By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – The 150th birth anniversary of the youngest and Philippines’ first republic president General Emilio Aguinaldo, was commemorated and celebrated by the city officials and General Emilio Aguinaldo Foundation through a simple wreath-laying and program at the Aguinaldo Shrine, this city, on Friday.
Emilio Aguinaldo Suntay III, president of the Emilio Aguinaldo Foundation, said this is the first time that a descendant of Aguinaldo staged the celebration of the life of the former president in coordination with the city government.
Suntay III wishes to instill respect for the Filipino heroes who fought for the country’s freedom from the giant empires particularly Spain and the United States.
“By this program, we are giving respect to our forbearers for what they have done during the period when our country was colonized by oppressors, we ought to be the stewards of the legacies of our great grandfathers and great grandmothers for without them, we may never have become an independent and democratic country,” he furthered.
Suntay III encouraged the youth who were present during the program to look deeply into the history of the Philippines and understand the past as this will lead into better movements on how the future will be shaped.
Almost sentimental, Suntay III challenged present political leaders to become revolutionaries and protect what is rightfully owned by the Filipinos. He was referring to the Spratlys Island and other outcrops in the West Philippine Sea presently being occupied and developed by China.
“It is sad that our forbearers shed blood and life for our freedom, but now, look at what is happening, the government is giving away Spratlys Island, same as how we lost Sabah to Malaysia,” Suntay III said.
Aside from the foundation, Suntay III is also running the Emilio Aguinaldo Museum and Park located at Salud Mitra Barangay. The setting up of the Aguinaldo statue and museum in Baguio instead of in Kawit, Cavite is attributed to the late daughter of Gen. Aguinaldo, Cristina Suntay, who was a resident of Baguio. The museum was built in 1982.
The museum contains the old rocking chair of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the old big piano, the clothes used by the General and the first presidential table. Pictures clad in frames decorate the walls and some paintings too. The larger than life-sized statue of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo however remained standing and untouched despite the years. A replica of the original flag remains a reminiscing piece at the museum considered as one of its most precious pieces.