Kaaldawan nin Virac is a founding anniversary, cultural and religious event in Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines every December 7. It coincides with the fiesta in honor of Nuestra Señora dela Inmaculada Concepcion, the patroness of the town and of the Diocese of Virac.
Kaaldawan nin Virac translates from Bicolano to English as birthday of Virac.
Founding of Virac
Virac is the capital of Catanduanes, the word may have come from the name of a spring called Vidak or alternatively its origin may be the word burac which in the Spanish language means flower.
Early settlers arrived in the island of Catanduanes in the 11th century, and the Malays followed in the 13th. By the 14th century, people from southern Luzon migrated to the island and began to establish settlements.
During the colonial period, Spanish colonizer Juan de Salcedo visited Catanduanes in 1573. He and his fleet reached the island as they pursued the pirates who were infesting in the seas in those times. They met Datu Lumibao, the chieftain of the people dwelling in the island and who was the descendant of Datu Dumaguil who migrated to the archipelago with thirteen Malay datus.
Then the Dominicans came, and they began proselytizing the natives to the Catholic faith.
As Christianity took hold, stone-made churches were erected along the coastline. Beside being used as places of worship, they also served the purpose of protecting inhabitants from seaborne raids conducted by sea pirates. Settlements were marked as encomienda, which was a political and religious system over the population, and Virac was organized into a town in 1755.
Devotion to Nuestra Señora dela Inmaculada Concepcion
The annual event is also held in conjunction with the feast day of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, the patroness of the municipality. As the town was organized in 1755, its church was elevated to a parish under the Diocese of Caceres in the same year and under the patronage of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception.
After Caceres became an archdiocese, Virac then became part of the Diocese of Legaspi when the latter was canonically erected on June 29, 1951.
Then finally, Virac Church became a cathedral when the Diocese of Virac was created through a Papal Bull called “Divino Christi Mandato” issued by Pope Paul VI on May 27, 1974. It was canonically erected on August 27 of the same year, installing Fr. Jose C. Sorra, DD as its first Bishop.
The early church was made of humble construction materials and afterwards, it was replaced with stone church. By the 1960s, it was in a state of disrepair after it withstood natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons. Reconstruction was carried out after it became a cathedral to better reflect its stature as the ecclesiastical seat of the diocese.
Church authorities undertook renovations in 2010 and on August 27, 2021, it was blessed and dedicated in a ceremony presided by Manila Archbishop Jose Fuerte Cardinal Advincula and attended by Apostolic Nuncio, Most Reverend Charles John Brown.
Kaaldawan nin Virac Activities
Religious services include the novenario and mass held at Virac Cathedral, and they begin on November 28th until Deccember 7. Culminating religious activities occur on the December 8 with a pontifical mass and grand procession.
On the other hand, secular activities are organized by the local government. They often included parade, agro-trade fair and bazaar at the Virac Plaza Rizal (called Tilindahan sa Fiesta in 2022), socio-cultural events, job fair, sports, beauty pageant (Mutya ng Virac), variety shows, and other activities such as Pasalingaya sa Virac.
How to reach Virac, Catanduanes
Catch a direct flight from Ninoy International Airport to Virac Airport. Another route is through Legazpi Airport and then a land trip to Tabaco Port which has regular trips to San Andres Port in Catanduanes. From there, take a jeepney ride to Virac.
- KAALDAWAN NIN VIRAC. Legislative Digital Resources. Senate of the Philippines E-Library. Retrieved December 20, 2023
- This Week’s Festivals: Dec. 8-14, 2019. Philippine Daily Inquirer. December 8, 2019. Retrieved December 20, 2023
- History of Virac. Municipality of Virac. Retrieved December 20, 2023
- Municipality of Virac. Provincial Government of Virac. Retrieved December 20, 2023
- Top leaders of Catholic Church to lead dedication of Virac Cathedral August 27. Municipality of Virac. August 25, 2021. Retrieved December 20, 2023
- Archdiocese of Caceres. UCANEWS. Retrieved December 20, 2023
- Diocese of Legazpi. UCANEWS. Retrieved December 20, 2023
- Diocese of Virac. UCANEWS. Retrieved December 20, 2023