THE City Government of Baguio, with Baguio City Host Lions Club, held a formal inauguration of the newly repainted Lion's Head, a major attraction welcoming thousands of tourists to the City of Pines. The 40-foot Lion's Head was a project conceived by the Lions Club of Baguio in the late 1960's and was formally inaugurated in 1972. In 2003, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed by then City Mayor (and Lion PDG) Bernardo M. Vergara, Club President Peter Ng and Mr. Albert Lee, CEO of Davies Paints Philippines, that authorizes Davies Paints to handle the repainting of the Lion's Head as required, under the supervision of Baguio City Host Lions Club. Since the signing of the MOA, the Lion's Head has undergone 3 major repaintings; each repainting should have board approval and the City Government's approval. The most recent repainting employs paint technology that makes the sculpture less vulnerable to wear and tear caused by exposure to the weather. Its brighter colors also make it even more attractive to tourists. The Department of Public Works and Highways also plan to expand the Lion's Park where the Lion's Head is located. 

The Baguio Lions Club and the Iconic Lion’s Head

The recognition of Baguio City Host Lions Club, as one of the “Builders of Baguio” during the Baguio Centennial in 2009 is a considerable honor for the organization, which, as history proves, is a genuine Builder of Baguio, literally and figuratively. Apart from the community service its members have provided to the local and far-reaching communities, Baguio City Host Lions Club, originally known simply as the Baguio Lions Club, has also constructed familiar structures in the country’s Summer Capital and its neighboring areas.

 

Travelers driving up Kennon Road on the way to Baguio will be hard-pressed to overlook the massive 40-foot Lion’s Head sculpted out of a natural limestone formation, with tourists every so often stopping at the area to have their photos taken with the gigantic monument. It has been 43 years since its completion and inauguration.  

 

This project was a brainchild of a hardy group of pioneering Lions under the leadership of former Baguio City Mayor Lion Luis Lardizabal and then Club President Mauro Leonen. The project was started sometime in June or July of 1968, but was halted the subsequent year. Baguio Lions Club President and later, District 301-C Governor Robert John Webber ordered serious work on the project to begin in 1971. A Cordilleran artist, Reynaldo Lopez Nanyac, was commissioned to carve out the colossal Lion’s Head. The undertaking was completed and unveiled to the public the following year, under the administration of then President Pedro Claravall.

 

The Lion’s Head was not spared from the destructive 7.7 magnitude twin quakes that brought down Baguio City on July 16, 1990. It suffered considerable damage and was even preyed upon by vandals. The rehabilitation of the structure was completed with the patronage of Lions Alfredo de los Santos and then District 301-C Governor Gloria Vergara, with Peter Go of BCHLC as the project manager. The Baguio City Host Lions Club is responsible for the upkeep of the Lion’s Head, with repainting jobs carried out regularly.