February 2, 2023

It will be a quiet celebration for the 120th foundation day of the Benguet on Nov. 23, in deference to the victims of calamities that have affected the nation this year.

Gov. Melchor Diclas said there would be a simple program of thanksgiving and prayer, which will not be open to the public in observance of health protocols.

An ecumenical service will be held in the morning to be led by various religious leaders in the province followed by the awarding of the best roadside beautification to winning local government units.

The annual awarding program with emphasis on the clean-up drive recognizes the municipalities, which made an effort to enhance and beautify roadlines in their respective areas. This is done through planting of flowers, shrubs, and other decorative plants along the highway.

“This endeavor will allow tourists, visitors, and the riding public a safe and enjoyable travel while appreciating the flowers on the roadsides and the beautiful scenery of the countryside,” Diclas said.

In the afternoon, the Kankana-ey ritual, lobon, will be performed to be led by an elder. The ritual would entail butchering of two native pigs – a male and a female.

Benguet legislative caretaker Eric Go Yap was invited to attend the program.

Yap has filed House Bill 8037, which seeks to declare Nov. 23 of every year as a special non-working holiday in the province of Benguet.

“Commemorating this day as a special non-working holiday provides an opportunity for the province to revisit its past and reconnect with its roots. The declaration of the Benguet Day provides a reason for the province to celebrate milestones, big or small that have ultimately transpired since the civil  government’s creation,” Yap said.

The bill states that when the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the holiday shall be observed on the Monday that follows. – Ofelia C. Empian