Baguio City: Ruined by ‘Pinoy’ Mentality

I love Baguio; I was born here, I grew up here, and if circumstances dictate I might probably die here as well. I’m pretty much happy that I live in a City where the air is cool, the food is cheap and the people are still friendly. Ultimately, its allure as a mountain city would still attract people for generations to come.

The immediate concern, however, is the fact that Baguio is a city whose allure is on the brink of destruction from all fronts. I don’t want to go all nostalgic about Baguio’s past, nor would I talk about how Baguio has become worse; nothing would come out of such, and there are countless blogs, guestbooks and petitions out there that would do all those things for me.

Baguio is undoubtedly unique in the Philippines, because of its climate and its history. It is the Americans’ most tangible gift to the country, a City built on top of the mountains that served as a home away from home. Instead of engaging the local Kankana-ey and Ibaloi tribes through war as the Spanish did for hundreds of years, the Americans used diplomacy and commerce. I’m not saying all of what the Americans did for Baguio was good (consider the ongoing dispute between them and the Carino clan for Camp John Hay’s title), but the Americans nevertheless created Baguio as a model built from scratch for future urban developments in the Philippines.

Sadly, as history has shown, “development” took a completely different meaning for Filipinos after the Americans left. As a Baguioite, I know that my city is a mess. Originally planned by the famed American architect Daniel Burnham as a government center of 30,000 people, the city is now home to 300,000, many of whom have no legal claim to residence, and many of who are students with no sense of history and no will to learn history.

Baguio is I believe a microcosm of what the Philippines is today, because of a variety of factors.

1 – A DISTORTED SENSE OF ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS. It’s thankfully gone now, but as late as four years ago there stood atop Session Road an artifical pine tree crafted out of concrete, a hideous structure that cost taxpayers millions of pesos to create, maintain and ultimately destroy. At the bottom of this structure was a giant plaque that read “Plant Me and Protect Me.” The fake tree and its giant plaque for a time served as Baguio’s centerpiece and laughing stock, a visual monstrosity that ironically warbled about the environment but was crafted out of something that wasn’t.

The concrete tree may be gone, but the shame of artificiality remains. Baguio’s claim to be the “Cleanest and Greenest City” in the Philippines, as local politicians parade it, is a flat-out lie. Many people in Baguio have been led to believe that the only way to save the City’s ecology is to “plant trees at the Busol Watershed.” As such, people plant thousands upon thousands of Benguet pine trees not knowing that there are specific scientific methods to planting such. In effect, many of the seedlings planted just die anyway within the first year, totally wasting the time and effort invested by those who planted them.

Politics also comes into the picture of Baguio’s imploding ecology. Baguio has no tangible long-term plan to create a sustainable waste disposal system. A trash segregation policy is widely ignored, while nearly a hundred million pesos is spent annually to haul garbage out of Baguio to Capas, Tarlac–money literally thrown away. Meanwhile, Baguioites are now forgetting the fact that a massive landslide of garbage at the Irisan subdivision in 2011 killed ten or so people.

The Filipino love of cars is also contributing to Baguio’s decaying air quality; for a small city it could not handle too much private transport. The city has a potentially efficient mass transit system that exists in its taxi services, as well as proposals from previous local administrations to set up tram and cable car systems. Sadly, due once again to politics, any attempt to invest in improving Baguio’s transit system is shot down in favor of more profits.

As I write this, a well-known Philippine mall chain is mulling the destruction of 100 or so mature trees standing in the middle of Baguio’s Central Business District, in order to extend their already massive retail monopoly. The mall operators say the trees “won’t be cut,” but would be “transplanted.” The mayor apparently “could not do anything” because the tree-cutting permit was approved by the DENR. This however clearly shows the mall chain’s ignorance of ecology–Benguet pine trees more than three years of age have a 75% death rate after transplanting. Meanwhile, the mayor apparently “could not do anything” because the tree-cutting permit was approved on a national level by the DENR. If this is true, then it only presents two facts: the mayor simply doesn’t care about Baguio’s environment and only looks to the profits the mall can generate, or he simply is too incompetent to manage Baguio City. On a national level, this sounds strikingly familiar with the dangerous direction this country is headed towards.

2 – MISMANAGED CIVIL DEVELOPMENT. The city planners who created Baguio were aware that the Spanish setup in urban planning was not appropriate, where the Church was always at the center of things. The Americans however created an urban plan for Baguio that put government and recreation at the focus of city life, hence Burnham Park. The “Pinoy” mentality, however, has successfully wiped away the legacy of the Americans, turning portions of Burnham Park into endless “tiangges,” despite local ordinances that prohibit the existence of such. A “masterplan” has been thought out to rejuvenate Burnham Park, but the project itself is in need of funds. Though skyscrapers have thankfully not yet been put up in the City, the current mayor has still assured moneyed investors that there is no height limit to buildings in Baguio–a potentially dangerous declaration, considering that a number of large geological fault lines worm beneath Baguio, and no amount of “soil testing” could assure the structural integrity of buildings once a disaster hits. Have people here forgotten about the Great Earthquake of 1990, when the largest buildings were toppled down?

