Leonora San Agustin, Cecile Afable, and Virginia De Guia are three of the most remarkable women who bravely fought for the beauty of the City of Pines and contributed a lot to the people of Baguio during their time. Now, to give respect to these memorable women, local artist Wigan carved the images of the three witches to the pine tree standing in front of the Baguio Museum. Remembering the deeds of San Agustin, Afable, and De Guia are important especially to the youth because they will be responsible for the City of Baguio in the future. The three women are dubbed as the “three witches of Baguio” because they became vocal critics of some government projects such as the Marcos Highway flyover.

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Leonora San Agustin is remembered as one of the first  Filipina chemical engineers. A truly remarkable achievement that inspired multiple women to venture into engineering. In addition, San Agustin was also a teacher and she operated the Baguio Museum until her death. Her thoughts on the “uglification” of the City of Pines expresses her disappointment of the poor maintenance of the City of Pines.

Cecile Afable was once Baguio Midland Courier’s long time editor-in-chief. As a descendant of Mateo Carino, the former owner of what we know today as Baguio City, Afable innately has the love for the City of Pines. Thus, she became one of the advocates of environment protection especially during the maintenance of the Busol watershed and other forested areas in Baguio City.

Virginia De Guia was awarded as one of the Outstanding Centennial Women Leaders of the city especially in the field of public service. She was also once an actress under the screen name Lydia Leynes. One of the highlights of her career was becoming the first acting Lady Mayor of the City of Pines. Truly, De Guia was an epitome of empowered women, a model for environmental advocates, and overall an inspiration to the people of Baguio.

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The Sculpture of the Three Witches of Baguio if found at the Baguio Museum

These women are an inspiration for everyone to take care and preserve the beauty of Baguio City. Their genuine love for Baguio City and their courage is an inspiration to all. 

The “three witches” of Baguio showed their genuine love for the City of Pines. How about you? How do you show your love for Baguio City? Share your them via the comment section below. 

 

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  1. Stella Maria de Guia

    The Baguio Museum Board contracted the services of Warren Wigan Lopez Nauyac (a Museum friend and volunteer), to carve the “women totem pole” at the grounds of the Baguio Museum, to honor the women who played major roles in the development of the Baguio Mountain Provinces Museum now known as the Baguio Museum. These women included the “three witches” Leonora San Agustin (curator from 1985 to 2011), Virginia de Guia (piloted the Museum of Igolot Culture in the 1950’s and whose collections are still part of the museum) and Cecile Afable (member of the first Board of the Museum). The totem pole will also include Geraldine “Gerry” Hamada, the first woman curator of the Museum in 1982.
    The other “totem pole” to be carved by Ernesto Dul-ang, a world renowned “resident” wood carver of the Baguio Museum, will include the four Mayors who played major roles in the “reconstruction” of the museum after the earthquake: Mayors Mauricio Domogan, Bernardo Vergara, Braulio Yaranon and Peter Rey Bautista. Mayor Domogan played a major role in the reconstruction of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors of the museum. The formal inauguration of the “totem poles” will be done this year.

    1. baguiocityguide
      baguiocityguideListing Owner

      Thank you so much for these additional information mam Stella. We are truly grateful!

  2. Sigrun Campos-Engel

    And I had the honor of knowing these three great woman of Baguio. Leonie was like a mother , sister and friend for me. I loved and respected her deeply.

    1. baguiocityguide
      baguiocityguideListing Owner

      Thank you for your comment, your testament such as this definitely honor their memories and the inspiration that they are radiating until today.

  3. Rowena R. Boquiren

    Congratulations, this is a best input to keep the heritage of Baguio protected and promoted. As former Executive Director of the Baguio Historical Society when the group was still intact, I had the pleasure of working incessantly with Madam Leonie to have the settlement histories of willing barangay leaders to be done. The support and inspiration of Madam Gene and Auntie Cecile was always ready too. How my kumare Nela Florendo and I enjoyed the banter of each of the 3 ladies when we sat down with them to identify data in old photographs (we just had to be ultra fast, sensitive and adept in catching the nuances in each smile, smirk, laughter and wit when the witches are together).

    1. baguiocityguide
      baguiocityguideListing Owner

      Thank you, we do what we can to help remind the public how rich is the heritage of Baguio.It is truly an honor to have inspiring mentors.