by: Kristine Yentyl C. Esber
December marks the first quarter celebration of the 400th anniversary of Los Banos township. To commemorate the milestone, the municipal council spearheads activities and programs that showcase the culture and arts of Los Banos in line with the theme “Apat na Siglo ng Katatagan at Kaunlaran.”
The quadricentennial anniversary is a year-long celebration divided into quarters. It starts this December and ends in September 2015. As early as October this year, the council has sat down to brainstorm on activities for each quarter.
According to Councilor Jay Rolusta, chair of the Sangguniang Bayan Committee on Tourism, History, Culture, and Arts, local events will be based on the preservation of culture, heritage, and traditions of Los Banos.
One of the suggested activities is to convert the old municipal hall into a museum. The funds for the project will come from donations the local government will receive through the program “Ambag mo, ambag ko, Pamanang Museo.”
“Kung may mga lumang kagamitan, larawan, o mga bagay na sa tingin nyo ay mnaging bahagi ng kasaysayan ng Los Banos, pwede ito i-donate,” Rolusta said.
He emphasized the importance of the museum to feature the rich history of Los Banos. “Ito ay isang makabuluhang programa na magiging pamana natin sa mga susunod na henerasyon ng ating bayan,” he added.
Aside from the cultural program, the celebration will also feature events focusing on arts, sports, music, and dance.
First quarter events for the month of December included a lantern (parol)-making contest and “Pasko sa Barangay,” a barangay hall decor contest on December 1, “Hataw at Galaw” dance contest on December 11, and “Himig Pasko” on December 13.
According to Rommel Maningas, the municipal tourism officer and overall chair for the first quarter celebrations, “Dahil nataon sa Piyesta ng Bayan ang Pasko, dito sesentro ang selebrasyon sa unang quarter ng quadricentennial anniversary.”
The lantern-making contest was opened to all organizations – private, civil society groups, non-government organizations, and even cooperatives in Los Banos. The Pasko sa Barangay involved all 14 barangays of Los Banos.
The Himig Pasko chorale competition was divided into two categories – one for schools, and one for private groups, such as private business agencies, church choirs, and student organizations from the University of the Philippines Los Banos.
The long list of activities for the remaining quarters include the participation of the Philippine High School for the Arts during the second quarter, sports festival for the third quarter, and the Banamos Festival for the fourth quarter.
The municipality’s Quadricentennial Commission is in charge of the preparations. It is composed of representatives from different sectors, including the church, private businesses, schools, government agencies, and UPLB organizations.
“Hinihikayat natin ang partisipasyon ng lahat ng sektor, lahat ay i-involve natin,” Maningas said. “Gusto nating maging mas remarkable and memorable ang ating pagdiriwang ng ika-400 na taon ng pagkatatag ng ating bayan.”