City joins nationwide Fil-Am Day rites; Manong Gerry writes 30-A A +A
By Nars Padilla
Friday, July 6, 2012
OUR magandang Baguio joined the nationwide observance of Fil-American Friendship Day last July 4 with a set of commemorative events.
The historical activities were ushered in with prayer and wreath laying ceremonies at the monuments of pioneer American government officials who blazed the trail toward the development and growth of the City of Baguio in the early 1900s.
Despite the early morning rains, a sizable group of Senior Citizens from BARP Foundation, Philippine Government Retirees Association-Baguio and the Federation of Baguio Senior Citizens Associations proceeded joyfully with their patriotic task.
At the helm of the special event were Betty Fangasan, head of the City Social Welfare and Development Office, Prof. Federico Balanag, president of the Baguio Elderly Assembly and BARP elderly association presidents Ador de Guzman, Isiais Barongan, BEA board member Jaime Castro and yours truly as the executive project officer. Romeo Concio, GSO department head was our special guest to the occasion.
The brief ceremonies held in front of the Arch. Daniel H. Burnham monument started with a prayer of thanksgiving offered by BM Castro, honoring the invaluable leadership and services of the American pioneers and for the gift of life we Baguio elderlies are enjoying. Fangasan and Balanag led the wreath laying rites while Pinsao Proper Barangay elders offered individual red roses to the tune of the Baguio Hymn.
Immediately after the prayer and flower rites, Balanag, assisted by BEA officers, presented the first set of sanitary protective gears to GSO Concio. The donation from BARP’s “march of coins” fund drive consisted of 50 hard top plastic hats and masks. These in turn will be given out to the volunteer garbage collectors working as transient employees in the city’s garbage trucks. In his speech, Concio expressed his deep gratitude for the caring and sharing spirit of the senior citizens. Colorful balloons, courtesy of FBASECA raced toward the balmy skies which eventually capped the early morning commemorative offering.
Meanwhile, the city’s Fil-Am Friendship Day specials dubbed ‘America in 3D Baguio Pinoy Style’ took place at the Baguio Convention Center with Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Congressman Bernie Vergara as the principal guests. WWII veterans from the USAFIP NL, American Armed Forces including retired US Navy Fil-Am city residents and senior citizens from BEA were entertained with songs and dances by the Baguio City National High School Special Program in the Arts and the Fusion Band. Mabuhay Fil-Am Friendship through the years.
My family and I also grieve the departure of veteran mediaman Geronimo Evangelista Sr. due to cardiac arrest on July 1. He has been bedridden since his first heart attack nearly a year ago. He was 84 years old when he joined his Creator and his loving wife Albina in the vineyard of everlasting happiness. Since his demise many things have been written and said about his myriad of activities in life as a mediaman, a former city councilor and as a member of the Baguio Centennial Commission, among others.
To the younger set of media practitioners he is intimately known to them as “lakay” as an elderly and as a respect for his talent and skills in journalism and a former civic leader and government official. To me, I treated his as my manong, an older brother and as an intimate associate as a newspaperman. He was a founding member of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club way back in 1964 and served as president of the organization in 1968. He was an active member-officer of the Baguio Press Club before the birth of the BCBC. He was also adviser of the National Correspondents Club of Baguio.
With humility and pride Mang Gerry and I were a tandem in the propagation and promotion of several civic, youth and sports, fraternal and tourism activities benefiting our city residents and the city as the whole. Pigeon Lobien, editor of the Cordillera Today, a very close friend of ours is a witness to our sustained efforts to do something good for a better Baguio.
Among the more prominent projects where we served as co-chairmen are the annual quest of the lucky Baguio foreign visitors which started in 1972, the Kafagway Summerbest program held during the Holy Week and the construction of the Col. Lyman W. Kennon Monument at Kennon rd. As a member of the Baguio Centennial Commission he personally helped and actively participated in the fruition and implementation of the first Baguio Filipino Japanese Friendship Day celebration held October 1999.
The third edition of the “Tomodachi Day” in the city under the sponsorship of the Fil-Jap Foundation of Northern Luzon, the Japanese Association of Northern Luzon and the NCCB is set on July 21. Mang Gerry was also a member of the historic Golden Jubilee Anniversary Celebration of the Liberation of the City of Baguio where yours truly was the executive program coordinator.
Goodbye, Manong Gerry. It was my distinct honor and privilege to have worked with you. May you rest in peace in the bosom of the Lord.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 07, 2012.