Blossoming Bago


Heading toward its sixth decade of cityhood, Bago continues to blossom with the gains and milestones it has made and the vibrance it has attained.

The successes and challenges hurdled by the city as well as the visions and goals it is pursuing are reflected in the theme of its Charter Day celebration: “58 Years of Cityhood: Greener Horizons, Empowered Communities and Service Excellence.”

Mayor Nicholas Yulo at the opening ceremony of the Agro-Industrial, Cultural and Educational Trade Fair at Bantayan Park on Feb. 12, said the Charter Day anniversary serves as an occasion “to celebrate whatever gains we had through the years.”

Bago City officials led by Mayor Nicholas Yulo and Vice Mayor Ramon Torres during the flag raising at the General Juan Araneta Monument to mark the 58th Charter Day of Bago on Feb. 19. | PIO photo

The mayor led officials, with Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, Vice Mayor Ramon Torres and Board Member Martin Torres at the opening of the trade fair.

He called the celebration “a tribute to the Bagonhons for helping the city government grow and expand to become a progressive city.”

The people of the city deserve to enjoy considering that they have been out partners in the development of the city, he said.

At the same time, he recognized and underscored the need for an involved and empowered citizenry, without which, he added, “we cannot proceed toward progress.”

The mayor also emphasized that for meaningful development to take place, it should be inclusive and sustainable.

Reiterating the significance of the Charter day anniversary theme, Yulo said officials are doing their best in performing their functions as “we owe it to our people to constantly give them excellent public service.”

In the morning of Feb. 19, the Charter Day, the mayor and vice mayor led the flag-raising ceremony held in front of the Gen. Juan Araneta Monument.

A grand civic-military parade followed the anniversary morning rites.

Main events in the celebration included the trade fair, the Gawad Bagonhons program, the Diwata sang Bago pageant, the Babaylan Festival street dance and stage performances as well as other Inter-barangay/cluster competitions (see related stories, including Arts Month highlight).

Other than the highlight activities, pre- and post-Charter Day activities were held to make its month-long celebration enjoyable for Bagonhons and their guests.

An electrifying performance by iconic singers Sarah Geronimo and Bamboo | Bago PIO photo

Activities were held daily for various sectors in the community – from educators to students and community youth, farmers and fisherfolk, city employees, home owners and OFW families, among others.

Special events held included a free cataract operation program, a farmers’ market weekend, a job fair and a bazaar.

Fitness and wellness enthusiasts had their share of fun through the Mayor’s 10-ball billiards competition, the mountain bike expedition and the zumba party.

Nightly entertainment shows and concerts were featured at Bantayan Park capped by the free grand anniversary concert on Feb. 19 and the culminating night fireworks. The anniversary concert featured iconic performers singers Sarah Geronimo and Bamboo Mañalac, a top rock artist.

All these activities were really meant for the Bagonhons to enjoy, the mayor said as he reiterated what apparently encompasses the spirit of the city’s blossoming era, “All together, we will continue to say, ‘Go Bago.’” | Details from City Bridge Newsletter/PIO

The Bago City Junior League Softball team players, who bagged the championship trophy during the 2023 Junior League World Series in Kirkland, Washington, USA, were the awardees for sports in the 17th Gawad Bagonhon awarding ceremony Feb. 18. | Bago PIO photo

Outstanding Bagonhons cited

The Junior League Softball World Series Champion team from Bago City led individuals and business institutions who were honored as Outstanding Bagonhons this year.

The 17th Gawad Bagonhon Awarding Ceremony was held as part of the city’s 58th Charter Day celebration.

The awards program was held at the Manuel Y. Torres Memorial Coliseum and Cultural Center on Feb. 18.

The Bago Softball Team composed of students of Ramon Torres National High School, which represented the Philippines and Asia-Pacific, swept all its matches against the best teams in Europe-Africa, Latin America, Canada and various regions in the United States to clinch the World Series title.

The World Series was held in Kirkland, Washington on July 30-Aug. 5 last year.

The victory gave the Philippines its first JLSWS title in 20 years.

Also cited for his sports performance was globally-ranked welterweight boxer Joepher Montaño, who is rated No. 2 in his weight division in the country. The Bagoeño boxer is based in Dubai.

Among the individual awardees were top performers in national licensure exams, international services and various professions.

They are – for licensure exam topnotchers – Donnabelle Fernandez, Jhio Jan Navarro, Jon Marc C Torres, Jannah Kyra Javelona and Herach Lee Barino Gelveleo.

Lawyer Jose Alvin Gonzaga was cited for meritorious efforts in international services.

Edna Callejas Mijares was recognized in the field of Chemistry and Agriculture, Engr. Jeffrey Mijares in Chemical Engineering and Waste Management; and Dr. Ma.  Mercedes Planta (academe).

Also honored were:

Business (Corporation) Category

Distileria Bago Inc., M & J Fabrication and Installation Inc., Mercury Drug Corporation, Linde Philippines (South) Inc., Ginebra San Miguel Inc., First Balfour Inc., BDO Unibank, Inc., Makran Trading & Development Corporation, Personal Collection Direct Selling Inc. and Forest Lake Development Inc;

Business (Single Proprietorship) Category

Mel Grace Sedonio (Sedonio Grocery Store), Gresilda G. Mirhan (Golden Hope Marketing), Juanito Ang (Sunfresh Enterprises), Albert Lee Anida (Jet-Jet Meat Shop), Ricardo Guevarra (Four SG Enterprises), Nelcis Estopa (Estopa Meat Shop), Aiza Jane  Catalbas (Catalbas Meat Shop), Ma. Lourdes Tayongtong Charpete (General Merchandise) Josephine Locsin (Tumandok Crafts Industries) and  Ma. Teresa Fernandez (Maria Luisa Agri Venture).

