Yes folks, this year our beloved town of Baler will be celebrating its quadricentennial year. Or to put it more accurately, 400 years since the arrival of the Spanish priest Fray Blas Palomino and seven other Franciscan brothers on our shores. This was the first authenticated settlement of Baler by the Spanish so it’s basically accepted as Baler’s foundation day. According to Poppo Olag, Fray Esteban Ortis and Fray Juan de Porras already reconnoitered the place in 1578 but the natives probably didn’t notice. But before our priest ancestors “discovered” the surfing waters of Baler, it was already a thriving community. Archeological digs in the now Castillo area revealed artifacts that dates as far back as the 13th century. Visit Museo de Baler for the skeleton evidence. So really, Baler is older than 400 years.
But let’s join in the celebration. It’s more romantic to have a birthday. In line with this President Arroyo issued Proclamation 1696, declaring 2009 as the Year of Baler and instructing different agencies to celebrate it. If those text messages regarding Ruffa Gutierrez calling Baler “uncivilized” are true, then our tiny uncivilized place is up for a year of celebrating. The highlight of the event would be the expected visit of His Majesty Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain on June 30 “the actual foundation date of Baler”, according to this article. I wonder where the writer got his info. After that, Baler will be finally declared as civilized.
Happy 400 years everyone! Here’s to 400 more years of existence!