There also is the problem of increasing demand for hillside housing, which results in urban sprawl. People would rather have their own house and lot (often in precarious locations like cliffs or the bottom of valleys) rather than live with others in residential condos, resulting in the further degredation of the environment despite the limited land area that Baguio possesses. The condos could always be well within a certain height limit, and be modeled with that of Singapore’s residential districts, but this has so far been overlooked. Coupled with the lax enforcement of building and zoning ordinances, this sprawl reflects the frustratingly lazy Pinoy attitude of “bahala na;” leave it to God.

3 – POOR EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS. Baguio is the largest educational center north of Manila, with four big universities and scores of smaller colleges. However, many educators are now aware that many of these Baguio-based educational institutions rely on what is popularly known as “diploma mill” mentality. Simply put, a school cares little if you learned something or not, for as long as that school has more students, and thus more profits. A person’s potential thinking, reasoning and living skills are effectively compromised just to attain a diploma through dubious educational practices. Dozens of Korean schools claiming to be “centers of excellence” in English language development have sprouted all over Baguio, ignoring the fact that many of these schools are not registered through the proper government channels such as the Commission on Higher Education.

Of course, more students means cheaper housing, but as I already mentioned earlier there is no assurance that building ordinances could keep these students safe; virtually all of these so-called “boarding houses,” especially around Baguio’s big universities, are fire hazards.

4 – AN EMERGING FEUDAL POLITICAL SYSTEM. I can still remember that there was a time not long ago that Baguio was managed by competent local leaders who cared less about the about the money that lined their pockets and more about the welfare of the City they grew up in. That time has since ended, and now the local city council is made up of traditional politicians who care more about increasing their vote count and lengthening their stay in office. Twice in the past decade, the position of mayor and congressman were filled up by the same two people who just switched seats. It seems that they plan to rule over Baguio in perpetuity due to a legal loophole in term limits.

Unlike many provinces in Luzon, which I believe are ruled by a succession of people who technically belong to the same clans, Baguio (and Benguet for that matter) was once free of these petty feudal systems. The 2010 elections, which were heralded nationally as a “time for change,” became a springboard for the return of a feudal system that mainly cares about personal profit. A flyover project was hotly disputed some time around 2006, simply because it was unnecessary. The project went through anyway, at an initial cost of PhP88 million. However, for some reason, the project ballooned to a total coast of PhP280 million, perhaps even more–no one dared to check for the transparency of the project. Given Filipino politics, the kickbacks gained by local officials for such a project could be large indeed.

An underpass and yet another flyover are in the works for this administration, and it seems that the politics of the day would prevail given the current zeitgeist. The mayor and the congressman are often seen together, playing golf within the exclusive grounds of the Baguio Country Club. They claim to love and represent Baguio, but they aren’t even from here to begin with.

5 – GENERAL APATHY. I know for a fact that Baguio’s residents won’t hesitate to speak to a stranger, no matter how rude that stranger may be. This kindness however, has given way to a collective lucid apathy. In the years since the 1990 Earthquake, Baguioites (including myself) have fallen into a collective “I-don’t-care” attitude about the City they live in. For instance, only a few people nowadays are aware that the annual “Panagbenga” festival isn’t a celebration of Baguio’s floral culture–it’s an artificial festival originally designed in 1996 to keep people away from the commercial development going on inside Camp John Hay at the time. Panagbenga is now a cash funnel, celebrating a time of “flowering” in February (when flowers in Baguio actually bloom in November), totally ignoring the pollution that compounds Baguio’s urban maladies. And through it all, we Baguioites seem to just don’t care. “I have more important things to think about.” “What can I do? I’m just one person!” “It’ll be better, just leave it alone.”

As a Baguio person, it’s my fault as well that the City has emerged into this, a small yet powerful reflection of what the Philippines is today. The idea that Baguio (and thus the Philippines) can be better is of course an attainable vision, but to go along with the status quo is one thing that I simply cannot do. I do not want to bash the City I was born in and grew up in nearly all my life, however I find no harm in stating the facts as they are. It’s a cliche I have to live with, but t the very least I started the change by writing this.

[Photo courtesy Grace Bandoy]

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140 Comments on “Baguio City: Ruined by ‘Pinoy’ Mentality”

  1. I feel for the writer. During 1998 and 2000, I really love Baguio. But I just remember that my parents have a 3-day vacation there yet they went home after 2 days because something went wrong: my mom’s 2 cellphones were stolen and other goods.

    Law enforcement in Baguio sucls.

