Heroism in Pagoda tragedy
BOCAUE, BULACAN — The 13-year-old boy who died while saving four children from drowning after a pagoda sank during fluvial festivities here on July 8, 1993, has been hailed as a modern hero in a newly published school textbook.
Sajid Bulig, an elementary school student, is remembered for his bravery and heroism when he saved the children during the Krus sa Wawa feast, in what came to be known as the “Pagoda Tragedy,” according to the book “Ang Lahing Pilipino sa Nagbabagong Panahon” written by Ela Rose Sablaon and Lazelle Rose Pelingo.
According to the book, which is written in Filipino, “A pagoda vessel ferrying many passengers sank during the 1993 annual Pagoda festival in Bocaue. Sajid was among the 279 fatalities of that accident. He died after rescuing four children from drowning.”
The book, which was published in February 2007 by Rex Bookstore, is used as a textbook for Sibika classes in private and public elementary schools.
Uanjiza Mercado, Sajid’s sister who teaches computer courses at St. Paul Catholic School here, said her brother made the family proud every time the town celebrates the annual Krus sa Wawa festivities.
Bulig’s story of heroism is found in a chapter on the “Mga Huwarang Filipino” under the topic “Mga Makabagong Bayani.”
“I am glad that many of our children are interested in Sajid’s life and the good things he did. He serves as a real model for the youth today,” Mercado told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.
Edna Zerrudo, Department of Education’s schools division superintendent in Bulacan province, said the book was a good educational tool that teachers can use to teach students about Bulig’s bravery and heroism.
Jamil Mercado, 9, a Grade 3 pupil at St. Paul Catholic School who uses the book in her Sibika class, said many of her classmates looked up to Sajid as a young hero. Sajid is also Mercado’s uncle.
In July 2002, the Kapatiran ng Birheng Presentacion from the City of Malolos and its affiliated groups built in Barangay Bambang here a monument of Bulig carrying on his arms a small child.
Erlinda Bulig, Sajid’s mother, said she and her family had been offering prayers and flowers at the monument and his tomb at the Bambang cemetery every July 8.
Following the boat tragedy, festivities were suspended from 1994 to 1999 but resumed in 2000 with less fanfare.