Arroyo visits Urdaneta park

Saturday, December 27, 2008
By Liway C. Manantan-Yparraguirre

URDANETA CITY -- The P4-million Urdaneta Plaza project being undertaken by the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCAA) is almost complete. 

On Friday morning, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo together with First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo visited and inspected the 2,000-square meter park fronting the new city hall here. 

The project is being undertaken in honor of Spanish navigator and priest Fray Andres de Urdaneta. 

The President was welcomed by Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Jr., Urdaneta Mayor Amadeo Perez Jr. and Mayors Vivien Villar of Sto. Tomas, Nonato Abrenica of Villasis, and Emma Chan of Pozorrubio. 

Already completed is the half size modern version of Urdaneta's ship with the monument of Fr. Urdaneta atop. 

Underneath the galleon will be a chapel, which will also as a gallery for artists from Northern Luzon. 

Mrs. Arroyo congratulated the officials and the people of this city "for their history and for their future." 

"I am very happy that as we end Fr. Urdaneta's 500th anniversary, we are seeing this masterpiece in the making. It is a masterpiece for Urdaneta City because of the work of four national artists," the President said. 

The park is scheduled to be finished in March 2009. President Arroyo said they will come back for its inauguration, which will be attended by the mayor of Ordizia City, Spain where Fr. Urdaneta was born. 

The cities of Urdaneta and Ordizia earlier forged a sisterhood agreement. The creation of the Urdaneta Park was first conceptualized during Mrs. Arroyo's state visit to Spain. 

"I congratulate Mayor Perez who was with us then. Because Ordizia is a sister city of Urdaneta, we shall be proud of the role of the Philippines in the international navigational history of the world. When Fray Urdaneta entered the Philippines to Mexico, the route he established became the established navigational route to cross the Pacific since then," Mrs. Arroyo added. 

Before the President went around the built Urdaneta galleon replica, the NCAA officials presented to her a scale model of the Urdaneta Park. 

From Urdaneta City, the President proceeded to the National Food Authority (NFA) Eastern Pangasinan warehouse. Thereat, Nicanor Rosario reported to her the accomplishment of his office in relation with the implementation of the Palay procurement program at his area of responsibility. 

Before proceeding to Baguio City, President Arroyo and her entourage had lunch at Maturina's in Dagupan City, her favorite restaurant in Pangasinan which serves inihaw na Bonuan bangus and pinakbet.