by: Daryle Kayele Mendoza, Christine Joy Aranzanso, Jann Adriel Nisperos, Aila Monica Flores, with reports from Cybelle Basa and Harry Bernardino
With the theme Pagkilala sa Kasaysayan, Pagpupugay sa Kasalukuyan, Pagtanaw sa Kinabukasan, Los Baños held its annual foundation anniversary program to commemorate the town’s 400th founding anniversary last September 17.
Looking back and moving forward
Atty. Jennylyn Bagon-Soriano, the program’s event organizer, shares that since Los Baños has existed for 400 years, there is a need to recognize what the municipality has achieved since its establishment.While acknowledging the town’s humble beginnings, it is also important to keep the future of Los Baños in mind to improve what the town has yet to offer. “Kailangan tanawin mo rin kung ano ba ang magiging Los Baños in the future”, she furthers.
The program at the old municipal covered court opened with a doxology by the choir of The Church Among the Palms followed by Tunog Acapella’s rendition of the Los Baños hymn. Among the notable guests in the program were Mayor Caesar Perez, Vice Mayor Procopio Alipon, Governor Ramil Hernandez, Cong. Joaquin Chipeco Jr., and Hon. Mark Lapid. Ms. Mackie Cao, The Voice of the Philippines finalist, also indulged the audience with a special number.
Notable through the decades: town’s movers and shakers
The highlight of the program was the awarding of the town’s outstanding citizens and notable residents of Los Baños. Ten winners were named as outstanding citizens, a result of the search which opened on April this year.
Apart from the winners of 2015’s outstanding citizens, other notable individuals and institutions were also recognized. Their contributions in the development of Los Baños has made the town stronger through the decades.
In the category of Arts and Beauty, Leren Mae Bautista was recognized for winning the 2015 Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia Pacific International. The Umali matriarch, Zenaida L. Umali, was awarded for her generous contribution and development of land and real property, the Umali Subdivision. Michael O. Concio, Jr. got the award for his talent in playing chess. Winning local and international tournaments at a young age, he brings great pride to Los Baños. Because of his leadership, Eladio M. Baradas bagged the award for leading baseball players into competent players. Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr. is another recipient for his outstanding achievement, being promoted as Brigadier General and Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army. Dr. Mario M. Labadan and Mrs. Eva Labadan were awarded for advancing science and business through their enterprise, Ave Science & Technology Co., Ltd. Also, Mr. Rodelo DL. Pabalate and Mrs. Janeth B. Pabalate were also recognized.
Strength in numbers: town’s model groups, organizations, and institutions
A familiar institution and even a landmark to many locals, PCAARRD was awarded for funding research projects on organic vegetable production that benefit low income families. PCAARRD stands for Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development.
For environmental protection, Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO), and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) were recognized.
Other institutions also received awards and these are the Laguna Water District, City of Springs Resort and Hotel, Community Cable Vision Corporation, Kabalikat Civicom, iHELP Los Banos, Philippine High School for the Arts, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Bureau of Plant Industry, Makiling Medical Society, 564th Engineer Construction Battalion, Mer-Nel’s cake house, Alalay of Los Baños Inc., and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) respectively.
Through Presidential Proclamation No. 349 on August 7, 2000, Los Baños was recognized as a “Special Science and Technology City” for the development of agriculture and preservation of the environment. Apart from the foundation anniversary program, several activities marked the town’s quadricentennial celebration in the week of September 14 to 20.