By Edgardo J. Angara published at Manila Bulletin on August 19, 2007
BALER, AURORA — Today, we celebrate the founding anniversary of my hometown Baler in Aurora Province.
Baler and the rest of Aurora are associated with raw and rugged attractions, lushness and pristine beauty. Those who have visited this side of the Pacific would know that our coastline is one of our best attractions, offering variety in the character and quality of its beaches.
Having spent my childhood in Baler, I grew up in this flourishing environment of rich forests, immense tracts of fertile land and vast coasts teeming with aquatic life. This is where I learned to truly appreciate the land.
Over the last few days, we inaugurated key development projects in Baler and Casiguran in the areas of agriculture, education and skills training, livelihood, infrastructure, and culture and history.
The Baler Coco Fiber Processing Plant makes it possible to turn coco husk into coco fiber and coco peat, which will provide additional livelihood to coconut farmers. The Aurora Technological Institute (ATI) will create a pool of skilled workers through technical and vocational programs which include Personal Computer Operation, Computer Hardware Servicing, Consumer Electronics, Hotel and Restaurant Management, and Shielded Metal Arc Welding. The Coffee Research and Development Center supports coffee development in Aurora, one of the top producers of coffee beans in the country, through training and research.
The 321-hectare Mariculture Park in Casiguran promotes fish cage farming to culture milkfish and other economically viable species such as grouper, siganids, and snapper, thereby sustaining our seas’ productivity and arresting resource depletion.
We also unveiled a bronze sculpture of Manuel L. Quezon in front of the Museo de Baler, to pay tribute to a great President and our province’s pride and joy. The kubo where he was born and spent his early years was refurbished into a museum shop which sells the finest sabutan handicrafts unique to Aurora.
Baler and the rest of Aurora’s bountiful resources and beautiful people prove its potential for growth and development. Through these development efforts, we look forward to watching the growth of Aurora as a model for rural development and a province coming to its own.