Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando is joined by Fifth District Board Member Ricky Roque (on his right) and Bulacan Provincial Government department heads, Provincial Administrator Antonette Vasquez-Constantino (on his left), Special Assistant to the Governor Michael Angelo Lobrin and Katrina Bernardo-Balingit, of the Provincial Public Affairs Office; Eliseo Dela Cruz, Ph. D. of the Provincial History, Tourism, Arts and Culture Office (PHACTO) beside Roque and Police Col. (ret.) Rizalino Andaya, head of the Civil Security Unit during the 444th Bulacan Foundation Day on Aug. 15 in front of Marcelo H. Del Pilar’s monument in the Capitol. Contributed Photo

BULAKAN, Bulacan–The province of Bulacan observes a two-day Aug. 29 and 30 National Heroes’ Day non working holiday in celebration also of Marcelo H. Del Pilar’s 172nd BIrth Anniversary on Tuesday.

It is a nationwide non-working holiday on Monday for the National Heroes’ Day. 

For the third year since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, the annual Aug. 30 Del Pilar Day civic parade and program at his shrine in Sitio Cupang, Barangay San Nicolas which were attended by more than 1,000 members of multi-sectoral groups honoring the hero is again cancelled. 

Gov. Daniel Fernando on Aug. 16 issued Executive Order No. 258 declaring a non-working holiday in the entire province implementing Republic Act 7449, An Act Declaring every Aug. 30 Marcelo H. Del Pilar Day as a Non-Working Holiday for Bulacan. This law was passed on April 27, 1992.

Fernando will lead Vice Gov. Alexis Castro, Bulacan First District Rep. Danilo Domingo, League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Bulacan Chapter President Bocaue Mayor Eduardo “Jonjon” Villanueva, Bulakan Mayor Vergel Meneses and other officials in a simple wreath-laying ceremony before the monument of Del Pilar.

In a rainy and gloomy Del Pilar’s birth anniversary in 1985, the National Press Club (NPC) and the Bulacan Press Club (BPC) joined national and provincial government officials in bringing home the remains of the great propagandist and Father of Philippine Journalism to his birth place in Sitio Cupang. The people from the town and from all over the province flocked to the streets, hailed and rejoice as one the country’s greatest sons and the pride of the Bulakeño race has finally come home. 

Then National Press Club President, Former Undersecretary, Director of Presidential Task Force on Media Freedom and Responsibility Joel Sy-Egco with Carmela Reyes-Estrope, on his left, historian King Cortez, farther left,  the late Dino Balabo of Philippine Star, at his right and Isagani Giron of Bulacan Salinlahi with other Bulacan Press Club members during the Aug. 30, 2014 Marcelo Del Pilar Day at his shrine. Contributed photo 

On Tuesday, Bulacan will historically mark the Del Pilar Day as the country for the first time will observe on that day the National Press Freedom Day after former President Duterte signed April last year RA 116991 declaring the annual Marcelo Del Pilar Day as National Press Freedom Day.

Former Bulacan First District Rep. Jose Antonio “Jonathan” Sy-Alvarado authored the law in Congress after NPC and BPC including Metro Manila and Bulacan historians wrote to Alvarado and to Senator Joel Villanueva to pass the bill declaring the birth of the Father of Philippine Journalism as National Press Freedom Day. 

The Marcelo Del Pilar Day National Press Freedom Day was conceptualized on Aug. 30, 2014 Del Pilar Day traditional celebration of BPC officers and members in Reyes Compound in Cupang-Maysantol which was graced by then former NPC President and Presidential Task Force on Media Security Joel Sy-Egco including former BPC President Joey Munsayac. 

It was then organized by former BPC President, Inquirer Correspondent and NEWS CORE editor-in-chief Carmela Reyes-Estrope who is now the President of the Central Luzon Media Association. 

Del Pilar who used “Cupang,” “Plaridel,” pseudonyms among others wrote for and was the editor of La Solidaridad newspaper during the Philippine-Spanish revolution. He had also written numerous articles about the tyrants under Spanish regime particularly against the Spanish friars, “La Fraillocracia”. 

Historian King Cortez wrote that Del Pilar was the mastermind of Katipunan. 

Del Pilar was born in Sitio Cupang, Barangay San Nicolas on Aug. 30, 1850 and died of hunger and tuberculosis in Barcelona, Spain on July 4, 1896 while he was on self-exile running the La Solidaridad to continue to enlighten our ancestors of the oppression of the Spaniards. 

The 48 year old CLMA will plant “Cupang trees” in Gen. Gregorio Del Pilar Integrated School also in this town in honor of the greatest Filipino journalist of all times during the historical first ever celebration of the said Tuesday’s events.  

The Bulacan Press Club in its traditional luncheon-feast at Reyes Compound in Paliwas St. Barangay Cupang-Maysantol every Marcelo Del Pilar Day. Contributed photo

Cupang trees abound in the town during the time of Del Pilar, but for decades now, they were no longer seen around.

In a tribute and honor to Del Pilar, Estrope wants the trees to be grown again particularly for the children and the folks to see and enjoy. 

Cupang trees with scientific name Parkia Timoriana and is also known as P. Javanica is now one of the countries indIgenous trees. However it continue to abound in other places in Bulacan especially in the forest and watershed areas in Sierra Madre mountain range.

Liberato Sembrano, head of Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representative for the Dumagat in Bulacan which help maintain and protect the trees in the watershed areas said Cupang trees made up most of the forest. 

Cupang tree is one of the best Philippine plants use for reforestation because it strongly hold water, prevent soil erosion and give huge shades. It is fast growing and is sun loving and both sun and shade tolerant. 

CLMA officers and members will first offer their wreath in Plaridel’s monument before the tree planting activity.