|The PONCE descendants led by Aurora Ponce Gonzales (center) together with nephew Fernando Villaroman (2nd from left) and sons Jayjay (3rd from left) and Lito (3rd from right). Also in photo are the younger generation of the Ponce clan.|
Known for its exquisite crafts and the place of the first municipal elections in the Far East, Baliwag town is also the birthplace to one of the country’s national heroes that is Don Mariano Ponce.
Mariano Ponce was born on March 22, 1863 to Mariano Ponce Sr. and Maria Collantes delos Santos. He pursued his medical studies at the University of Sto. Tomas and finished it at the Universidad Central de Madrid in Spain. Mariano Ponce together with friends Marcelo H. Del Pilar and Dr. Jose Rizal, devoted his life in the service and freedom of his country.
In commemoration of his 149th birth anniversary, the Ponce kin led a week-long festivity which culminated on March 22 at the Event Center of SM City Baliwag. Former Councilor Jayjay Ponce, one of the descendants, spearheaded the event in partnership with the Baliwag Historical Society, National Historical Commission, Samahang Pangkasaysayan ng Bulacan (SAMPAKA) Municipal Tourism Council, Department of Education Bulacan and SM.
The event dubbed as “Pamanang Diwa ni Mariano Ponce” was participated by over a hundred Baliwageños who took part in different activities which included a Quiz Bee Competition, Poster Making, and On-the-spot painting contest. A Cook-off competition was also held featuring the local hero’s favorite delicacies. As Mariano Ponce is known to be the co-founder of La Solidaridad, youngsters in town prided in their hero’s talent and battled during the Essay Writing Contest.
Mall goers also had a rare opportunity to see Mariano Ponce’s life works in an exhibit which opened on March 17. It showcased an informative display of his contributions in Philippine revolution as well as photos of his journey in Japan.
From the senior to the youngest member of the Ponce clan, the festivity also served as an intimate gathering of his descendants. Leading the kin were the great great grand daughters, Aurora Ponce Gonzales and Pilar Bautista. Their children, Lito Ponce Gonzales, Michiko Gonzales, Maite Bautista, together with Fernando and Alfonso Villaroman likewise took pride in the celebrating the historic anniversary.
Present to celebrate were famous soprano Irma Ponce Enrile Potenciano as the guest of honor, Tourism Council Chair Sonia Estrella, Board Member Ferdie Estrella, historians Jaime Veneracion and Isagani Giron, cultural icon Bong Enriquez and Dr. Emerito Tiburcio, president of the Baliwag Historical Society.