The enthusiasm of more than 1,000 Valenzuelanos to commemorate Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s 150th Birth Anniversary was not deterred by the downpour of heavy rains brought about by an impending typhoon as they gather at the Rizal Park in Barangay Poblacion, Valenzuela City.

Organized by City Cultural Affairs and Tourism Affairs Office (CATO) in partnership with the Valenzuela City Chapter of the Order of the Knights of Rizal (KOR) and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela (PLV), the gathering featured talks and cultural presentations highlighting the life and the contributions of the National Hero to Philippines culture and history.

The event, patriotic in nature, was attended by members of the academe, the private and religious sectors, cultural organizations, and government institutions.

Valenzuela City Cultural and Tourism Officer, Mr. Barcelito De Sotto, represented Mayor Sherwin T. Gatchalian in the wreath-laying ceremonies before the National Hero’s monument, accompanied by music from the Valenzuela City Band and honor guards from the Knights of Columbus. PB John Arenas and barangay officials from Barangay Poblacion were in complete attendance for the event.

PLV Vice-President, Mr. Erlindo C. Dionisio, awarded prizes to the winners of the poster and slogan-making contest who brought their works to the event.

Mr. Diosdado Santos, Supreme Auditor of the KOR, led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to the National Hero, with key personalities each holding and blowing a candle, shouting “Mabuhay si Rizal!” (Long live Rizal!)

On the national scene, Valenzuela City exhibited locally made products in a three-day trade fair organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) at Rizal Park for Rizal’s sesquicentennial birth anniversary celebration.  Local and foreign tourists flocked to the booth that features water lily products fashioned into baskets, bags, slippers, hats, coasters among many others. The products were handcrafted by Mrs. Ofelia Sicabalo of Barangay Dalandanan. The booth also featured photos representing the diverse facets of the City as well as geographical and historical information.

“Rizal @ 150” is a nation-wide celebration led by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts to promote awareness and a historical revisiting of the life and times of the man who is considered as the “First Filipino.”


– Michael King Urieta (06-20-2011)