Thursday, June 9, 2011

20. 10th World Jamboree - 50th Anniversary Reunion (1959-2009), Boy Scouts of the Philippines

Last Dec 2009, I was invited to join the 1959 World Jamboree reunion to exhibit my Boy Scout Collection.  The Asia-Pacific Region and the Boy Scouts of the Philippines have invited all participants who attended the 10th World Scout Jamboree in 1959 at Mt. Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines for a grand reunion and celebrate the golden anniversary on 29 December 2009.  To make the event even more memorable, 10th WSJ participants were encouraged to bring any memorabilia such as uniform, badges, pins, pictures and other items used at the 1959 Jamboree for display and swapping.  The reunion participants joined the opening ceremony of the Jamboree on the afternoon of 28 December 2009.
I shared my patches, pins, neckerchief, flag, plaques, pennants, banners, handicraft materials and other 10th World Jamboree memorabilia, which were mounted on boards.

Most of these are prototype patches commissioned by a scout executive in 1959. Some of these patches were made to be used by the Scout World Bureau. Others prototypes were to to sold at the trading post but for unknown reason they were never released during the Jamboree.

Scouts recall good old Scouting memories
Taken from SCOUTS World Organization for the Scout Movement

Fifty long years had passed and the good memories of the 10th World Scout Jamboree held in 1959, in Mt. Makiling in the Philippines, is still as vivid as it was before, as some participants of the world jamboree met together on 29th December 2009 for their golden anniversary reunion.

In this golden anniversary gathering, 36 Scouts including their spouses came and saw their old time friends in Scouting and spent time recalling their amazing adventures as Scouts.

Hong Kong Delegates

Scouts who turned up to their “reunion party” came all the way from United Kingdom, Scouts of China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and including Philippines, not minding the hassle of distance and other physical difficulties they might encounter. Their ages vary from 70 to 90 years old.
Regional Scout Committee Chairman Jejomar C. Binay
with the participants

One of the 36 participants was a Contingent Leader from Hong Kong during the 10th World Scout Jamboree in 1959, and fifty years after, he came back to Mt. Makiling again as a Hong Kong Contingent Leader of the reunion.

Regional Scout Committee Chairman Jejomar C. Binay met the participants. He welcomed them and hoped that their stay would be of great use in helping them remember what they use to have back then.

This historical event ended up catching up with each other, signing the jamboree programme banner and singing the 10th World Scout Jamboree song that somehow brought back the memories of Scouting in their hearts.

 10th World Scout Jamboree different embroidered patches are on display for public viewing.

As part of the reunion, participants joined at the 10th World Scout Jamboree totempole site and unveiled the golden anniversary reunion plate where all the names of the participants will be engraved on the memorial stone.

Although signs of good old age are inevitable, one thing doesn’t not change: their love for Scouting

Part of the exhibit

10th World Jamboree memorabilia exhibit
Delegates who attended the 10th World Jamboree Reunion

10th World Jamboree exhibit

Top of the 10th World Jamboree Totem
10th World Jamboree Totem in Makiling, Laguna
Plaque commemorating the 10th World Jamboree in July 17-26, 1959

Highlights of the 10th World Jamboree
(from Boy’s World August 1959)

FOR ten days, from July 17 to July 26, Scouts "from every clime and region" gathered on a slope of fabled Mt. Makiling for fun, friendship and adventure on the occasion of the 10th World Jamboree. It was the first of its kind to be held in this part of the world.  The response of the local population was overwhelming. It can be truly said that the smallest school child of a one-room school and the poorest farmer or fisherman of the farthest-flung sitio as well as the pillars of government, industry and every profession, men, women and children, contributed to its being successfully held here. The response from other countries was also very satisfactory. Fifty countries participated. Even representatives from nations behind the Iron Curtain came. The largest foreign delegation came from Nationalist China with 345 Scouts and Scout Leaders. Japan was next, with 519 delegates. Third was the United States with 309 Scouts and Scouters.

The following is a list of countries and the site of their contingents: Australia-19; Austria-3; Belgium-3; North Borneo-12; Brunei-16; Burma-ll; Cambodia-17: Canada-93; Ceylon-22; China (Taiwan)-545; Denmark-2; Flji-l; Finland-6; France & Community--81; West Germany-I; Greece-12; Hong Kong-62; India-14; Indonesia -73; Iran-4; Ireland-2; Israel-3; Italy-3; Japan-519; South Korea-121; Kuwait-19; Laos-21; Malaya-122; Netherlands-6; New Guinea-4; New Zealand-15; Norway -2; Pakistan-11; Sarawak-8; Singapore-31; Sweden- 35; Switzerland-9; Thailand-54; United Arab Republic- 7; United Kingdom-112; United States-309; Venezuela-1; South Vietnam-59; Scouts-in-Exile (Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, U.S.S.R.) - 23. The Philippines had 7,863 delegates.

