GUBAT, Sorsogon --- More than 1,000 people joined the 120th celebration of the Philippine independence where town officials and employees, people’s organizations, civil society groups, business sector, academe members, and youth formed a human flag during the flag raising ceremony held Tuesday morning, June 12, in this town.
Dubbed as Katalingkasan (freedom in Bicol dialect), the human flag is an added attraction before the Independence Day Parade around the town center where people and organizations from the town’s 42 barangays joined.
The parade is being held every June 12 of each year which also falls on the eve of the Ginubat festival, the town’s annual fiesta in honor of their patron saint, St. Anthony of Padua, that is lavishly celebrated from June 1 to 13 every year.
In her message, Gubat Mayor Sharon Rose Glipo-Escoto stressed that more than celebrating the town’s bispera, it is important to hold an activity that will commemorate Philippine Independence from Spain 120 years ago as it is an essential part of the country’s history.
“We need to look back to the sacrifices made by our forefathers which brought us the national sovereignty we enjoy today. Awareness and appreciation of our nation’s history will serve as guiding steps in achieving progress for our town and our country”, Escoto said.
She further stated that apart from learning lessons from the past, those who live in the present times have the common responsibility to guard the freedom we now enjoy.
During the program, teachers from Gubat schools read the poem, Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa by Andres Bonifacio, while some students performed a Makabayan song and interpretative dance depicting the Filipinos’ acts of nationalism and patriotism.
One of the program highlights is the laying of wreath in front of the monument of unknown soldiers during the Second World War inaugurated on June 12, 1969 by the late Congressman of Sorsogon province Salvador Encinas, a native of Gubat and also a war veteran.
The monument’s marker reads “To my comrades-in-arms, the Sorsogon Veterans of World War II, and to Colonel Salvador Escudero, Commander-in-Chief of the Sorsogon Guerillas, heroes all both living and dead, for their sacrifices and sufferings in defense of democracy, this memorial is humbly dedicated.”
In another marker etched in the monument enumerates the names of Gubatnons who fought during the war.
The monument erected inside the municipal compound depicts a man standing, clad in soldier’s uniform with a rifle, and a woman seated with her arms wrapped around a fallen soldier.
Gubat Vice Mayor Sixto Estareja who has served the local government for decades said that the three unknown people erected in the monument represent the unsung heroes of the war. Apart from historical names that people learned in school, many ordinary folks struggled for our freedom who, in one way or another deserve recognition, respect, and gratitude from today’s generation, the beneficiaries of those sacrifices, he said.
The day concluded with a concert titled, Tugtugan with Orange and Lemons, a Manila-based pop rock band best known for their single Pinoy Ako which was also used as theme song for the hit reality television program, Pinoy Big Brother. Local musicians also performed during the concert.