By Luis G. Dato

The streets of Iriga, they ever hum
With wheels and traffic all the livelong day,
As from the hills her folk and products come,
And from all towns and barrios far away.

The grotto to the Virgin, e’er it stands
And looks down from its lofty eminence,
A call to prayer and piety to all lands,
And holiness all but departed thence.

And then her streams and rills with camias lined,
Her meadows green, the source of all her life,
The murmuring music in her wandering wind,
They lull us from the ceaseless, sordid strife.

The flowers of Iriga adorn her road,
Beside the sparkling laughter of her rills,
Indeed she is of beauty sweet abode
Which the sad heart with endless pleasure fills.

Her happy homes are not of marble walls,
But there we find contentment and sweet rest,
Beneath whose roof no shade of sorrow falls,
Where loving Friendship dwells and honored guest.

On moonlight nights how brightly her stars gleam,
How fair her clouds, and her white silvery moon,
How night then passes like a fairy’s dream
When fast asleep among the flowers in June.

And last but not least, her pretty girls
Whom to adore is ever a delight,
Who warm our blood with scented raven curls
And are like azucenas to the sight.

Her ravishing girls with fragrance ever lures
Life to renew and perpetuate the race,
And thus the generations’ chain endures
All through the loveliness of a woman’s face.

How keenly we recall that when we fell
In deep disgrace with power and men’s eyes,
‘Twas she have us new hope in life, a spell
Of peace, and taught us where earth’s happiness lies.

The sons of Iriga have brought her great renown,
Saavedra, Taduran, Corporal,
They are not Iriga’s but Bikol’s own,
That from her firmament shall never fall.

And this is Iriga, our sister town,
Who next to ours lies closest to our heart,
Whose friendship is a treasure rare to own,
From whose fair haunts ’tis misery to part.

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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