BAGUIO CITY – A two-part program marked the city’s celebration of the 71st Fil-Am Friendship Day on July 4.
The first part was the simultaneous wreath-laying rites at the various memorial sites for Americans who were instrumental in the founding and development of the city at 8:30 AM:
Maj. Lyman W. Kennon Bust along Kennon Road 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; Arch. Daniel H. Burnham Bust at Rose Garden with city social welfare and development office and Office for Senior Citizens Affairs, the Baguio Elderly Assembly, National Correspondents Club of Baguio and the Boy Scouts of the Philippines; and site of the First Philippine Commission at Gov. Pack Road by the Veterans of Foreign War, Fleet Reserve Association and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines.
At 9 a.m., the participants converged at Justice George A. Malcolm Square for the program proper with Mayor Mauricio Domogan delivering a special message.
The program opened with the singing of the Lupang Hinirang, the Star Spangled Banner and the Baguio Hymn by the Baguio City High School band and choir.
Councior elmer Datuin welcomed the guests while city administrator Carlos Canilao and Philippine Veterans Affairs Office head Cherrylyn Sabling acknowledged the participants.
The BCHS Special Program in the Arts dance troupe provided the entertainment.
At 9:30 a.m., the celebration continued at the Baguio Convention Center with the cultural offering dubbed “Kultura O-Rama” featuring activities in honor of the Fil-Am community members, war veterans and the senior citizens.
The program opened with the march of the Lakan and Lakambini of Fil-Am 2017 to the accompaniment of the BCHS band. City social welfare and development officer Betty Fangasan opened the program.
A highlight was the presentation and coronation of the Lakan and Lakambini couple, an American and his Filipina wife who according to former councilor Narciso Padilla of the Baguio Elderly Assembly and the NCCB were chosen to highlight the enduring Fil-Am partnership and the historical fact that Baguio was a city developed by the Americans.
The coronation of Ginang Lakambini was presided by Mrs. Rebecca Domogan, Mrs. Soledad Go and Councilor Lilia Farinas, chair of the city council committee on social services, women and urban poor Ginoong Lakan was awarded by Social Security System Northern Luzon acting assistant president Ceasar Saludo and the officers of the BEA.
A “harana” honoring the royal court followed featuring folk dances and presentations by the Pines City National High School, the Blessed Association of Retired Persons Foundation (BARPF), the Federation of Baguio Senior Citizen Associations (FBASECA) and the Philippine Government Retired Employees Association (PGREA).
Parlor games and a raffle capped the activities coordinated by the OCSWADO under Fangasan, and the BEA with the BARPF, FBASECA, PGREA and the Veterans Federation of the Philippines. (PGRA).
By Aileen P. Refuerzo