NCCB, Phases seniors welcome Valentine’s Day with clean up

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By Nars Padilla

Kafagway Roundup

Friday, February 14, 2014


"THROUGHOUT the day and through the years, let us care and share to keep Baguio clean, green, peaceful and beautiful."

This was the guiding principle which showcased the love and interest of the National Correspondents Club of Baguio in partnership with senior high school students from Phases Learning Center in coordination with CEPMO to welcome Valentine’s Day with clean up and beautification activities last Thursday morning.

The NCCB and the graduating class of Phases led by no less than its director Cita Bernal and her hardworking husband Arturo, armed with stick brooms and dust pans, paint and brushes and metal polish materials were on the job from 830am until lunch time. The student-volunteers were divided into at least four groups who concentrated their respective efforts in scrubbing, cleaning and repainting the historical markers, particularly those of American pioneers who contributed immensely to the growth and development of our beautiful city. History tells us that Baguio City, renown as the Summer Capital of the Philippines was initially an “American Dream” at the turn of the 19th century.

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The markers which were given a new look are the Arch. Daniel H. Burnham monument at the main entrance of Burnham Park, the Col. Lyman W. Kennon monument beside the Kennon Road viewpoint along Zigzag Road, the Justice George Malcolm Square and the century old animal drinking trough along Abanao Street.

Significantly, the construction of the Daniel Burnham and Col. Kennon monuments was initiated and coordinated by the NCCB with yours truly at the helm. The Burnham marker was inaugurated in December 1992 with US Amb. Richard Solomon as the guest of honor while the Col. Kennon marker was inaugurated during the centennial celebration of the construction of the Kennon Rd. in 2005 with Gen. Mathias Velasco, former JUSMAG chief as the keynote speaker.

The bust figure of the late Justice Malcolm was added to the original marker was my idea which was translated to what it is today by former city mayor Bernardo Vergara and then congressman Mauricio Domogan. It was under the leadership of former city mayor Jun Labo when the two cement horses at the former animal drinking trough were placed to make the historic edifice look more realistic.

The AZKO barangay officials led by former kagawad Zaldy Comanda, a photojournalist of Manila Bulletin and Balita, with my modest participation several years ago, improved the project. The bronze marker on the stone lamppost in the area tells about the historic marker.

Significantly, like the Baguio City National High School with the dedicated and exemplary stewardship of its principal Elma Dona-al, the Phases Learning Center is an original and active supporter and program participant of the annual Philippines-Japan Friendship Day celebration and the yearly NCCB-CSWDO Silahis ng Pasko sa Baguio.

The Fil-Jap friendship day in the city was also initiate and coordinated by the NCCB and the Baguio Elderly Assembly in partnership with the Filipino-Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Inc., led by its former executive director Engr. Leopoldo Escaña, who pass away two weeks ago, in cooperation with the city government.

The “Tomodochi Day” in the city started in 2009 as a special event of the 100th Baguio Charter Day yearlong celebration. Three years ago, the Japanese Association of Northern Luzon headed by Hidenodu Oguni joined the NCCB, BEA and the FJFNL as main sponsors of the international friendship program.

This is the true picture of the people, places and events in the Philippines-Japan Friendship Day in Baguio. Our active ally program participants in the religious, memorial, civic-cultural and other commemorative endeavors of the very special episode are elderlies from the various Senior Citizen organizations, Boy and Girl scouts, social workers from the Office for Senior Citizens Affairs and the
SCWDO, National Institute of Information Technology Igorot highland cultural troupe and media.

Pooled in together its solidarity and understanding, our companionship as a whole never fails to radiate love, joy and loyalty to the cause, more particularly this month of February, which is universally known and heartily accepted as “Love Month”, accentuated by Valentine’s Day.

Certainly, the community service rendered by Phases is a genuine manifestation and demonstration of love for a better Baguio, vibrant and full of hope and prayers.

Finally, I am very eager to know and meet the person or people who are regularly offering an all weather flower wreath in front of Architect Burnham monument. The act of remembrance is deeply appreciated.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 15, 2014.

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