Real Property (Corporation) Category

Distileria Bago Inc., Central Negros Power Reliability Inc., Philbev Realty Corporation, Yusay Realty Development Corporation, Donato C. Cruz. Trading Corporation, Energy Development Corporation, M.R.A. & Son, Incorporated, Asian Alcohol Corporation, Bacphil Planters Fertilizers Corporation and Krush Rock Corporation.

Real Property (Single Proprietorship) Category

Wilford Sy, Ma. Teresa Bongco, Eileen Montinola, Dr. Nelly Antigua, Atty. Ramon Gonzaga Jr., Michelle Jalandoni, Corazon Sevilleno, Juanito King, Editha Ejastro and Roland Avila.

This year’s Agro-Industrial, Cultural and Educational Trade Fair Agro Booth champion is Barangay Malingin. | PIO photo

Cluster 4 tops Babaylan tilt; Malingin has best booth

Performers of Barangays Don Jorge Araneta, Alianza, Caridad and Malingin – representing Cluster 4 – topped the Babaylan Festival Street Dance and Stage Competition held on Feb. 19.

The competition – with the stage performances held at the Manuel Y. Torres Memorial Coliseum – was a highlight of the Charter Day celebration on Feb. 19.

Placing second was Cluster 1 (Barangays Ma-ao, Ilijan, Binubuhan and Mailum).

Third placer was Cluster 6 (Lag-asan, Poblacion, Pacol and Bagroy) with Cluster 2 (Calumangan, Bacong, Sagasa and Dulao) rounding up the Top Four.

Cluster 4 also won the Best in Binalaybay award in the competition held during the Babaylan tribes’ stage competition.

The champion cluster received P50,000 while the runners-up got P30,000, P25,000 and P15,000, respectively.


Barangay Malingin won the Best Agro Booth prize in the Agro-Industrial, Cultural and Educational Trade Fair, which opened on Feb. 12.

Caridad, Busay, Lag-asan and Poblacion were adjudged second to fifth, respectively.

Malingin also took the special award for Best in Environmental Practices while Busay posted the highest sales among the Barangay booths.


Barangays Sagasa, Busay, Busay Lag-asan, and Binubuhan were declared champions in the Kabahin Ka Clean-and-Green Contest.

The competition, held among 24 barangays in the city, was divided into four areas – lowland south, lowland north, coastal and city center and upland.

Second placers were Atipuluan, Abuanan, Calumangan and Mailum with Bagroy, Malingin, Poblacion and Ilijan adjudged third.

Diwata sang Bago 2024 Tisha Alyanna Perocho (center), Diwata sang Bago Ecotourism Akeisha Nicole Nuarin (2nd from left), and Diwata sang Bago Agritourism Arianne Maree Arellano (2nd from right), with first runner-up Kathlea Paris (left) and second runner-up Alexa Grace Famoso. | Bago PIO photos

Ma-ao majesty in pageants

Tisha Alyanna Perocho of Barangay Ma-ao was crowned Diwata sang Bago in the pageant held on Feb. 16.

She succeeds the 2023 titleholder, Stephanie Kyle Salimbot of Barangay Taloc.

Nicole Nuarin was declared Diwata sang Bago Ecotourism and Adrianne Maree Arellano, Diwata sang Bago Agritourism.

Kathlea Paris and Alexa Grace Famoso were named first and second runners-up, respectively.

Also taking honors for Ma-ao was Puma Cachumbo Espeleta, who was selected Fantasia sang Bago in the LGBTQ+ community pageant held on Feb. 18.

Barangay Sampinit’s Frizzy Duhaylungsod and Busay’s Flo Edubos were named first and second runners-up, respectively.

Nyler Duke Villanueva (Tabuanan) and Chrizzy Montaño (Poblacion) were third and fourth runners-up.

In the Feb. 11 youth night, Henry Finch of Cluster 5 and Michaela Gumban of Cluster 1 were crowned Mr. & Ms. Sangguniamg Kabataan.

Winners in the ‘Kurit sa Tadyaw’ art contest

Arts Month in Bago

‘Humay – Kalamay’ will be the focus of the ‘Sugilanon sa Barangay’, the culminating activity of the National Arts Month celebration in Bago City.

The short film festival will be held at Bago City College on Feb. 29 starting 1 p.m.

Sugilanon is an annual inter-barangay short film showcase started in 2021 as a highlight of the Baylanan Arts Festival, which ends the local celebration of the February National Arts Month.

It is part of the post-Charter Day events of Bago City.

City Tourism Officer Mae Fortus said this year’s event pays tribute to the local rice and sugar industries and how they have helped shape the Bago communities.

The visual shows also focus on community history, folklore and way of life.

Six films, produced by four clusters of the city’s 24 barangays, will be shown during the festival.

Sugilanon, Fortus said, is part of the city’s effort to create a digital library on the various facets of the city’s history, including culture, art and heritage.

Earlier, on Feb. 5, the Art on the Park ‘Kurit sa Tadyaw’ competition was held as a highlight of the opening of the Arts Month celebration.

Winners in the jar-painting contest were Albert Magnanua of Barangay Ilijan, first; JB Maridavle (Caridad), second, and Julienne Castillo (Calumangan), third. | AVDC