Batangas marks 442nd founding anniversary
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Batangas marks 442nd founding anniversary

Dec 18, 2023, 2:05 AM
Opinyon Batangas News Team

Opinyon Batangas News Team


Sto Tomas City -- The 442nd Founding Anniversary of Batangas unfolded as a spectacular testament to the province's vibrant history, cultural richness, and steadfast progress.

On December 8, 2023, the united Batangueños converged at the Regina R. Mandanas Memorial DREAM Zone, Capitol Compound, Batangas City, to partake in a celebration that resonated with pride, reflection, and a collective vision for the future.

Organized by the Provincial Government of Batangas, the anniversary program, albeit simple, carried profound meaning, acknowledging the enduring success of the province.

Governor Hermilando Mandanas, Vice Governor Mark Leviste, Anakalusagan Congressman Rey Florence Reyes, and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan led the festivities, steering the collective spirit towards commemorating the occasion under the theme "Melting Pot of Rich Diversity" and "Gateway to Prosperity."

The Thanksgiving Mass held at the Capitol on the founding day was a significant cornerstone, aligning with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Msgr. Ernesto Mandanas and Fr. Ilde Dimaano conducted the solemn mass, attended by a diverse assembly of government officials, employees, local leaders, and representatives from various sectors, emphasizing the unity within the Batangueño community.

Vice Gov. Leviste formally inaugurated the program by reading Sangguniang Panlalawigan Ordinance No. 001, a symbolic proclamation marking the official establishment of the province. As an integral part of the celebration, the unveiling of the new Batangas flag, inspired by the redesigned seal, became a symbol of identity and continuity, accompanied by the resonant notes of the Batangan Hymn.

Adding a global perspective to the festivities, the submission and presentation of dossiers for the Verde Island Passage and Taal Volcano Protected Landscape to the Philippine National Commission (PNC) for UNESCO took center stage. Spearheaded by Provincial Administrator Wilfredo Racelis and guided by Gov. Mandanas, this initiative sought UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition for these invaluable Batangas treasures. The official handover of the documents initiated a meticulous evaluation process by UNESCO, underlining Batangas's commitment to preserving its natural wonders.

Recognizing the need to safeguard Batangueño culture, the province established the Batangas History Society (BHS). The induction ceremony for the newly-elected BHS officers took place during the anniversary celebration, further fortifying the province's commitment to preserving and promoting its rich heritage.

In a vibrant display of artistic expression, the Batangas Capitol All Stars took the stage, presenting a musical and dance performance, interpreting the soulful notes of "Hiraya." The celebration also featured a special presentation of the plays "Hibik" and "Himagsik" by Victoria Laktaw, paying homage to the Batangueño National Artist and 2019 Dangal ng Batangan Eminent Person, Mr. Bienvenido Lumbera.

The program took a poignant turn with the Celebration of Valor, where outstanding Batangueños were recognized for their exceptional contributions to society. Lipa City Mayor Eric Africa received a special citation for his unwavering advocacy in social welfare and development.

Dangal ng Batangan Awardees, representing the quintessential Batangueño spirit, were honored across various categories. Under the Dangal ng Batangan for Culture and Arts, distinctions were bestowed upon Mr. Peter John Caringal for Dance and Architect Edwin Barrion for Architecture. Further accolades were awarded to Mr. Loriel Castillo for Visual Arts and Mr. Lionel Nestor Macatangay Guico for Music.

In the category of Dangal ng Batangan for Public Service, Retired 2nd Lt. Lillian Martinez Magsino and General Gregorio Pio Punzalan Catapang Jr. were recognized for Military Service, while Dr. Alfred Buenafe received the award for Medical Service.

The pinnacle of honor, Dangal ng Batangan – Eminent Person, was conferred upon His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, a distinguished individual born in Batangas City. His illustrious journey from priesthood to serving as Archbishop of Lipa and later as Archbishop of Manila was acknowledged with deep reverence.

Governor Hermilando Mandanas, in his closing message, underscored the Batangueño people as the province's greatest treasure. He reiterated the government's unwavering commitment to addressing the citizens' needs, particularly in health and education, through ongoing initiatives and programs.

In essence, the 442nd Founding Anniversary celebration encapsulated not only the historical significance of Batangas but also its enduring spirit, unity, and dedication to progress. The event stood as a vivid testament to the province's resilience, unwavering pride in its cultural heritage, and a collective vision for a flourishing future.

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