, DECEMBER 24, 2007 (OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY, MALACANANG) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurated today the Nayong Pilipino Complex here to become the country’s center of living cultural, historical and custom heritage.

The President cut the ribbon that signified the formal opening of the Nayong Pilipino sa Clark Expo (NPCE) at the Colonial Plaza in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.

With the opening’s December theme dubbed as “Pasko Sa Nayon: Nagniningning and Pag-asa sa Kabila ng Lahat,” she toured the cultural theme park featuring the replica of the Barasoain Church, the Heroes’ Plaza and the Ifugao Village.

Barasoain Church played a very important role in Philippine history. It was the seat of the Philippine Revolutionary Congress where the Malolos Constitution was drafted and the inauguration of the Philippine Republic on Jan. 25, 1899 was held. Within the church and corridor areas are religious and historical artifacts on display.

The Heroes’ Plaza replicates the houses of national heroes and showcases life in the revolutionary period, where Jose Rizal, Emilio Aguinaldo and Apolinario Mabini were important figures.

The President listened elatedly to a Muslim’s ADHAN interpreted by Ustadz Ali Amer and watched delightedly the dance of the TUKON Kalinga dancers.

During the inaugural program, the President distributed initial 50 gift packs worth P250 each which contained rice, noodles, canned goods to 50 children from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) affiliated institutions.

The children also received from the President cash gift worth P100 each.

The 50 DSWD children-recipients were part of the 400 children and 600 indigent families from its affiliated institutions, including the Haven for Children, Tarlac Lingap Center, Home for the Kids of Nueva Ecija and several other institutions.

Atty. Charito L. Planas, NPCE executive director, thanked the President for being part of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation’s objective that aimed to reopen this cultural theme park in Clark Expo Freeport Zone after its original park in Pasay City was closed several years ago.

Planas said that there will be free admission to the public from Dec. 22, 2007 to February 2008 and after this date, a simple token fee will be charged to the public ranging between P5 and P10.

The park is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with Sunday Mass at 9:30 a.m. only.

The Nayong Pilipino sa Clark Expo is a fully-developed cultural theme park with all its attractions that include a museum, native houses, arts and crafts centers of the Northen and Southern Philippines, restaurants, meditation gardens and special features for events, exhibits and cultural performances.

Other officials present were Tourism Undersecretary Cynthia Carreon and Pangasinan Congresswoman Rachel Arenas.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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