BAGUIO CITY – Four first-time visitors to the city were chosen by the members of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club (BCBC) as this year’s lucky summer visitors who will be receiving a 4-day red carpet treatment from the media organization and the sponsoring local governments of Baguio and Benguet.
The two batches of lucky visitors had their own hardships in trying to visit the city prior to their being selected by the members of the BCBC search time in front of the Caltex gasoline station at Rosario, La Union Thursday morning.
The first batch of lucky visitors, chosen at around 8:15AM. were Rolando Sarmiento, Jr., 19, a graduating Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering student of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA), and his girlfriend Karen Joy Villanueva, 22, operations supervisor of a Caloocan City-based dermatology clinic, both natives of Bulacan. The second batch of lucky visitors, selected three hours later, were Annabel Ricolito, 28, a native of Misamis Occidental and Ma. Jean Deyto, 45, a native of Sorsogon and both Manila-based store workers.
In behalf of Sarmiento, Villanueva narrated that they have planned for a visit to the city for a long period of time but they could not make the necessary reservations considering that buses plying the Baguio route from Manila were always fully booked.
She said Sarmiento was able to successfully book themselves for a trip to Baguio from a bus station in Olongapo City, Zambales that is why she had to travel from Caloocan city to Olongapo City after work to catch up with their scheduled trip.
However, she added the bus that they took suffered from mechanical trouble that is why the passengers were transferred to another bus of the company that allowed them to be chosen as one of this year’s lucky summer visitor upon arrival in the search area. Had it not been for their bus suffering from mechanical trouble, then they shall have passed the search area much earlier and they were not able to be chosen as part of the lucky visitors.
For her part, Deyto said their visit to the city was abrupt and when they arrived in a bus terminal in Cubao, Quezon City, all Baguio-bound buses were fully booked and that their ultimate chance to visit the city was through standing position which they both agreed.
Deyto and Ricolito took turns sitting beside a lone available seat near the driver that caused the former to be dizzy until they arrived in the search area where their bus was flagged down by personnel of the land Transportation Office (LTO) who accompanied the search team members in the conduct of the search.
When assigned media personalities boarded the bus and inquired on who were the first time visitors, Deyto immediately raised her hand even if Ricolito was hesitant considering that she was not already feeling well inside the bus with barely 35 kilometers travel to the city and true enough, the duo were part of this year’s lucky summer visitors.
The four lucky summer visitors were impressed on the warm welcome accorded to them by City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, Tuba Mayor Ignacio Rivera and La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda and the organizers of the activity as well as the scenic tourist spots which they were able to initially visit while being toured around the city and nearby towns of Benguet.
By Dexter A. See