December 7, 2023

The annual bonfire of the Baguio Apaches on Dec. 30 at the Ibaloy Heritage Garden was highlighted by the turnover of leadership from chief Ray Olarte to new chief Jonathan A. Vergara.
Now on its 84th year having been established in 1939, when Baguio-born boys mostly belonging to Boy Scout Troop 56 got together to basically hang around, play basketball, sing songs, and have strong brotherhood ties.
Chief Jonathan is a true-blue blooded Baguio boy and a product of Saint Louis University Boys High School.
An electrical engineer by profession, he is an active member of the Institute of Integrated Electric Engineers of the Philippines. His leadership skills were honed when he as president of the Rotary Club of Baguio-North initiated socio-civic projects leaving his mark as an outstanding club during his term.
A long time entrepreneur, he now sits at the board of the Baguio Water District.
While he maintains a low profile, he is a man of his own, a reliable and a loyal friend.
He had Mia, who worked as a legislative staff at City Hall as the apple of his eye and in 1999, they took the plunge and got married. Their union was blessed with daughters who took after the beautiful genes of their dad and mom.
A devoted husband and father, he faced the insurmountable challenge when Mia had health issues but with a lot of courage and prayers, they have survived the challenge.
In his acceptance talk, he asked the Apache nation to look at his leadership not from the perspective of the past chief’s performance but from his own brand of managing the affairs of the tribe and rightly so. He is a man of his own, can speak for himself and as chief, what he says goes.
The traditional culture of fellowship, fun, food, family, faith embedded in every Brave remains. We are confident that he will take care of all the braves with Doc Willy and John Palaroan as his sidekicks and myself as acting Apache Tribal Council (ATC) chair.
A sizeable number of peons have joined the “nation” and they are now true Braves who stormed through a year of humbling experience no matter who you are or who you think you are, culminating into a fraternal initiation that no ordinary man would survive.
To be Brave means going through the hardship and you would not be considered one if you did not. We actually snicker about pretenders who never went through the rites.
A lot is expected from the “nation’s” new leader but we know he can and will deliver.
Hail to new chief Jonathan.