The enduring bond between the Philippines and the United States has been recalled with the observation of the 72nd Fil-Am Friendship Day in the former colonizer’s hill station on July 4.
In a three-part program, veterans, citizens, and the city government of Baguio celebrated the annual event.
Wreath-laying rites were held at Major Lyman W. Kennon Bust along Kennon Road, Architect Daniel H. Burnham Bust at Burnham Park, Justice George A. Malcolm Bust at Malcolm Square, and the site of the first Philippine Commission at Governor Pack Road.
These historical sites were designed by the Americans and developed through the help of local laborers.
The rites were conducted by the Army Retirees Association of Cordillera Administrative Region, the Veterans Federation of the Philippines and the United States Army Forces in the Philippines Northern Luzon; City Social Welfare and Development Office, the Office for Senior Citizens Affairs, the Baguio Elderly Assembly, National Correspondents Club of Baguio and the Boy Scouts of the Philippines; and the Veterans of Foreign War, Fleet Reserve Association and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, respectively.
As a sign of friendship, the second part of the program, held at Malcolm Square People’s Park, opened with the singing of Lupang Hinirang and the Star-Spangled Banner.
This was attended by Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan and Councilor Elmer O. Datuin.
The third part of the program called “Kultura O-Rama” included presentations and activities in honor of the Fil-Am community members, war veterans, and senior citizens.
The main highlight of the program was the “potongan” or coronation of the Lakan and Lakambini of Fil-Am 2018. This year’s Lakan is Mixed Martial Arts World Brave Combat Federation Bantamweight Champion Stephen Loman, who recently defended his title, while the Lakambini is nursing student Rossalyn Ann Johnson.
Expat Baguio-Cordillera folk singer Conrad Marzan also rendered a “harana” honoring the royal court.
In 1964, then President Diosdado Macapagal changed the Philippine Independence Day from July 4 to June 12.
Former president Fidel V. Ramos declared July 4 as the Filipino-American Friendship Day.
BY JEROMY VERAYO