THE United Nations recently proclaimed March 28 as the International Day of Happiness. In various ways and means, people all over the world will celebrate the podium day whoever they are and wherever they may be, regardless of race, religion, and political ideocencracy or status in life. To millions of believer like me, this is a God – given day! Why Not?
Last Thursday afternoon, I received a phone call from ABONG staff member that I had in their office for delivery a letter of invitation to attend a welcome reception program in honor of His Excellency Toshinao Urabe, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines set at the Filipino – Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Inc. Social Hall at ABONG. Because of my inability to pick-up the letter, I requested FPFFNL Officer-in-Charge Maria Edita Escano Babanisas to pleased just read the letter over the phone. And she did. Edita, momentarily took over the office responsibilities of her late father Engr. Leopoldo Escano who served the foundation as Executive Director for many long years until his untimely departure recently. The current chairman of the foundation is Hon. Carlos Teraoka, former Honorary Consul of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines located in Metro Manila. He is a Baguio boy. In fact, he was my boyhood mate. We were neighbors along Avelino Street in Guisad Valley before and after the Japanese occupation in the country.
The reception program for Ambassador Urabe has been scheduled starting at 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon of Friday(March 28). Ranking government officials from the city led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Cong. Nicasio Aliping Jr., Vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas and members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod were invited to the occasion. Cong. Ronald Cosalan, Gov. Nestor Fongwan and La Trinidad Mayor head the Benguet provincial guests. OIC Cabanisas said other VIP personalities in the guest list include executives from the DOT, City Social Welfare and Development Office and from the regional offices of the government and a select group of business leaders. Said OIC Cabanisas: “The focus of the get together is on “Bicameral Relations.” The City of Baguio has several ongoing economic, infrastructure, tourism and educational undertakings with Japan primarily to promote peace, growth and development, closer friendship and understanding.
Personally, I would like to believe that my humble invitation to the historic gathering on Friday is in recognition of my modest leadership as former president of the Baguio Elderly Association and as president of the National Correspondents Club of Baguio. With pardonable pride and distinction, both organizations initiated, prepared the program and coordinated the observance of the first Filipino-Japanese Friendship Day episode in year 2009, as a special feature of the Centennial year celebration of our Magandang Baguio. The celebration was held in partnership with the Baguio Centennial Commission, Filipino – Japanese Foundation NL, the Baguio Japanese Residents Association in cooperation with the local city administration. The special event, held in the month of October was approved by the Japanese embassy, in 2011, and annually up to 2013, the Japanese Association of Northern Luzon took over the co-sponsorship of the city wide Philippine – Japan Friendship Day celebration from the Baguio – Japanese Resident Association. But the original and main organizer-implementers of the laudable international endeavor remained. Yours truly stayed on the challenging position as the project executive officer and program coordinator.
Please note, that the invaluable concerted and active participation of the Baguio City National High School, Phases Learning Center, Senior Citizens from the Baguio elderly Assembly, Boys and Girls Scouts, Mama Mary Devotees of the Shrine of the Brown Madonna, the cultural groups of the National Institute of Information Technology and the efforts extended by the sponsoring organizations including the CSWDO and the OSCA contributed immensely to the successful conduct of the commemorative, religious, civic, and cultural “Tomodachi Day” celebration.
Mabuhay and a hearty welcome to Ambassador Urabe and his party!
Tomorrow, Sunday, will be a very special day at the Shrine of the Brown Madonna along Asin road, Tuba, Benguet. Our NCCB Spiritual and Shrine adviser Rev. Fr. Domingo “German” Ledesma will celebrate the Thanksgiving Mass dedicated to the benefactor-devotees who gave the place of worship inside the rock cave new look. The Holy Mass will start at 8:15in the morning with a floral and candle light ceremony to be led by our new found friends and shrine patrons led by Ms. Helen Aquino and Ms. Marina Pante, president and vice president of the prestigious Maximum Service and Security Corporation based in metro Manila, couples Wilfredo and Brenda Layson from Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, Directress Cita Bernal of Phases Learning Center and Jaime and Gladys Tamsi from Barangay Nangalisan , Tuba.
The Holy Eucharist is also dedicated to the Phases senior high school graduating class of 2014, NCCB’s partner in several civic community activities.