solano parish hall, a few steps from where the present St. Louis Beltran Church stands. The exhibit was supposed to end on Oct. 13 but was extended for another week to accommodate more people.
Mayor Philip Dacayo says the exhibit not only gives people a glimpse of the town’s past, but also shows how different Solano is now.
Several pictures are priceless, including one of a visit to Solano by then President Elpidio Quirino on Jan 11, 1950.
One that stood out was a 1948 picture of turnover rites between Mayors Domingo Lorenzo and Nicomedes Castillo, surrounded by uniformed men in front of the town’s “presidencia.”