Independence Day in Baao

The Spectacle of Independence Day Parades in Baao

One of my fondest memories of youth in Baao are the yearly parades done to commemorate our Independence Day. I‘ve calculated the length of almost three decades that such a parade with floats, tableaus and participants with period costumes would remind or shock onlookers about vignettes of our history. My youthful interest then was aroused by the blood and gore that some scenes were played and made out of charcoal and red paint. I was too young to appreciate the historical details and significance of each display but today I could hold a short lecture for each of them to our unaware youth. Asking around, I learned that it was once a contest among Baao’s many organizations and interested individuals. I remembered my late father telling me stories of once he and his friends constructed a lumber, plywood and cement WWII tank with a bamboo barrel. The barrel was supposed to fire carbide gas explosions occasionally during the parade, but the “gunner” couldn’t come up with a good blast along the way, up until the “tank” reached the end of the parade when, in grand finale, a successful detonation split the bamboo canon in two.

These parades were held during the incumbency of the late Mayor Paulo L. Briones and probably participated in by civic minded organizations manned by members who were probably war veterans or who were used to or educated by such enactments. It was the heyday of Tito Dato and the ember days of Luis Dato, authorities both of our local and national histories so they probably had a hand into this. These efforts of our people in commemorating our struggles is truly remarkable and deserves not only our admiration but perhaps a revival of this practices to replace the present uninspiring celebrations of June 12. Jun Ramirez suggests we compile a wish list for Baao and definitely I’m including this on my list.

When construction workers were excavating the Barlin monument for its renovation, they found a marble plaque that read,” Dedicated to the Historic and Cultured People of Baao”, a part of the monument no doubt but is an apt description of the people of this town, let us live up to it, let us continue to be “Historic and Cultured”.

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