Being in love is a complex experience. As complicated as it is, it doesn’t only pertain to loving a person. It could also mean being in love with an inanimate object, an animal or a place. The purists among us would say that we have cheapen the concept of being in love into something superficial, but they are probably right. However, to some people, most of the time, being in love goes deep into someone’s core.
Bicolanos are in love with Naga City. It is a peaceful place where one can make friends, get education, become a professional or raise a conventional and modern family. It is one of the oldest cities of the country and fondly called as the ‘Queen City of Bicol’ or ‘Heart of Bicol’ since its metropolis is the center of business, trade, art, political, medical and cultural activities and its location to the Bicol peninsula. Naga is a first class city with 27 barangays in the province of Camarines Sur and one Bicolano especially a native Nagueño can enumerate so many reasons why they love the city so much. Here are some of them:
THE HISTORY. Established in 1575, Naga has a rich history of being enslaved, tormented and influenced by the Spaniards, Japanese and Americans. Most are not actually written on books but has been passed on to generations of Bicolanos shared through stories. This history has brought color and vividness to the present culture and values of the Bicolanos.
THE RELIGION. Mostly, Nagueños are Roman Catholic because of the Metropolitan Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Caceres but the city is composed of different Christian and Muslim communities who live harmoniously with one another. Religion has big influence to the lives of each Nagueño and to its neighboring communities. One example is the celebration of the Peñafrancia Festival where one can witness the devotion and love of all people not only Bicolanos to the Lady of Peñafrancia, the patroness of the region. You can actually see different churches and chapels all around the city which make it easy for the pious Nagueños to praise and honor the Almighty.
THE TOPOGRAPHY. The city has a mixture of urban and rural communities which makes it the best place to experience the beautiful, wild and exciting chaos of both nature and man-made landscape. Natural attractions like the Naga City Eco Park, hot springs and the likes are easily accessible to any local residents or tourists. Same thing with shopping malls, majestic churches and historic houses and museums, these can be visited and be enjoyed by anyone.
THE ECONOMY. It is said that Naga is the center of industrialization and commercialization and was mentioned as the most business friendly - cities in Asia and the third most competitive cities in the Philippines.
THE EDUCATION. Majority of the influential institutions of the city are schools such as Ateneo de Naga University, Universidad de Sta. Isabel and University of Nueva Caceres. The city has produced top caliber and globally competitive workers and professionals who’s ready to serve the demands of the changing times.
THE FOOD AND BEVERAGES. There are so many food and beverages to enjoy. You get the taste of every product made in the city or from other municipalities surrounding the city such as the ibos, tabrillas, binanban, pili and so many more. Every taste of these products explodes in your mouth giving you an experience of knowing the Bicol identity.
THE ART. There are so many artistic people in the city may it be in perfoming arts such as singing , dancing and acting, there are those who make films, sculpture, painting, making illustrations and other stuff as well. Anyone within or outside the city can enjoy these kinds of art in galleries, movie houses, schools and other institutions who supports these endeavors. In fact, there are existing interest groups and organizations in the city that brings the artistic side of Bicolanos to life.
THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY. There has been a lot of improvement in the healthcare institutions of the city accredited by the Philhealth and Department of Health. Hospitals such as the Bicol Medical Center, NICC Doctors Hospital and Mother Seton Hospital have new technologies for the benefit of its clients and these institutions has competent healthcare workers (Doctors, nurses, midwives and those from ancillary services) who gives full quality service not only for Nagueños but for everyone who deserves proper healthcare.
THE PEOPLE. Just like most Filipinos, every Nagueño is hospitable, caring and loving. The values of hospitality, charity and compassionate service boils down to its religious roots. But the most important identity of every Nagueño is his nature of being ‘Oragon’. Oragon is a slang for somebody who is feisty, determined, fighter and one who stands up in his principles. There are more things to love about Naga City. Every aspect mentioned above is just a pigment of every Bicolano’s reason why they love the city. Come and visit Naga! You will never know its beauty until you step into its soil and streets, meet the beautiful people, taste the Bicolano food and prepare to be mesmerized by the city’s activities… prepare to be in love.