AS PART of tradition every December a Baguio Balikbayan Day is celebrated in the city designed to offer avenues for family reunion, fellowship and adventure and the opportunity to see and to know more what Baguio is today.

This year, the red letter day was held last December 27 at the Sunshine Park.

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The lucky balikbayans were joined by Baguio - Cordillera athletes and sportsmen who saw action with Team in the 25th Southeast Asian Games held at Vietnam, Laos last December.

Frienzied Igorot gong beats and tribal dances greeted the honorees at the park on their arrival. Colorful sashes for the Balikbayans and victory ribbons for the homecoming SEA games achievers were on focus to usher in the day's heartwarming activities.

Silahis ng Pasko '09 executive project chairman Nars Padilla and his co-chair Betty Fangasan together with Gabby Kieth from the City Tourism Office officiated in the welcome ceremonies.

The lucky Balikbayan family composed of Crispin Munar and wife Florita and Rogelio Munar and his better half frau Astrida while the lucky couple was James Alivar and wife Maria Avelina. They are all residents from Los Angeles, California.

On the other hand, Amy Alino Gruschwitz the individual Balikbayan category awardee came all the way from Mainz, Germany George Paraguas from Vallejo City in California bagged the Balik ng Balik Bayan plum together with Atty. and Mrs. Conrado H. Bueno who recently arrived from Illinois, USA after visiting their children and grand children.

The SEA Games athletes were led by gold medalists wushu ace Mark Eddiva and lady boxer Alice Kate Aparri with their coaches, Tony Candelaria who is the president of the Wushu Federation of the Philippine-CAR and boxing mentor Glecerio Catolico.

A motorcade through the city's main streets with a brief stop-over at the Malcolm Square for floral offering at the monument of Justice George Malcolm took place. The motorcade ended at the park for a fellowship salo-salo with "pinikpikan", lechon and other native delicacies on the table.

The affair was highlighted with the presentation of the city's symbolic key of friendship and certificates of commendation to the Balikbayans led by Commissioner Gerry Evangelista Sr. from the Baguio Centennial Commission, Padilla, Fangasan and BARP president Federico Balanag.

Highland tribal dances showcased by the National Institute of Information Technology cultural troupe spiced the special event.

Meanwhile, Padilla wrote an acrostic form of a Balikbayan poem dedicated to the honorees to wit. (Angel Villaralvo)