FOUR years ago, the Baguio Elderly Assembly under my leadership initiated the first ever Baguio Filipino-Japanese Friendship Day celebration on October 16, 2009.
The international even was jointly sponsored by the Filipino-Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Inc. led by its executive director Engr. Leopoldo Escaño; the Baguio Japanese Residents Society headed by businessman Masahiro Okuda, in partnership with the National Correspondents Club of Baguio.
Significantly, the tomadachi program in the city was approved by the Baguio Centennial Commission, City of Baguio as a special commemorative event in its yearlong calendar of activities. Thanks to the late veteran mediaman and commission Gerry Evangelista Sr., who as the Centecom committee chair of Tourism and Special events, supported the program to the hilt.
Mang Gerry was the guest of honor and speaker during the friendship day program held at the Baguio City National High School after a brief flower and candlelight ceremony held at the Fil-Jap Memorial Garden. He also headed the potonga entourage of VIPs who officiated in the sashing and crowning activity honoring the friendship day muses and their escorts.
May I add that the Japanese Embassy in Manila also gave its nod to proceed with the October offering. A core group of BEA officers, composed of Supt. Jose Olarte, Col. Napoleon Gojo, Mr. Okuda and myself, sat down with Japanese Embassy officials at their office in Manila to present and discuss the merits of the historic undertaking.
Incidentally, the BEA, now enjoying its 10th year of existence, is the umbrella executive program committee of the different senior citizens organizations in the city, namely: the Federation of Baguio Senior Citizens Associations, Philippine Government Retirees Association, BARP Foundation, Veterans Federation of the Philippines-CAR and the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines-NL WWII veterans. The City Social Welfare and Development Office headed by Betty Fangasan and the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs head serve as advisers of the board.
Last Thursday, I presented and submitted the proposed program of the 4th Fil-Jap Friendship Day to Engr. Escaño and Hidenubo Oguni, president of the Japanese Association in North Luzon. Both served as co-chair of the event for the last two years. They approved the series of activities from July 20-28 and transmitted it immediately to the Japan Foundation in Manila for their perusal.
In a nutshell, the two days tomodachi offering will start with a floral, prayer and candlelight ceremony at the Fil-Jap Memorial Garden along Gov. Pack Road at 1pm, July 20. A cultural program will immediately follow at the BCNHS auditorium.
Rondalla music and songs, tribal and provincial folk dances will highlight the coronation of friendship day muses and their escorts. On the limelight are Ms. Peace, Ms. Solidarity and Ms. Friendship. The cultural show will be spearheaded by the BCNHS Special Program in the Arts department, PHASES Learning Center, BEA cultural groups and the NIIT highland tribal dancers, among other. The afternoon palabas will climax with a raffle with a TV set, cellphones and kitchen utensils as prizes.
On July 28 at 8am, a thanksgiving Fil-Jap friends now, friends forever Holy Mass will be held at the Shrine of the Brown Madonna along Km. 7 Asin Road. This early, we are inviting everyone to join us in the forthcoming celebration.
This morning, the remains of our colleague in arms Gualterio Adalim, former VP of the VFP-CAR will be laid in his final resting place at the Pyramid Memorial Park at Barangay Kias. According to Ret. Napoleon Gojo who took over the position of Adalim, 78, last Jan. 1 said his predecessor will be accorded military funeral honors.
The fallen soldier’s charming wife Rosalinda said he died early morning of May 19 after a lingering illness. I got word from a friend that Adalim joined the Philippine Constabulary as a 2nd lieutenant in 1943 and retired from active military service in 1975. He was recognized guerilla officer with the 76th Infantry Regiment MDI Negros Occidental.
Our good friend Adalim was a founding member of the BEA where he served as an active executive board member until his passing. My family and I are extending our deepest sympathy to his loved ones. BEA will offer a mass in his honor tomorrow, Sunday, 8 a.m. at the Shrine of the Brown Madonna.
The Eucharistic event will also be offered to our departed Baguio balikbayan associate Ponce Sajonas who died in Toronto, Canada last month. His remains are also buried at the Pyramid Memorial Garden.