A NATIONAL youth and an elderly commemorative endeavor and a spiritual-religious anniversary celebration will be held simultaneously this morning in at least two different places. The 30th year anniversary festivity of the Shrine at the Brown Madonna will be on the limelight at Km. 7, Asin Road, Sitio Pacac, Barangay Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet, starting at 9 o’clock AM with a concelebrated Mass. A floral and candlelight offering by representatives from the Shrine’s project committee, BARP Foundation headed by its president-CEO Prof. Federico Balanag, Edith Ibarra, president of the Baguio Federation of Senior Citizens Associations and a group of Mama Mary devotees will usher in the Holy Eucharist. The mass celebrants are Rev. Fr. Alejandro Bangilan, our present NCCB and the Shrine’s Spiritual adviser and Rev. Fr. Joey Padayao, Parish Priest of the Immaculate Conception Church at Aurora Hill Barangay. Several years ago, Fr. Joey served as the Spiritual Adviser of the press club and the Shrine of the Brown Madonna. Rev. Fr. Alejandro is the incumbent Formateur of San Pablo Seminary at Crystal Cave Barangay.

The concelebrated Mass is also being offered as a thanksgiving gesture to the Almighty for His innumerable favors bestowed on us and to usher in the monthlong Baguio Elderly OVTOBERFEST 2016 fraternal project sponsored by the City Social Welfare and Development Office headed by Betty Fangasan, the Office for Senior Citizens Affairs led by Engr. Isaias Barongan in partnership with the Baguio Elderly Assembly (BEA) with yours truly as the president and executive program officer. The BEA member organizations aside from BARP Foundation and FBASECA are the Philippines Government Retirees Association, Baguio Chapter, the Veterans Federation of the Philippines, Baguio District headed by AFP retiree Garry Micus and the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines, more popularly known as the USAFIP, Northern Luzon Chapter, Majority of the chapter’s rank and file belong to the famous 66th Infantry Division, AFP.

Immediately after the mass, the 14th anniversary rites of OCTOBERFEST will be launched at the Shrine’s compound. The simple launching ceremony will highlight with the release of colorful balloons to symbolize our seemingly unending quest for national reconciliation, admittedly, our nation’s key toward lasting peace, harmony, progress and prosperity.

This is one of the reasons, the Shrine of the Brown Madonna was developed after the so-called EDSA revolution in 1986. A simple fellowship hour will follow. Thanks to the Leyson family from Urdaneta City, Pangasinan; Architect Jojo Alba and family from Quezon City, Venues Parkview president-CEO Roland Villanueva and hotel manager Tiny Oliveros, City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Vice Mayor Edison Bilog, City Councilor Faustino Olowan, the Aguinaldo family at Pinsao Proper Barangay Baguio Balikbayan Steven from USA and Jaime and Gladys Tamsi of Nangalisan, Tuba. Our heartfelt thanks goes to our activity coordinator Raffy Policarpio, teacher Rosalie Dulay, BARP and FBASECA. Of course, we are specially and deeply elated and appreciative for the frontline support and participation of Mrs. Fangasan and her staff and my esteemed friend GSO Romeo Concio and the talented Don Bosco Church male choir led by choir master Melchor Aresa.

At about the same time we are celebrating at the Shrine, the kick off opening program to mark the 2016 anniversary of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines is taking place at the Baguio Convention Center with key city officials and Baguio City Council Board Members at the force. After the program which will be participated in by Girl Scouts showcase at least 10,000 Boy and Girl Scout marchers, selected from all ranks. The Boy Scouts of the Philippines was chartered as an independent national youth organization from the B.S.A. virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 111 passed and approved on October 31, 1937; sponsored by the late Assemblyman Tomas Confesor from Iloilo City. With pardonable pride, I served the local Boy Scout Council, then known as the Baguio-Benguet Council from 1958 to 1965 as Scout Executive. After attending a series of advance training courses in Scouting in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, I was prompted as Regional Scout Director for BSP Northern Luzon later on as National Training Coordinator of the National Council’s Train Department. I left the home office position on 1969, to join Radio Station DZWT 540.

Meanwhile, some 48 elderlies from the BEA will assume responsibilities as City Officials for a day at the City Hall and at the different LGU Regional Officers. The Senior Citizens Officials For A Day (SCOFAD) sked is a leadership training experience for the elderlies. Induction ceremonies is at the City Hall Quadrangle schedule at 8AM to be officiated by Mayor Domogan.

The Baguio OCTOBERFEST Program is pursuant to a Presidential Proclamation by former President Fidel V. Ramos in 1997, strengthened by a City Council Resolution in 2002 and by a Covenant of Unity, conceived and implemented by the BEA on the same year with the CSWDO and OSCA as adviser.