Issue of March 10, 2019
     
NEWS
Benguet
Ifugao
Kalinga
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2018
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
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1st Kennon Road Festival pays homage to its 4,000 builders
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

TAYAW -- The first Kennon Road Festival was launched last week to pay tribute to the builders of Kennon Road over a hundred years ago and also to ask for blessing and protection for people who would be using the road through the traditional rituals and the ecumenical mass held at Camp 1 Tollgate with Tuba Mayor Ignacio Rivera and Vice Mayor Clarita Sal-ongan gracing the occasion. -- Redjie Melvic Cawis

TUBA, Benguet – Amid its prevailing unsafe situation and close-open status due to ongoing rehabilitation works, barangays in this town hosting the historic shortest route to Baguio City and Cordillera provinces have launched the 1st “Kennon Road Festival”  from March 6 to 10.

The festival, according to Municipal Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Anabel Solano, is the town’s way of remembering and giving thanks to its architect, American Col. Lyman Kennon, and the more than 4,000 multi-national construction workers – most of them were Cordilleran stonewall builders from the different mountain provinces – who had shed sweat, blood, and lives to build and make the opening of Kennon Road to traffic in 1905 possible.

The highlight of the five-day celebration was a musical play entitled “The Making of Kennon Road,” performed by students of Evelio Javier Memorial National High School on March 7. Based on its title, the play consisted of a narration how Kennon Road came to be with words written and arranged into a musical presentation.

An exhibit of historical photo collection was mounted also on March 7 at Barangay Camp 3 multipurpose hall.

On March 8, the Color Fun Run was held starting from Camp 4 Elementary School up to the Camp 6 tollgate.

The public was also invited to join the spelunking at the Aran Cave at Twin Peaks, Camp 3 on March 9 and 10 and to the Ibaloy Heritage Quest Camp at Andolor, Barangay Tabaan Sur on March 9.

Other culminating activities on March 10 are the Makedsang Train Run from Dungon in Camp 1 up to the Ansagan circuit; Kennon Enduro Race from Camp 1 to Twin Peaks; and battle of the bands and awarding and closing program at the Twin Peaks NHS gym.

Aside from paying homage to it builders, Solano said the first Kennon Road Festival aims to impart knowledge on the road’s contribution in the locality and its neighboring municipalities; create awareness on the impact of culture and tourism in the local economy and develop a sense of pride to help promote local tourist attractions; and to support the possibility of joint efforts to build a resilient barangay interlocal system or the sharing of knowledge, efforts and resources within the six barangays of Kennon Road to achieve a bustling and progressive economy.

While once branded as one of the most dangerous highways in the Philippines, Tuba Mayor Ignacio Rivera is counting on Kennon Road’s improved conditions soon with the ongoing rehabilitation works of the Department of Public Works and Highways, which ordered its temporary closure in June 2018 due to falling rocks and eroded portions of the road wrought by nonstop rains.

“Kennon Road has gone through a lot of trials and challenges, starting in 1990 after the earthquake to the point when officials then wanted it permanently closed, but we prevailed under the term of then Pres. Fidel Ramos, because of its importance as the only shortest route that can be constructed in this areas,” Tuba Mayor Ignacio Rivera said after the kedot tan tayaw thanksgiving service that launched the festival on March 6.


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