Melecio Balberde

The Community Affairs and Public Information Office, Province of Iloilo, April 8, 2011

In observing its 110th foundation anniversary, the Province of Iloilo will honor the municipality of Pavia and four individuals for their invaluable contribution to the preservation and promotion of Ilonggo culture, Gov. Arthur Defensor announced.

The governor identified the other awardees as broadcaster Herman Basbaño of Bombo Radyo Philippines, dance choreographer Edwin Duero, author Dr. Lucila Hosillos and arnis instructor Melecio Balberde.

They will each receive Plaques of Recognition from Gov. Arthur Defensor during the Fellowship Night on April 11 marking the 110th anniversary of the provincehood of Iloilo which will be held at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol lobby.

Their selection, done by a committee that the governor created under Executive Order No. 36 and chaired by Board Member Demy Sonza, was anchored on the theme of the celebration, Kulturang Pinanubli, Dapat Ikabuhi.

The Municipality of Pavia will be honored for launching in 1973 the first municipal-based tourism event, the Carabao-Carroza Race, that planted the seed of tourism development in the province of Iloilo.

Initiated by then Mayor Nelson Gumban and then Tourism Director Rudy Claparols, it is held every May 3, a day before the municipal fiesta. The event treats visitors and guests with the versatility, endurance and strength of carabaos.

Basbaño will be awarded for initiating the Ilonggo Music Festival in 1986 that showcased the best of Ilonggo music and musical talents. While the project has since been discontinued, it was credited for the discovery of various musical talents.

Basbaño, now Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the AM Division of Bombo Radyo, launched the project when he was president of the Iloilo Press Club, which was later assumed by the network and renamed it Pamaskua Musika sang Bombo.

Duero will be cited for documenting and showcasing the Hinilawod, Panay’s longest epic through the Dagyaw Theater and Dance Company which he took to performances around the world, and has received a lot of outstanding reviews.

His work brought Hinilawod to the attention of the audiences in the Performance Tour of Japan, the Bangkok International Arts Festival, the Midosuji Parade in Osaka, Japan, and the World Exposition in Seville, Spain, among other international shows.

While she was educated in the United States, Hosillos never forgot her native tongue Hiligaynon and advocated for its use through the Ilonggo Language and Literature Foundation Inc. , a work that earned her the award.

Last year, she donated her archival collection to the Iloilo Provincial Library and Archives, which consists of her own books, books by other authors, congress papers, anthologies, magazines and journals, among other valuable documents.

Balberde, founder of the Combative and Sportive Arnis System in 2007, will be honored for advancing and popularizing Arnis, the Filipino Martial Arts, in its authentic form that led to the appreciation of the self-defense system by the current generation.

He documented and studied several Arnis systems in Panay Island and passed these on to his students for preservation. The Department of Education is now adopting Balberde’s ystem in promoting Arnis among the elementary pupils and high school students.

The committee the selected the awardees included Provincial Tourism Officer Gilbert Marin, Provincial Librarian Noemi Viejo, Provincial Archivist Carlos Sira, and Community Affairs and Public Information Officer Nereo Lujan.

(Capitol News)