Shssh! Quiet, now lads and maidens of yore, including the present generation: Tarry a bit longer and reminisce how one or many days of long ago, in one way or another, you made a beeline to Burnham Park, in Baguio City.
Mayhaps, you went there for various reasons, like you were dulled by pain, sparked by hope, longing for the best, dream for affection that often ends in a stab of cry in the wilderness.
Could be during those times, you’ve been in ages of your teens, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, or even 50’s, when you took strolls at Burnham Park.
Aah! No matter the age. The memories, alone, are richness of experience lasting a lifetime.
You, lady, you, lad. At least you are not alone. Once in our lonely desperate moments, or happy times, Burnham Park beckoned and comforted us.
So, we first dwell on you going to Burnham Park on desperate moments.
You sat on a bench or on the grass there and pondered possibilities whether your relationship with someone you think deeply isn’t rooted deep enough.
Or could it be your relationship faltered by the fact both of you aren’t doing enough to make it work, or just didn’t try?
You sigh, scratch your head, realizing so much was left undone. Thinking deeply about your plight, you realize that foolish pride, often a mortal’s deadly affliction, was, and is, the reason why relationship with others utterly fail because both couldn’t give in.
Why you headed to Burnham Park, you couldn’t exactly say, but there, you realized relationship wither and die if the ground where it stands isn’t tended, and seeds you’ve scattered, hoping for these to grow, are all parched and blown.
Oh yes, both of you took things for granted to take what might have started as home, but no, both of you didn’t, and instead made it a place where nothing could live.
Standing up from where you sat, you cast your glance about and stare at Burnham Park’s flowers, nodding with the winds. “Humph,” you growl in your desperation, “Of what use are flowers?” And decided to leave the park.
But you stopped, because Burnham Park was saying, “Tarry a bit longer, I’ll tell you something.” So you did tarry.
And Burnham Park whispered, “Flowers, that in the simplicity of their frailty, beg leave to be, and that they occupy with blushing modesty, the clefts, corners and spare nooks of Burnham Park, shrinking from the many trodden path and not encroaching on the walks of humans.”
Burnham Park continued, “Flowers – that unceasingly expand to heaven their graceful, and to man, their cheerful looks; partners of human joy, soothers of human sorrow, fit emblems of victor’s triumphs, of young bride’s blushes, a welcome to crowded halls and graceful upon solitary graves.”
Burnham Park ended by saying,” Flowers – over which innocence sheds a tear of joy, and penitence heaves the sigh of regret, thinking of the innocence that has been. Flowers are for the young and for the old, for the grave and for the gay, for the living and for the dead; for all but the guilty, and for them when they are penitent. Flowers are, in the volume of nature, what the expression, “God is love,” in the volume of revelation.”
Now, you realize, to your woe, that “flowers, like relationship, won’t grow in gardens of stone,” unless tended well.
Next, we dwell about you going to Burnham Park in happy moments.
During happy moments, alone or with someone at Burnham Park, a thought came to you about that someone having given to you what life should be for everyone.
You smiled at the thought that, that someone happened to be like your favorite “siling labuyo,” nga birukem tunggal pinangan, ket nu awan idiay lamisa-an, kunam insigida, ayna apoh, naim-imas ti mangan nu adda kuma (isuna) wenno sili.”
That someone is your favorite, salt, tea, or coffee, your sunrise, your sunset; that so much of you is now a part of that someone.
For when you’re at Burnham Park, it exudes a mysticism of romance that can be infectious, affecting anybody.
Remember, Baguio people are mighty proud about their Burnham Park and they have a penchant for associating it with the ideally romantic.
When friends discover you went to Burnham Park and you reason out you went there to do some marketing, “kinis-tongan da tu pay ta ulom,” your friends knowing too well that we all do marketing at the market sections of the city, and not in beautiful Burnham Park.
Know for a fact, fertile the imaginations of friends are when it comes to Burnham Park, they get highly suspicious when you go there dressed-to-kill and all alone without legal and “valid” reason.
Suspicious in the sense they associate their ideas to run wild about romantic escapades.
How so? When friends meet you on the street and ask, “Ay, nagapuwam?” And you answer candidly, “Nagapuwak man dita Burnham.”
Immediately, friends will pounce on your answer and exclaim, “Ahaa! Napan ka naki-date, anya!” Or, “Hoy, salbag ka, asinnu kadwam idiay Burnham, ah?” Or, “Sino ngay sinabat mo idiay Burnham, aber?” Or, “Oy, ala ka, ipulong ka kenni (citing a name) …,” Or, “O’ la-la, Burnham Park ti meeting place yu isu?”
Then you adamantly insist your friends’ suspicions are completely wrong, that you went to Burnham Park by yourself to be merely by your lonesome.
Your friends won’t dispute you. Neither will they believe you. Because, romantically inclined, they pout their lips and continue teasing, “Hmm, ket baka adda naam-amum idiay Burnham?”
Generally, Baguio people may be correct about any friend alone at Burnham Park. Because, by golly, we don’t go to Burnham Park, kneel there to pray. Do we?
Or, in trying to dampen suspicion of friends, you tell them you went to Burnham Park to enjoy the scenery, to refresh childhood memory of how once you romped at the park.
Op kors, op kors, no argument about that. But Baguio people being romantically capricious, they’ll pinch you here, there and everywhere, whisper in your ear and still insist, “Ket malagip mo ngarud nu asinu diay inmuna nga inpasyar mo idiay Burnham Park, eh?”
For, sannamagan, you can never insist to your Baguio friends that you went to Burnham Park as a tourist. Nu di da ketdi lapigusen ta lapayag mo!
For those who never stepped on Burnham Park, you are missing a chance in a lifetime and, an opportunity to be teased by friends and be the butt of jokes. You don’t like to miss those. Do you?
So, go, dang it! Grab your jacket and make a beeline to Burnham Park. There, where dreams are made. Where dreams are broken, but hope revisited, whether its Valentine’s Day or not.