As is usual in World Jamboree, each delegation had a chance to present colorful shows, pageants, dances, rituals symbolic of their country's customs and traditions. These were held in the grand arena. To foster understanding and appreciation further, the Jamboree program also included invitational lunches and dinners where the various contingents treated their friends-to dishes and delicacies peculiar of their country's taste. Other activities included inter-patrol and inter-camp visits, tours and campfires.

The 10th World Jamboree is now part of history. In the words of President Carlos P. Garcia, the occasion was a manifestation of the young people's desire to "preserve this world and assert their right to live in an atmosphere of mutual, trust and decency."

Observations, Comments and Commendations on the 10th
WORLD JAMBOREE by a Scouter   (from Boy’s World Magazine, August 1959)

During the closing ceremonies of the 10th World Jamboree, Lord Rowallan, Chief Scout of the British Commonwealth presented the Order of the Silver Wolf, highest award of the British Scouts toBSP President and Chief Scout Jorge B. Vargas.

There were a few sharp criticisms from some foreign scouters in the past World Jamboree. They did not like the hot weather, the wet weather with rain, the mud and other inconveniences unlike those of the home. The tone was far from being friendly. We wondered. Why build mountains out of molehills?
Why grow bitter against the weather? Certainly, the immortal Baden-Powell did not conceive of a World Jamboree as having mild weather, level roads and trails, no rain, no mud, and everything easy and comfortable. Besides, is not a Jamboree camp the best test camp for scouts and scouters, the best rendezvous for friendship? So, why such an attitude?

Scouts are taught and raised to love Nature, to accommodate any kind of weather, to hurdle obstacles. They are Capable of finding beauty even at the most ugly things. They can sing in the rain, laugh at the mud. They can also outlast burning sunshine.           


Epidemic? It was the "nightmare" of some people after learning that some boys suffered stomach trouble from drinking too much soft drinks. It was the nervousness of a few parents and visitors to the Camp. Foreign delegates laughed this off. In any Jamboree camp where there are so many visitors, it
is the usual instinct of boys to roam around and make friends. Naturally, they are exposed to unhealthful weather and tire themselves. They might be eating too much or missing regular meals. Then some feel certain pain, or only fatigue, perhaps.

But 99 out of 100 are not serious cases. It was true in the last Jamboree. A camp of 11,000 residents and with an average of 200,000 visitors daily during week days alone, will surely have a few cases of common ailments. But never in the last Jamboree was there a time when cases reached an alarming condition.


Criticizing the Jamboree management for allowing boys to walk in the rain or in burning sunshine, is certainly a misleading thought. Why make the boys join Scouting? Boys, especially boy scouts, love sunshine and take rain and mud in their stride.

A Jamboree, any boy scout Jamboree, is exclusively for the boys and their leaders. The visit of non-scouts is only a privilege. And this privilege was so loosely 'extended to visitors
in the last Jamboree.       

True, so many people contributed to the realization of a World Jamboree in the Philippines. But they know, or they must know, that they did so for the boys and not for themselves.
Why expect or ask too many privileges and comforts?

If there were a few things messed in the Jamboree, most of them were caused by the little knowledge about scouting and ill-thinking of non-scouts. They did not see, they refused to see, that to scouts and scouters, companionship satisfies their hunger for friendship and laughter quenches their thirst for fun.


During the Jamboree, there were also reports of some losses, like cameras, transistors and bags. Painful to us who were the the hosts.

It would have destroyed the good name of scouting in this part of the world had it not been discovered that the guilty ones were not our boys scouts. Delinquent teenager’s, the likes of which are common in many parts of the earth, were the perpetrators.. All who were caught proved the fact. But nevertheless, they were more than little pieces of "stones in our shoes".


In sub-camps it was noticed by many people that the best sites were occupied by local boys. The places where water stayed longer were the ones given to foreign contingents. That was why parts of the Campsite earmarked to .remain open to keep the beauty of the Camp and to avail scouts and visitors to move around, could not be denied to foreign scouts for their tents.

In many cases, it was really a pity seeing our visitors trying hard to be comfortable, and noticing our local contingents enjoying the "first-come, first-choice" privilege. Unintentionally, perhaps, we dented our world-known hospitality.


Boys in the Camp missed one thing that was a "must" to them: swimming. The swimming pool was well-planned, beautiful and attractive. But what happy experiences the boys could get if it did not contain water or if it was not finished on the scheduled time? The boys could only laugh at its beautyand its attractions. It was not surprising if some boys looked for a place where they could swim, .even if they had to escape from the Camp.

We can only say that it was unfortunate having a casualty outside the Camp.      .


All shows in the Grand Arena were well-appreciated not only by scouts and scouters but also by thousands of visitors who braved the unfavorable weather to be in the world "festival." About 4,000,000 people visited the Camp.

