By Mariela Angella Oladive
The collaboration of the Iloilo City Government and the Florete Group of Companies has resulted in the transformation of one of the city’s historic landmark via the unveiling of the “Illumination of Sunburst Park” on November 28.
The project not only added a touch of holiday magic, but also paid homage to the rich history of the park.
The ceremonial lighting was attended by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas; lone district Rep. Julienne Baronda; Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon; Dr. Rogelio M. Florete Sr., chairman of Florete Group of Companies; Mr. Rogelio C. Florete Jr., President and CEO of Flo Water Resources Iloilo, Inc. & Florete Land, Inc.; Madame Imelda C. Florete, president of R. Florete Pawnshop; Ms. Margaret Ruth Florete, president and CEO of Bombo Radyo Philippines and Queenbank; Enrico Jacomille, director of Bombo Radyo Philippines; Dante Javellana, director of Queenbank; Iloilo City Councilors Sedfrey Cabaluna, Miguel Treñas, Urminico Baronda, Rudolf Jeffrey Ganzon; Ms. Raisa Treñas; SK Federation president Jelma Implica and other key figures.
In his message, Dr. Florete Sr. expressed gratitude for the invitation extended by Mayor Treñas even as he recounted the historical significance of Sunburst Park.
Located in front of the Iloilo Customs House along J. M. Basa Street, the park pays tribute to the US Army 40th Infantry “Sunburst” Division, a pivotal force in liberating Panay from Japanese occupation at the end of World War II.
Previously known as Plaza de Aduana, the park stands as a symbol of the enduring friendship between the Filipino people and the liberating forces.
“As we inaugurate the lighting of this park, gina-donate namon ang tanan nga materials nga amon ginbutang diri sa Iloilo (We donate all materials we have installed here). May this Christmas tree bring joy to everybody, and the Florete group extends Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” Dr. Florete announced.
The Illumination project featured a Christmas tree adorned with lights crafted from Capiz shells, directly sourced from the province of Capiz. This distinctive local touch underscores the Florete Group’s commitment to preserving regional heritage.
The lights cast a warm and inviting glow across Sunburst Park.
Underscoring the significance of the project, Mayor Treñas emphasized that the undertaking is more than just an aesthetic addition to the city, but a gesture of unity and celebration.
He lauded Mr. Florete as a trailblazer, recognizing his significant contributions to the Ilonggo community, from running a radio station to achieving nationwide recognition. He expressed pride in considering Mr. Florete as an icon of Iloilo City
“Subong nga gab-i madako gid ang akon pasalamat sa Florete Group kag sa tanan nga nagbulig. Ini kadtoan naman sang mga pumuluyo sa syudad. Ini ma-enjoy naman ang pumuluyo kay subong nga paskwa ginpasanag sang R. Florete Group ang Sunburst Park,” Mayor Treñas said. (Tonight, I thank Florete Group and to all those who helped. This is another attraction for the people of Iloilo City. Our people will enjoy once more because R Florete Group spruced up Sunburst Park)
The “Illumination of Sunburst Park” stands as a testament to the city’s dedication and the collective efforts of its residents in making a more vibrant holiday experience for all.
As the Sunburst Park springs to life, both locals and visitors have the opportunity to relish in the splendor of the newly illuminated park. This luminous spectacle is poised to become a cherished tradition for years to come.