Araw ng Biñan 2023 | A time for memory and celebration

For the City of Biñan, the month of February is a time for celebration and thanksgiving. From February 2 to February 4, 2023, local government officials, Biñanenses and special guests will gather to celebrate the 13th Cityhood of Biñan, its 78th Liberation Day and 276th Foundation Anniversary.

       Biñan was discovered and founded by Capt. Juan de Salcedo in June 1571. On the site where the San Isidro Labrador Church now stands is believed to be the spot where Augustinian missionaries planted a wooden cross and baptized the natives. A popularly known origin of the word “Biñan” is “Binyagan.” However, some believe that Biñan might have been named after a plant that grew abundantly in that place.

       Historically, Biñan is nationally recognized in books related to the biography of Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero. It was in June 1871 when as a young boy Jose Rizal went to Biñan with his brother Paciano. They proceeded to his aunt’s house near the town proper where they were to be lodged. Here, his first formal education was entrusted to Maestro Justiniano Aquino y Cruz who after some time of tutelage advised young Rizal to continue higher education in Manila. In honor of Jose Rizal, a National Historical Marker was bestowed on the house where he stayed at. A monument now stands at the center of Biñan’s plaza in recognition of Biñan’s affiliation to Rizal.

City Tourism and Cultural Affairs Officer Dr. BJ Borja and Most Outstanding Tourism Officer of Laguna 2022 (Photo by Bernard Testa/BM)

Component City

On February 2, 2010, by virtue of Republic Act No. 9740, Biñan became a component city after its voters accepted the ratification in the plebiscite. It became the 4th city in the province of Laguna and 139th in the Philippines.

       Under the leadership of Biñan City Mayor Walfredo “Arman” R. Dimaguila, Jr., Vice Mayor Angelo “Gel” B. Alonte and Biñan Rep. Marlyn “Len” B. Alonte-Naguiat, the city of Biñan has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, in recognition of the sustained efforts of its city leaders to promote Biñan as a center of trading and commerce in Southern Tagalog and as an outstanding heritage tourism destination.

       Biñan City’s “Balik Biñan Project: Tourism Development Through Heritage Conservation” was touted as one of the Top 10 awardees of the Galing Pook Awards (Please read story on C2).

       “Biñan is a rich city because of the Biñanenses. They are a very cooperative people. For as long as they know that we, their local government officials, are doing everything for the benefit of Biñan City, we can count on their support,” said Dimaguila.

       “We saw this during the pandemic. The LGU was very successful because the Biñanenses trusted and supported us. We were also not blind about our shortcomings and we did our best to make up for this and address all their concerns. We are also committed to the development of our city,” he added.

City Information Head Roman E. Carencia (Photo by Bernard Testa/BM)

Ready to celebrate

Vice Mayor Alonte announced that face-to-face celebrations are back and Binañenses are ready to come out and celebrate Araw ng Biñan.

       “Many organizations have confirmed their support and participation for the three-day activities and we will take advantage of the celebration to showcase all that we have done for cultural conservation,” the vice mayor said.

       Rep. Alonte noted that  this year’s celebration “will be truly special and memorable because this is the first time in almost three years that we will be celebrating in person.”

       “The past celebrations had to be toned down and were limited because of the pandemic. This year, as we emerge with bright prospects for the future, we are going all out with the events that will start on Thursday, February 2, 2023,” she said.

       The three-day event will kick off with the formal opening ceremony of the Araw ng Biñan celebrations at Plaza Rizal at 7:30 am on February 2, 2023, Thursday. This will be followed by the Grand People’s Parade. At 9 am, there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the “Sentro ng Patanghal na Sining,” a legacy of the Dimaguila administration.

       “After the groundbreaking ceremony, we will have a press conference where our media friends will get the opportunity to hear the plans of our local government officials led by Mayor Arman, Vice Mayor Gel and Cong. Len,” said Biñan City Information Officer Roman E. Carencia, adding that this will be held at Sentrong Pangkultura ng Biñan at around 9:30 am.

Festivities resume in the afternoon at 4 pm with a Thanksgiving Mass at the San Isidro Labrador Diocesan Shrine. This will be followed by a Thanksgiving Dinner which will be held at the Historic Alberto Mansion. It will carry the theme “Parangal sa mga Nagtatanging Aklatan at Katiwala ng mga Aklatan sa Lungsod” and will have the new National Commission for Culture and the Arts Chairman Victorino M. Manalo as guest of honor.

Plaza Rizal Inauguration

The highlight of the first day’s activities is the inauguration of Plaza Rizal with Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Jose L. Acuzar as special guest. The event will also have the “Serenata sa Plaza Rizal” which will feature The Manila Philharmonic Orchestra.

       “The inauguration of Plaza Rizal will definitely draw much attention from both local residents and tourists as it hopes to rekindle the values and ideas that we have come to associate with our National Hero Jose Rizal,” explained Rep. Alonte.

       The second day on February 3, 2023 Friday, will celebrate Binan’s 78th Liberation Day. It will start at 6 am with the “Art in Public Spaces: Pot Painting Competition” at Plaza Rizal. This will be followed by the “Pasasalamat sa mga Beteranong Biñanense” which will be held at Plaza Rizal.

       The highlight of the second day’s activities is the Unveiling of the Galing Pook Award Marker which will be led by the Galing Pook Foundation at Plaza Rizal. This will be followed by the 3rd Biñan City Sining Musikahan: Drum and Lyre Band Competition also at Plaza Rizal. At 1 pm, there will be a Film Viewing of “Triangle of Sadness” at Southwoods Mall Cinema 1.

       The second day’s celebration will end with the Araw ng Biñan 2023 Concert at Evangelista Bridge at 8 p.m. Scheduled to perform are Nobita, Adie, Sheryn Regis and Petite. Biñanense artists Liana Castillo of The Clash, Led & Keka, and the Artistang Biñanense Scholars will also have the opportunity to showcase their talent.

National Arts Month

The third and last day of celebration on February 4, 2023 on Saturday will commemorate Biñan’s 276th Founding Anniversary. The events scheduled for the day will kick off at 6 am with Serbisyong Arman Dental Health Caravan at the San Vicente Covered Court and Serbisyong Arman Mega Job Fair at Pavilion Mall.

       Scheduled for 9 am is the 6th Biñan National Choral Competition which will be held at the Biñan City Auditorium where 10 finalists from various towns will be competing. These 10 finalists were chosen from the 22 groups who participated in the preliminary rounds.

       At 3 pm, Pangasinan Rep. Christopher V. De Venecia will grace the “Pagkilala sa mga Manggagawa ng Museo ng Timog Katagalugan,” at the Sentrong Pangkultura ng Biñan. Biñan City Culture, History, Arts and Tourism Office (BCHATO) Head Dr. BJ Borja will serve as president of the Southern Luzon Association of Museums (SLAM) for three years. The three LGU-owned public museums are SLAM affiliated – Biñan City Museum, School of Rizal Site and Museum and Historic Alberto Mansion. Winding down the three-day celebration will be the 5th Biñan Folk Dance Festival which will be held in Plaza Rizal.

       “It is going to be an exciting three-day celebration for the City of Biñan and we would like to invite you all to join us in giving thanks for the blessings that our city has received,” Rep. Alonte concluded.

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