Scouts, scouters and visitors will not forget so soon those entertaining shows, whether musical, dramatic or purely scouting. To mention a few: The Grand Opening Day and the Grand Closing Day; "The Philippine Day" with brass 'band, folk songs and dances; "The Younger Brothers' Day" (Cubs' Day) with drums and bugles, the toy band of 300 kids; "History of Scouting in England", dramatized by boys of the United Kingdom; "fiesta" in a Sultan's household in Mindanao, presented by the "Bayanihan" troupe; the "Legend of Mariang Makiling", dramatized by the Philippine Normal College; and the joyful songs and dances, melodramas and comedies of practically all European, American, Middle-East and Asiatic contingents.


Swapping was the most cheerful and adventurous experience of the boys. It is always so. Patches and neckerchief, medals and pins, are always something of value for their "treasure chest." Caps and uniforms were sometimes offered or asked for.


Swapping is the usual order of the day in every Jamboree. Every boy scout, even the scouters, craves for a memento of the event. In giving souvenirs, they always feel they are giving something for enduring brotherhood, for lasting friendship. Differences in colors of the skin, religions or nationalities donot diminish one's love to give and be given. In the boyish way of giving and receiving souvenirs, the handshake is the concluding ceremony and laughter is the music.


Campfires in the Grand Arena and in the seven sub-camps were all well-attended. During the ten-day Jamboree period, practically only four campfires were missed because of heavy rain.

The legendary campfires, the flame given by the Great Spirit, were enjoyed, as usual, by the boys and old scouters as well. Around them scouts and scouters of many lands gathered, relating stories from their own countries, and adventures appreciated by scouts. Each group sang its own songs, demonstrated some scouting skills. And before the last ember was turned completely into .ashes, they sang songs they knew or they wished to learn. Then the benediction.

The flame of the campfires, and the smoke, danced with the breeze from the nearby bay. And the boys who retired to their dwellings still heard the untiring kisses of the Laguna Bay to Mt. Makiling.

Actually, 51 foreign contingents attended the Jamboree, Out of these, "captive peoples" of seven countries were represented by scouts and scouters attached to "Councils of Scouts Associations in Exile." They who dared the displeasure of powers in their own lands, were happy during the Jamboree. They joined the 11,000 scouts and scouters in happy adventurous living: exchanging; objects, ideas and histories; hiking, playing and singing together, and sometimes eating together.

They earned love and friendship. They gathered sympathy and admiration.


The attendance of scouts and scouters in the Jamboree was not so big compared with other past 'World Jamborees. This was due, more than anything else, to hard times all-over the world. Even the scheduled time convenient to foreign countries did not help much. Foreign participations did not reach the expected number. The appreciation of foreign contingents of the beauty of the Campsite, the administration of the Jamboree and of the hospitality of our people, are sources of satisfaction for the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the Filipino people. The presence of Lord Row all an , Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and recognized successor to Lord Baden-Powell, and Gen. D. C. Spry, Director of the Boy Scouts International Bureau, added more satisfaction, plus distinct honor and happy world recognition.


The past Jamboree was truly a world event. But there was a single part of the Jamboree program that also truly earned the quality and magnitude of a world event: the World Conclave of Eagle Scouts, Queen Scouts, King Scouts and holders of the highest rank in each national scout association. It wasconceived. of and prepared by some Eagle Scouts of the. local Fraternity.

It was held in the Coca-Cola plant in Manila, in almost a whole-day get-together. One-hundred and thirty-four of the highest-ranking scouts from practically every contingent in the Jamboree attended the conclave. Those who could not attend were in the tours, but they expressed their willingness to join the

Among resolutions unanimously approved were the formation of a World Fraternity, each member-nation to be considered a chapter; and forming an active national fraternity in each member-country.
It was a sign of progress and maturity. It is now a citadel of World Scouting. 


There were few little inconveniences, some unexpected omissions and commissions, but still we can safely say that the administration of the 10th World Jamboree, covering all branches of service, made a high passing mark. It can be compared favorably with many past Jamborees. Foreigners themselves gave this high credit.

The beauty of the Campsite will remain a clear picture in the minds of all scouts and scouters who were in the Jamboree. The roads, the trails and the leveled ground etched by human hands and machines on the slope of legendary Mt. Makiling, will always be remembered as a handiwork of scouting love and effort. Low and pointed hills with crevices between them, trees that majestically dwarfed scattered flower plants, all contributed grandeur and beauty to the Campsite. And theLaguna Bay, on one side, completes the lovely panorama.           

In that enchanting 36a-hectare Jamboree Camp, East met West through scouting. It was the first time in Asia when the two hands of 'World Brotherhood met and shaked warmly. 'With full combined efforts of 52 present member-nations, the 10th World Jamboree in the Philippines started "Building Tomorrow Today". And all felt it had the blessings of the Great Scoutmaster. 'What transpired is now history. The boy scouts made that history.

Manila Executive Board, BSP.


  1. Hello, I would like to help me identify a 1959 WSJ badge to find out if original or not .... my email is, Greetings!

  2. If ever you decide to sell off this collection of WSJ memorabilia, I would very much welcome the opportunity to preserve it for future generations. Kindly reply to this comment and we can discuss preserving your legacy!