December 8, 2023

Many have asked me about the history of the Lion’s Head monument at the zigzag road after they saw that my father, Pedro Z. Claravall, was the president of the Baguio Lions Club when the original form of the Lions Head was constructed and unveiled. There was only one Lions Club then existing in the city.
It is only now that I came to think about it and recall what I remember, after reading a post on Facebook of the account of Baguio City’s Public Information Office on the matter.
As the president of the Lions Club then, the club, with the encouragement of then Lions District Governor Robert John Webber (who was then the president of the Omico Mining Corporation) delegated my father to go on a speaking tour of the Lions Club organizations in Japan.
My father went on the speaking tour with some members and officials of the club, and I remember that among them was Ricardo Calingan, who served as the official interpreter.
Manong Carding, as I fondly called him, was half-Japanese so he knew and spoke Japanese fluently and was a long-time resident of Baguio City. He was also very good at cameras and could repair any kind or brand.
My father’s speaking tour before the Japanese Lions Clubs brought him to as far as the northernmost club in Japan – the Wakkanai Lions Club, named after that city. My father told me thatWakkanai City is in Hokkaido and one can see Russia from there.
Most members of the Lions Club of Japan had been to the Philippines and had historical memories of our country during the second World War, so the speeches of my father dwelled on the healing of the wounds, hurts, and pains caused by the last war by reconstructing and fostering goodwill among the Japanese and Filipinos, through the spirit “lionism”.
My father’s tour lasted for about two. Itwas successful considering that, among other things, the Lions Clubs in Japan offered and pledged funds for the projects of the Baguio Lions Club.
It is no wonder that it was a Lion’s Head that was carved and made into a “monument” at Kennon Road.
The construction did not come without a controversy. The voices against it came from the environmentalists who wanted to let alone the natural rock formation in that area and the media that sided with them. But the city government gave a go-signal to the project, chiefly because the city coffers would not be touched (and of course, most of the city officials were members of the Lions Club).
A Lion’s park in the vicinity of that area, particularly on the lot with streaming waters a few meters away from the hairpin loop of Kennon Road below the Lions Head, was also considered as a component of the project, but it was not pursued due to maintenance issues.
The Lions Club building was expanded and improved and an obelisk or a tower of peace was erected, as well as a park at the triangular road near the Lions Clubhouse. Many Japanese Lions Clubs have since visited Baguio and engaged in joint projects with the Baguio Lions Club.
With the proliferation of other Lions clubs, the Baguio Lions Club was renamed as the Baguio Host Lions Club, to distinguish it from the other clubs, and as a recognition as the mother Lions Club in Baguio.