Saturday, March 17, 2007

Going home

The first post I ever wrote for Baguio Below was - you guessed it - on Baguio. I put up the site originally to be a lasting testament to the place I grew up in. In turns, I am exasperated by and totally in love with this place.

Like many of the residents, I lament that Baguio has lost most, if not all, of its magic. Our descent into normal has a lot to do with SM. People flock to The Mall to enjoy shallow entertainment and spend hard-earned cash to satisfy the ravenous appetite of a consumerist economy. I've had my fair share of quality distraction in that place so I don't really disapprove of it. I'm only concerned we may be enjoying SM too much. The Mall makes fun mindless. We've stopped thinking up interesting ways for recreation. We've ceased being creative about how we spend our time. I need to relax, let's go to SM! I'm depressed, let's go to SM! I need to contemplate my sordid adolescent existence, let's go out for coffee in SM! I need to watch a censored film, let's go see a movie in SM! Eat in SM, shop in SM, breathe in SM! SM is the answer to everything!...sorry. I got a little hysterical there. But you get the picture.

Baguio was a haven for people who wanted to get away. Artists came here to clear their minds and find inspiration amid the pine trees. Now it has become the stressful environment people want to get away from. We see more gray concrete than the greens and browns of trees; feel more stifling heat than cooling breezes; hear more traffic noises than the refreshing sound of silence; smell the sweat on a thousand human bodies more than the clean tangy scent of pine; taste the bitter panacea of commercialism more than the savory flavors of eccentricity.

The local government measures modernization in terms of how many McDonald's branches there are in the city. In its eyes, development means the construction of malls and silly cement trees. Buildings higher than four floors are sprouting out of the forgetful minds of our city architects. (That thing in 1990 was just a little tremor, nothing more.) City Hall's idea of convenience is a battalion of taxicabs clogging our streets and making our air un-breathable. Economic success is based on how many English tutors are hired by rich Koreans who presume they can make it snow in a place that, for thousands of years, has reveled in bitingly cold, dry Decembers. Academic excellence is evaluated on the basis of how quickly a substandard nursing school can be put up.

The only thing I regret about not registering is not being able to help decide how my city is going to be run. Philippine national politics sickens me. It's the country's longest running joke. I don't want to trouble myself with a government knee-deep in its own shit. On the other hand, I see local politics as more tangible. The decisions made by the local government are readily perceived by the residents of a place. The ripples of their actions immediately touch everyone: from the frustrated pechay vendor in front of PNB to the student trying to pay 6 pesos to a cranky driver on a Saturday.

In the same way I will have to endure changes in my life, my city will have to do the same. But no matter how much our faces change, I will always belong to this mountain place. Baguio will always be my home.

11 seen below:

snst_blvd said...

i like this post kubs! yes, baguio changed a lot already. i did a story abt SM being in baguio and i remember one tag line from that article: how many more SMs can little Baguio handle? SM is the killer of small-scale businesses in baguio city. bleh. but i still patronize SM. does that make me a hypocrite?

laizo said...

Baguio is our Crydee, our two-rivers, our Winterfell, our Sparta.
no matter where we end up in life, Baguio will be the home we come home to.

kubiyat said...

laizo: very well put :D

snst_blvd: of course not, lei. sm is too imposing to ignore. let's just make sure not to forget those small-scale businesses. as far as i know, we don't. :)

Lyn said...

Ha! This post sounds so familiar... I too, have such a place that I love, and, where all is different now... you are a good writer... enjoyed reading, will be back...

exskindiver said...

i agree with lyn.
just finished reading your kili kili kikay bag--had to laugh.
thanks for finding me.
will be back as well.
hey, do you notice that our chosen template loads with difficulty? does this happen to you?
i picked it for its soothing readability and despite its glitchy performance am loathe to give it up.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I fairly seldom go out in public anymore; that's where I used to people watch. Now I do that from the comforts of my computer chair as a move from blog to blog.

Josh said...

Home will always be home. I consider Baguio to be one my three favorite places on Earth (depending on my mood, hehe. The other two being Makati and Palawan)

I remember all through out HS and College I just couldn't wait to get out of Baguio - to nowhere in particular - I just wanted a bigger city, haha.

Now I live in a city about 3x the size of Baguio, and about as far away from Baguio as I can get I guess, and I'd rather be in Baguio right now. :P

Although it's funny, it seems Baguio has changed so much yet it has still managed to retain it's charm. (To me at least)

After being gone for almost 2 years it really felt great to be walking down Session Rd again with a silly grin on my face that I just couldn't wipe off. :D Then stopping to stare at the bright "new" Andok's resto, haha.

kubiyat said...

lyn: hi lyn, thanks for dropping by! i think we can forgive our hometowns all their faults. :)

exskindiver: i'm glad you liked the kikay bag article. i enjoyed writing that one. it's one of my favorite posts. that's why i couldn't leave it behind in my old url :)

i've had no problems with this template so far. when i was over at your site, the page loaded just fine. i agree with you about readability. i chose this one because it's simple and isn't so cluttered.

jr's thumbprints: i'm really interested to find out what people are writing in their blogs, but it's hard to stem all of the information. i'm still getting used to all this random clicking. anyhoo, thanks for dropping by!

josh: but aren't you just proud of andok's? they're really moving on up there. have you seen 300 yet?

Lisa said...

I so agree with everything you wrote.

Like you, I am both exasperated and in love with Baguio. I love the place, can't stand the folks living in it sometimes. Small town, small minds. Being way, way older than you, I remember times when we had many more tourists than today and it was still oh, so lovely and very manageable. Because there were not that many residents then. You see, Baguio is suffering from the environmental impact of so many bodies trashing the place 365 days a year. Gimme the tourists anytime, send the migrants back to their provinces. And regulate the diploma mills!

I have included your blog in my blogroll under "The Baguio Connection," which is exclusively for past & present residents of Baguio.

Keep blogging! :)

kubiyat said...

lisa, thanks for taking the time! subscribed to your feeds and am linking you up. thanks for the link!

TruBlue said...

Baguio born and raised, and baptized at the cathedral. Still in luv w/da place. Wish I had a magic wand to rid our city of criminals and bad elements. Luv all our good restaurants but will never set my foot at SM. This place just gives me da creeps for some reason. Da thought of Hyatt Plaza crumbling during da 1990 earthquake just petrifies, and looking at the architectural configuration of this SM, it won't survive w/da same magnitude. It's just me, and by no means trying to scare anyone. Live your own life. Cheers and goodhealth....

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