Los Baños, Laguna - The special Science and Nature City of the Philippines will hold its annual Bañamos Festival on September 16-20, 2009. The event coincides with the 394th foundation anniversary of the town of Los Baños in Laguna.
The festival is spearheaded by Mayor Caesar P. Perez with the support of the Sangguniang Bayan, Los Baños Tourism Council led by Anthony Genuino and various agencies, civic groups, institutions and corporate sponsors.
Bañamos (“we bathe” in Spanish) commemorates the founding of the town whose name is derived from hot spring baths abundant in the area. The celebration also showcases local products, talents and beauties, and the townspeople’s pride of place in week-long festivities that include a civic parade, foundation anniversary program, Himigsikan battle of the bands, musical concerts, Miss Los Baños pageant, spa and wellness fair, Buko Pies Atbp and street dancing competition called Bayle de Kalye.
The festival promises lots of surprises to local and foreign tourists which will enable them to discover more about Los Baños said Prof. Roberto P. Cereno, Chairman of Bañamos 2009 Festival Program.
SPA AND WELLNESS HIGHLIGHTS - According to Los Baños Tourism Council Chairman Anthony Genuino, one of the highlight of the festival is the promotional sampling of its spa and wellness products and services on the duration of the festivities at the Paciano Rizal Park, Los Baños Municipal Hall compound. The daily fair is part of Bañamos Festival which will coincide on the celebration of the 394th foundation anniversary of this university town that was proclaimed as the “Special Science and Nature City of the Philippines”.
The fair showcases an array of therapeutic treatment ranging from the indigenous Filipino Hilot to Shiatsu Body works, to foot reflexology, hydrotherapy, head, back and facial massage. Booths will provide samples of locally made herbal oils, aromatherapy candles, health and beauty products.
The fair aims to promote spa and wellness at Los Baños’ OTOP under the Department of Trade and Industry’s One Town One Product Program. This is in recognition of the town’s historical place as the country’s first medical tourism town since the establishment of the Spanish colonial government’s Hospital de Agua Santa in 1590. The town’s name alludes to the hot spring baths abundant in the foot of Mount Makiling, an inactive volcano, a scientific and educational nature reserve, a critical watershed, a biodiversity conservation area, and now one of the key ecotourism destinations of the Philippines.
Commemoration of a colorful history and culture - Bañamos is Spanish for “we bathe”. The word appropriately traces the founding of the town during the Spanish period. The Franciscan Friars who were captivated by the abundance of hot springs and steam vents in the small settlement of Mainit set up public bathing places with spring water believed to be holy and to have curative effects. These baths were so popular that they attracted tourists from Manila and nearby provinces. This convinced the Spanish authorities to officially establish a town they called Los Baños or “the baths”.
Celebration of great natural wonders and local products - Los Baños is bounded by two natural geologic wonders. Mount Makiling and Laguna de Bay. These landforms afford fertile soil, clean air, potable water, and a rustic ambiance that influence and sustain the livelihood and lifestyle of residents. These fortunes further gave rise to popular indigenous products – buko pie, ornamental plants, souvenir items and various homemade foodstuffs.
A recognition of immense scientific talents - Los Baños is synonymous to advances in agricultural science and technology, recognized not only in the Southeast Asian region, but also worldwide. This Science and Nature City hosts educational and research institutions that offer opportunities for study visits or science appreciation and discovery to visitors.
A festivity of community spirit and pride of place – This is an occasion to demonstrate the strong social responsibility and cooperation values instilled in the citizenry of Los Baños. This is a chance to show off home-grown talents and beauties, a time for families and friends to get connected, as well as to bridge generation and socio-economic gaps through community-wide activities with the support and participation of government agencies, commercial establishments, civic associations and other private organizations and individuals. (NANI CORTEZ)