The 11th anniversary of Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day and 114th anniversary of the historic Siege of Baler was celebrated on June 29 and 30 in Baler, Aurora with the theme “500 years of Spanish Presence in the Pacific.”
It was initiated by National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), Office of Senator Edgardo J. Angara (OSEJA), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
The event was led and attended by Senator Edgardo Angara, NCCA Executive Director Emelita Almosara, CESO IV, National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario, Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines Jorge Manuel Domecq, NHCP Chairman Serena Diokno, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, and the “adopted son of Baler” Jesus Balbena, among others. It was also graced by hundreds of people from Aurora and tourists.
“Aurorans have always looked forward to this event as it commemorates the historic Siege of Baler where Filipino and Spanish soldiers set aside their arms and decreed they treat each other no longer enemies in war, but comrades in peace,” Angara said, author of the measure which established Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day every June 30.
As per tradition, the evening before the festivities was marked by a cultural night at Sentro Baler which featured University of the Phlippines Arco String Orchestra, the Philippine Army Band, performances from the Ilongots and the Shirley Halili-Dance Ballet dance troupe, among others. Gracing the event were singer Aicelle Santos, soprano Myramae Meneses and tenor Antonio Ferrer.
This year’s celebration also coincides with the first Philippine-Spanish Swim-ride-run for Aurora triathlon. It includes a 2-km open-water swim, a 100-km bicycle course and a 3-km run.