The club that sent him to the Baguio Water District has now elected him to be its leader for 2023.
Jonathan Vergara, who twice sought a seat in the city council, will be the Baguio Apache chief in 2023.
Vergara was voted in by his fellow Apache members or Braves during the city’s oldest civic organization’s election and first regular meeting last Saturday, November 22, at the Newtown Hotel beating Paeng Ding, Lito Villanueva and Charlie Torres, all of them former presidents of local civic groups also.
Vergara is a former president of the Rotary Club of Baguio – North, while Ding and Villanueva were former presidents of Rotary Club of Baguio – Summer Capital. Torres was a former president and district governor of Lions Club.
In his speech, the youngest son of former city Rep. and mayor Bernardo Vergara, thanked the club for voting him as its incoming chief. “It was the Baguio Apache that sent me to the BWD and now I am elected as your incoming chief and for that I thank you,” said Vergara, an electrical engineer.
Vergara will follow Ray Olarte, the club’s incoming chief for 2022, who will assume the position on December 30 during the annual bonfire and turn-over ceremony for the outgoing to the incoming chief as well as the investiture of new members who served for one year or the peons.
Olarte, a restaurateur, will take over the role from Rommel Alcid, a businessman, who is the chief on a hold-over capacity due to the Covid-19 pandemic where activities of the club were mostly cancelled.
Founded in 1939 by two former mayors and two other Baguio boys most of them served in World War II, the Baguio Apache is the oldest civic organization in the city.
The acknowledged founders – siblings Francisco and Ricardo Paraan, Ernesto Bueno and Ricardo Chan – were members of Boy Scouts who loved having bonfires and singing. Their group later grew that included their contemporaries and who they played with in a game of basketball. The Paraans and Bueno fought in the Big War, one of them, Francisco, became a Baguio City Police chief, another an Air Force general, Bueno, and much later as mayors of the city. The other Paraan became a lawyer and a city councilor.
The two activities – singing and bonfire – were carried on and became a tradition of the Baguio Apache as the siblings, sons and even grandchildren of the original members joined the group.
During its 50th anniversary in 1989, the first chief was elected – former city councilor Leonides Bautista. From there, a chief has been named during the Apache’s annual bonfire. Named chiefs of the organization included: Reynaldo Bautista, Sr., Edgardo Nevada, Sonny San Pedro, Earl Tesoro, the late Arnel Delanela, the late Rey David, former city councilor Richard Carino, Art Bueno, Rocky Runez, Eric Picart, Bong Magsino, John Palaroan, Ricardo Chan, Jr., Angel Agustin, Jun Tabanda and former Youth Rep. and councilor Edgar Avila.
Vergara joined the BWD board in January last year replacing civic group representative Joanne Balderas, a dentist along with hotelier Kenneth So, who replaced fellow hotelier Peter Ng. The other members of the BWD board are chairperson lawyer Renato Rondez, Felino Lagman, the vice chair, and educator Sonia Daoas.