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Lions Club

Md 301-District C
Club Number:023629
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Page created at2003-08-11
and Last updated at:2005-10-13.



         Sturdy, solid and phenomenal even the whole world over, it was only a big limestone rock formation.

        However, some residents and travelers noticed that it had a strange resemblance to a large lion head with a flowing mane.  No one knows how it came to be so but one thing sure is that it was the varied forces of nature and weathering that first shaped and created the lion head.


        It was, then, a natural consequence that the rock became a desirable figure for the Baguio Lions to lay claim, improve and develop it into an imposing landmark.


        Many people are associated and involved with the project because it was club endeavor but prominent names stand out.  Foremost of these are Lion Luis ?Lardi? Lardizabal who was then the city mayor and then incumbent Lion President Mauro ?Mar? Leonen as it was during his term in 1968 that the project was conceived.


        Informants, former Host Club members, said work started as early as June or July 1968 but was stopped the following year.


        It was gathered that an optician in the person of Dr. Bernardo B. Suarez of the popular Suarez Optometric  Clinic was commissioned to undertake the project.  Dr. Suarez who had his clinic  at the back of the present Plaza Theater dabbled as vases used as backdrops for movies aside from making paper mache props and pieces of sculpture for movie companies in Manila.  Because of some problems, Dr. Suarez and his workmen were reportedly taken out of the job sometime in early 1970 though it was unfinished.


        Earnest work on the boulder to form it into the Lion Head was initiated by Robert John ?Bob? Webber when he assumed as club president for 1970 ? 1971 and continued as he went on to become District Governor for 1971 ? 1972.


        Work crews and engineers from his mining firm helped in the clearing and ground preparation while Reynaldo Lopez Nauyac, a famous Ifugao woodcarver from Asin, did the finishing touches until it was completed in 1972.


        The Lions Head Welcome landmark was completed under the Presidency of Lion ?Pete? Claravall but was finally unveiled after a paint job in 1972 by Moises Cating, and his Vice-presidents David Borja and Arturo Santiago.


        From its original black color, the Lion Head had undergone various paint jobs from the golden black, to brownish with white face and even a bright yellow ochre all over, only to return to the original golden black coat.


        The 40 foot, 4 ? storey high statue also had it share of woe when the killer quake struck on July 16, 1990.  Its visage had been damaged and to make matters worse, it was even vandalized.  The members of the Lions Club were not disheartened and give it a facelift.


        The monument?s restoration was accomplished by Manuel Moyamoy, a public works and ethnic arts contractor in the city.  The sculptural landmark was reconstructed under the auspices of Alfredo Delos Santos, Gloria Vergara, and Peter Go, all key figures of the Club.


        The Lion Head is only one of the many structures that Baguio Lions constructed in the city which have become major landmarks, tourist attractions or useful public structures.  Many people have benefited from such projects prompting the city council to pass a resolution on June 20, 1973 ??to take official recognition of the contributions of the Lions Club of Baguio ? and commend ? its officers and members for their display of civic spirit and for leadership in environmental regeneration.?


        Aside from the lion head and the Lions Clubhouse which has become a major venue for public gatherings whether private or government sponsored, others mentioned in the resolution are the Filipino ? Japanese Friendship Garden (below UP Baguio); the sheds along Harrison Road, near the Baguio General Hospital (BGH) and at Aurora Hill; the Melvin Jones Grandstand; the tryllon near the Baguio city National High School; the Police Outposts at Kennon Road, Lucban, Pacdal, Governor Pack Road, and Mines View Park; the flagpoles at Baguio Athletic Bowl, Philippine Military Academy and Loakan Airport and also the paneling of the Nursery at the BGH among others.


        Some of these structures have stood the test of time while there are also those that have been replaced by new ones. 


        The Tryllon has since been flattened because it was traffic hazard.  The Melvin Jones Grandstand was torn down by the Tourism Department and replaced by a more massive structure.  Gone also are the distinctive trash receptacles and some of the police checkpoints or outposts as either the city government or other civic groups pitched in their share for the betterment of the city.


        Many may claim it is easy to make structures ? cement, rocks, steel and money to spare.  For the Lions though, it is more of the personal effort and time spent, the special care and responsiveness of answering a felt need of the community which make their projects significant ? that gives value to their endeavors.