Saturday, February 27, 2010

Farewell, concrete pine tree. And good riddance.

Since its construction in 1994, the infamous concrete pine tree of Session Road was the object of our ridicule, disdain, and even, anger. Possibly even more infuriating than the tree was its accompanying sign: "Plant Me and Protect Me." Then mayor Bernardo Vergara claimed that the tree was to encourage the protection of the City's remaining pine trees. Many were skeptical about the old mayor's intentions because, perhaps, of the prominent "V" embossed on the statue's base. Was it truly an act of environmental advocacy, or a bare attempt at political promotion?

Residents clamored for its removal, using every avenue of communication to get through to the City's administration. Letters were sent to City Hall, some even coming from Baguio people already living in other countries. Numerous petitions were filed, circulating through cyberspace via e-mail and signature sites. A friend once sent me a text message about a plot to cover the whole thing in sayote. Among many movements, this was one of the most brilliant.

After years, the people have finally been heard. The concrete pine tree, our bane, has finally been taken down.

When Pa, Jake, and I rode by on a jeep yesterday evening, the area was still covered with plastic sheets. Through a gap, I could see workers toiling away, pushing around large, flat rocks. They would occasionally consult with a group of people issuing directions from the side. I sat near the front of the jeep and could hear the driver and his friends talking about it as we passed. One friend enthusiastically pointed at the work in progress, declaring that a "scrapture" was going to be built there. Sculpture or structure, I am just as excited as this guy. I feel as if a weight has been lifted off the city's proverbial shoulders. We will finally be rid of that concrete abomination.

The current mayor has taken pains to keep the replacement a secret. Apparently, he wants it to be a surprise for the Panagbenga celebration. A real nightmare would be if they put up something even more stupid than a fake tree. Knowing this administration and its less than luminous track record, it is not such a distant possibility.

I don't know if the installment has been unveiled, because I haven't been to town yet today. The streets are packed with people to watch the Panagbenga street dancing parade (The Grand Parade will be tomorrow). Traffic is impossible and going out is a dim likelihood. Nevertheless, until I see the top of Session Road, I rest easy that the concrete pine tree is now a thing of the past.

2 seen below:

james said...

Every time I saw that V on the base of the tree I was reminded of the days I used to watch Voltes V. I never liked that tree either, but i can't say its being where it was bothered me. Anyway, I noticed you like writing about Baguio a lot!

kubiyat said...

I do love where I'm from hehe :)

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