BY THIS TIME, we’re just about ready to call it one short, hot summer. Thankfully, we’ve had our share of visitors this time around. They may not have been of the multitudinous crowd of recent past summers, but they’ve been plentiful enough. Enough to crowd us out of our usual day-to-day conveniences, especially during the long scathing weekends when the sweltering heat afflicting lowlanders just couldn’t be any more bearable.
Summertime in Baguio is now on its ebbing, last gasping moments. Sure, Baguio remains a topnotch destination for vacationers just wanting to have a day or two of a breather from the scorching climes down under. Even during ordinary days, throngs of busloads came, aching to have a calming respite, if only to replenish deadening energies. Tourism estimates indicate that at the very least, about 500,000 individuals spent Baguio time, using up every available space Baguio can still offer, every single liter of water needed to endure a few days of city life, every square inch of road their motorized contraption can occupy. Baguio’s legendary temperature may not be in 10 degree C levels, but anything below 12 all the way down to 17 is still a magical balm for sweating suffering souls.
Still wondering why most Filipinos, the everyday ordinary families brave all odds, mostly financial, to beat the sweaty climes down under? Still mystified that Baguio, despite all the brickbats of urban woes cast around, manages to be the memorable allure come summertime? Not enough water all around? No problem, they just endured it like we residents of this beloved city have been doing all these years, summertime or not. Too much traffic on the road? No problem, they’ll manage to survive the usual snags and snarls, and even the occasional loss of common sense. If they have gone through EDSA’s monumental impasse down the road, Baguio’s version is simply a piece of cake. Endurable at most.
Whatever is said, Baguio remains Baguio. Despite all the urban woes we’re going through, castigated every now and then by residents why this and that are being done, Baguio remains the endearing tourist place to go to, the unequalled mountain resort where the sights and sounds are simply inter-connected with nature. Not just the fresh air they love to breathe in. Not just the sense of rejuvenation one feels emerging from body and soul. Not just the sunflowers erupting across our mountain sides. Not just blades of grass struggling to green up parching earth. Not just residents readily disarming visitors with their toothy smile that comes from the purest of heart.
To be sure, we’ve had our share of burdens coming our way as part of our summertime experiences. Downtown traffic was simply horrendous on most days, as these motorized conveniences inundated most roadways, enough to generate jams at every known choke points, enough to eject the poisonous gases up there,, enough to pose health safety concerns, enough to immobilize for hours just about everyone from point to point of destinations, enough for many of us who value Baguio for what the city is to say enough is enough.
Too bad, not many opted to leave their vehicles behind when traversing the city. Walking it out for simple walk-throughs could have avoid the unwanted pollution of our fresh air. Walking it out could have given them a sense of what Baguio is, from the ground up. Walking it out could have allowed rare opportunities for them to step into a world often dreamt about. They could have easily seen flowering plants reaching out in full splendor, they could have snappily felt the green grass of untrodded trails struggling to spread their leafy canopy, they could have experienced up close majestic thrusts our pine trees make to reach the skies.
Next time our visitors are up here, do walk with us. Heartily, care with us so that Baguio remains clean and green at all times. To reiterate, Baguio is all about caring and sharing, between and among our own residents and the visitors. It’s all about the precious environment that Baguio has beyond compare, unequalled in its uniqueness, the very pristine natural setting from which natural resources have grown in full measure, the very richness that remains unmatched anywhere else.
Yes, Baguio is never the beach resorts on shut down or restorative mode, never the other valley-cradled places offering playtime activities at sky-rocketing costs, never the other summer sites with not much to offer other than the usual Philippine landscape scenes available elsewhere. Baguio is Baguio of lifetime thrills, summertime or not, of romantic interludes beyond remembering, of nature cradling people in a benevolent embrace, of diverse cultures intermingling with each other in almost divine harmony.
Yes, Baguio is more about living life the right way, regardless when everything wrong seems to be right, regardless when everyone seems out of sync, regardless of the reasons for our being. It is about being there for each other, as fellow humans bonded with common destinies, acting as stewards for generations next.
Baguio is where life is lived simply to its fullest measure. Not a short, hot summertime of fast-fading memories, but a continuously gestating moment when time stands still for a flower to open up its fragile petals to live its own full lifetime.