It was a day of pomp and ceremony.
Finally, after one hundred fifty-eight years, the people of Isabela enthroned Queen Isabella II of Spain in her place of honor in the front and center of the sprawling eight hectare compound of the Isabela Provincial Capitol, the province’s seat of power.
Basking in the glory of the province’s rich cultural heritage and taking great pride in her immense agricultural prowess, the people of Isabela led by Governor Faustino Dy III and Vice Governor Tonypet Albano celebrated the province’s 158th Founding Anniversary, focusing on the theme “Isabela: ang pagsibol ng bagong sentro ng AGRIkultura”.
DILG Secretary Mar A. Roxas, Belgian Ambassador Roland Van Remoortele and former senator and currently Climate Change Commissioner Heherson Alvarez led other dignitaries in gracing the historic occasion highlighted by the unveiling of the Queen Isabela II monument and the inauguration of the Queen Isabela Park. The memorial is a majestic and elaborate work of art painstakingly fashioned by hand by Joel Pragas, one of the best and most prolific artists ever to grace Isabela’s local art scene.
The Park was built in honor of Queen Isabella II of Spain after whom the province of Isabela was named through a royal decree issued by the King of Spain on May 1, 1856. It’s a magnificent megastructure which includes a colossal amphitheatre designed to serve as venue for the leisure, cultural and tourism activities of the province. It features eco-friendly and self-sustaining green design, while the rear portion has a landscaped lagoon with natural spring water.
“Ang pagdiriwang ngayong taon ay lubhang makahulugan sa atin pong lalawigan sapagkat ngayon po natin nakita ang kaganapan ng isang pangarap, ang isang liwasan na para sa lahat, para sa Isabeleño at para sa ating mga bisita, ang Queen Isabela Park.” Dy said in his first ever speech in the province’s latest landmark.“Ang magandang liwasan na ito ay hugis bilog na sumasagisag sa walang tigil na pagsulong ng atin pong lalawigan. Ang waring mga hagdan-hagdang lupang upuan na nakapalibot dito ay simbolo na mayroong pag-angat ng buhay ng ating mga mamamayan lalo na ng ating mga magbubukid - ang tahimik nating mga bayani sa kanayunan,”he said as he lavished Isabela farmers with praises.
Top agriculture officials of the country attribute Isabela’s outstanding performance in rice and corn production to the provincial government’s immense support to small farmers.
“Mabuhay ang Isabela! Happy Anniversary Isabela!” exclaimed keynote speaker DILG Mar Roxas, a few minutes after he led the unveiling of the monument. He also lauded Isabela officials for harnessing the province’s supremacy in agriculture while engaging in cultural development initiatives, thus the distinction as the country’s emerging center of agriculture.
In September 2013, Isabela was build as City of Charm to the Philippines’ Country of Honor during the 10th China-ASEAN Exposition in Nanning, China.
Dy envisions the park as a “center for the Isabeleños creative pursuits”and a venue that will inspire the “full flowering of the arts and the flourish of our culture.”
“As repositories of the majority and nobility of our race, we offer our unshakeable faith in the glory of our history and the immense possibilities of our desired future,” he said.