June 2014 musings: Celebrating tradition

TODAY, it turns gold.

It’s the 50th year of the Hijos de Davao today. The social group turned civic organization that honors San Pedro, the city’s patron saint, has been firm in its commitment to keep the Davao tradition of camaraderie and community responsibility thriving.

This year’s celebration will be grand for sure and in the tradition of the annual gala, a muse will be crowned. The officers of the foundation have chosen Arianna Nicole Rabat del Rosario, the youngest child and only daughter of Rodney and Rochelle; the granddaughter of Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario and Milagros M. Garcia on her paternal side; and the late Mayor Luis G. Rabat Jr. of Mati City, Davao Oriental, and the late Amelia R. Peralta on her maternal side.

Arianna Nicole Rabat del Rosario is the muse of the 50th anniversary gala of Hijos de Davao.

"I am delighted to have been chosen as this year's muse. And the fact that it is the 50th anniversary of Hijos de Davao makes the experience even more special,” said Arianna on being selected as muse of the gala’s golden year, “I grew up attending Hijos, my father was President for five years (2004-2009) and my brother, Robertino, escorted the 2010 muse. A few of my aunts and cousins were muses as well, so you can just imagine how happy I was when I was informed that I would be this year’s muse,” she added.

Arianna’s parents, Rochelle & Rodney del Rosario, the past president of the foundation from 2004-2009.

Robertino, Arianna’s brother was escort to the 2010 muse, Milen Yap-Aquino

Now hear the voice of the young generation: “I admire the way that Hijos has evolved yet still kept its traditions through the times. I can only hope that my generation will be able to continue the legacy that our Lolos and Lolas started half a century ago."

One lady who values heritage, I hope there is more of her kind. Where one can lead, others will follow. Maybe Arianna can lead the pack of the new breed to keep the Davao civic foundation active for years to come, and perhaps cultivate a devoted, nurturing spirit in the hearts of the generation next to hers.

It’s the same task that is entrusted to the foundation’s current president, Jackilyn Garcia-Dizon, who was once a muse herself in 1981. “After years of being an officer, little did I know that I was going to be elected president,” confessed Jackie, “It’s an honor,” she admitted.

Jackilyn Garcia-Dizon, current president of Hijos de Davao.

Since her inception as president, Jackie has been on the forefront of the foundation’s projects, one of which is the 50th anniversary coffee table book, Witnessing Growth, a volume that features the people who have contributed to Davao City's growth.

The book will be launched today and will be available for sale in tonight’s gala. Funds raised on the sales of the publication will be dedicated to the education and livelihood enrichment of the Lumads so that their tradition, the weaving included, of the Mandaya and Bagobo tribes may live on.

If someone in the family is proud of Jackie’s undertaking today (and perhaps, Arianna’s someday), that will be Patria Garcia-Montemayor, Jackie’s aunt and Arianna’s grandmother (eldest sister of Milagros). The Garcia-Montemayor matriarch is a founding member of the Club Dabawenyo formed in the late 1940s and a founding officer of the 1964-instituted Hijos de Davao.

Patria Garcia-Montemayor is one of the founders of Club Dabawenyo & Hijos de Davao.

“Our initial intention when we started Hijos was to celebrate the feast of San Pedro, Davao’s patron saint. Little did I know that it would evolve to become a successful socio-economic organization actively involved in Davao’s development,” said Ms. Montemayor, who religiously attends the annual gathering she and her original group initiated, and extended her heartfelt salutation, “Congratulations to everyone who has helped make Hijos what it is today!”

Maybe Jackie will join the ranks of Atty. Rose Cabaguio, another Dabawenya who has been a very active officer of the organization for 40 years today, as a champion of Hijos de Davao. Cabaguio remembers how she enjoyed the first ball in 1964, attended it yearly and officially became a part of the foundation in 1974. Since then, she is the dynamo of the annual gathering for the past four decades.

Atty. Rose Cabaguio: "I love & enjoy Hijos de Davao. It is in my system." 

“Anything that makes me happy, I will do it. I always look forward to June 29th and working with the younger people. The annual ball gives us all the chance to get closer to one another, Hijos is about family,” said Atty. Cabaguio.

“I love Hijos, it’s already in my system,” admitted Atty. Cabaguio, and further stated, "If you’re a Dabawenyo, Hijos would be in your system."

Atty. Cabaguio’s conviction has always been visible with her actions, her presence speaks for it, and when you hear her speak about it, it is infectious. I hope the Dabawenyos will hear her heart, which also embraces this desire: “My wish for Hijos to go on and on and on.”

I’m pretty sure along the ancestry of the original city settlers and its fast-growing family tree there will be one who will be as devoted as the likes of Rose Cabaguio in keeping the torch of tradition burning, and find the joy in it. It’s about family, after all.

Congratulations and cheers to Hijos de Davao on its 50th year anniversary. May the foundation grow stronger in the coming years!

Tonight, let the celebration glimmer in gold.


For more lifestyle and travel stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/ and http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 29, 2014.