(Make it) more fun in Baguio-A A +A
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
WE ARE presently celebrating the festive Panagbenga season, and reportedly, there were 2.2 million people in the audience for both Grand Street Dancing Parade and Grand Float Parade over the weekend. My family and I had successfully avoided the crowd the past two years, probably due to exhaustion for actively “participating” in both parades in 2010, when our daughter Gelai joined the SPED Center Drum and Lyre team as baton twirler. This year we were resigned to just watching it on tv again, threatened by the onslaught of heavy traffic on Friday afternoon, but thanks to Kayla’s photography class assignment we were forced to bring her to Session Road at 5:30 on Sunday morning for the float parade, which meant we were likewise stuck there and might as well enjoy the show.
I had some level of pride for waking up at 4:30 in the morning on a Sunday, and thought we were to get a prime spot for being early. But as soon as we reached town and saw the multitudes of people lined up, holding their ground and guarding the position they were in as early as 3 a.m., we realized we were somewhat already late.
Seeing the huge crowd from where I stood, however, I did still feel proud knowing that the City of Baguio still stands popular among tourists. As an adopted daughter of Baguio (born and raised in the lowlands) I do get hurt when I hear news reports (opinions, actually) that Baguio City has lost its old charm, that it is no longer favored as the summer capital of the Philippines, and that more and more tourists now prefer to go to Boracay, or Bohol, or Palawan rather than spend time in our cool city of pines. I feel that the crowd at the Panagbenga parades this year only proves that we are still “it”, that we are actually still in the running for one of the best summer destinations.
I believe that no matter what others say, Baguio will always be favored as a vacation destination. There is that Baguio charm that nothing compares to, and I think one reason for that is personal history. I hear a lot of Baguio tourists come up and visit because this is where their parents used to take them on vacations, as this is also where their grandparents used to take their parents when they were younger. Baguio offers the comfort of a happy family history and sweet memories that definitely warm the heart.
But, difficult it may be to admit, a lot needs to be done in our city to make it more pleasant, to make vacations much more fun and convenient. It will take a lot of work but in the long run it is for the betterment of our city: beginning with the garbage problem, the traffic situation and the much needed maintenance of our tourist spots and vacation hubs.
A shoutout to future officials we will soon elect, let Baguio not lose its glory…and a much louder shoutout to our voting public, please elect only those who will not let that happen.
Enjoy the rest of Panagbenga, everyone. (firstname.lastname@example.org/ www.serendipitycouch.com)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 28, 2013.