  2. Sad. I was quite disappointed when I went there last year. Maybe because I had too much expectation. The place apart from being cold and green in some areas, was just so-so.

  3. The Baguio I knew in the late 70’s is no longer there. I was there before christmas to attend a nephews’ wedding hoping to get a short respite from the inconveniences and chaos of urban life but I was wrong. Except for the balmy weather,it is as if I haven’t left home.

  4. Domogan and Vergara should hang.

    ATTN: January 20 protest march at Gov. Pack Road against SM’s Tree Massacre. Come in the morning, and let’s show that REAL Baguio people care about Baguio, and yokel foreigners like Domogan, Vergara, DPWH, DENR, and the whole city council don’t belong here.

  5. i was posted for a short while at baguio during the 90’s and i found the place simply amazing. at that time the air was cool and still clean, in fact we just change uniforms every other day because it doesn’t get that dirty easily given that we have to work outside all the time, sa madaling salita dahil walang libag.

    every morning we go to camp dangwa either to pick up or send some messages and on our way there you can see the smoke coming from the long line of barbeque grills at la trinidad, and man, the aroma of roast meat, which is a favorite of upland farmers who deliver their produce, was so salivating.

    back then it’s normal to see a local tourist chomping a carrot as if it’s cool to be seen eating one or a guy walking in the streets wearing boots, denim jackets with matching hat ala robin which other people find a little bit corny.

    and who can forget chaparral at the marcos highway and also those bars at abanao and the ever famous dainty cafe?

    dog meat which is favorite food at that area was available and openly sold at the public market or you can buy it cooked at loakan near texas instruments.

    as not all houses have water heaters, loud shrills from bathrooms are ignored because that’s the sign that there’s a newcomer having a shower.

    sadly it’s different now.

  6. Well said. I’ve been away for almost 10 years now, but my affection for the city has remained. Baguio people everywhere… all they do is bitch but they never do anything. An unintentional love letter like this hopefully will make the rounds and force people into submission. To react. Then act.

    It is important as well to act independently. Of the government. Of organizations. Of the old guard. Because they have done shit in recent years. If they can’t find a way to dispose of trash properly, if they don’t know how to replant trees, if they don’t know how to make residents feel responsible, why don’t we act privately and figure out a way ourselves. I’m not calling for another revolution, by any means. Just asking those who understand, those who relate, those who love to save a city from itself.

    I’m ready to stop just talking. I hope you are too.

    Email me.

    1. “Baguio people everywhere… all they do is bitch but they never do anything?” Wow, talk about generalization! Did it ever occur to you that there are residents who give a shit, that did something and are still doing something? It’s hard to digest words from someone who’s been away for almost a decade. You do not share our plight, yet you criticize. Nevertheless, I agree. I just hope that you can walk the walk and talk the talk.

    2. “Baguio people everywhere… all they do is bitch but they never do anything?”

      Careful now, if you yourself hadn’t done anything for Baguio, then you can STFU…and you forgot to include yourself on on your words about “bitching” bitch.

    3. Lam-ang & MJ,

      Sure, it was a generalization, and a mistake on my part to generalize, but you know the folks I’m talking about. I have Filipino acquaintances who reside here and come to visit… they have the money, the clout, the stature to do something, but they don’t. All they do is complain and yes, BITCH, about the situation.

      I’m not here to fight, I’m here to commend the writer and hopefully find people who are willing to address the writer’s concerns. I left an open call to people at the end of my message and even left my name because I want people to reach out. There’s only so much I can do from far away.

      Also, and I know that my generalization was offensive, what I find more offensive are the people who have commented on a wonderful piece of writing by talking about mining and property ownership corrections to the story, instead of discussing the point of the story. Really? What apathy.

      But anyway… seems like you guys care enough to do something about this shit. Message me, and let’s see what we can do.

    4. Please lets all be one to help our home (Baguio City).
      How can we do this? if our enemies can do everything with their power and wealth.
      Mr. Cervantes can you help us

  7. I’m not saying all of what the Americans did for Baguio was good (consider the ongoing dispute between them and the Carino clan for Camp John Hay’s title) – http://www.webng.com/tarlacheadlines/fullstory.asp?articleid=736 – +Giron said that in a land case brought by her ancestor Mateo Cariño to the United States Supreme Court, the court decided on February 23, 1909 in favor of her ancestor’s (Cariño) right to their ancestral land over the areas now covered by Club John Hay. The US Supreme Court decision pointed out that the land possessed by the natives prior to colonization were not public land but private as they were held as such since time immemorial.

    However, the fact that their ancestral land was not returned back to the Cariños and that it is still with the government is a manifestation of that century of injustice, she pointed out in an interview.”

    the issue is with the local gov’t not the U.S. the Carino Doctrine came about from this case.

  8. This is what happen, if we don’t protect the environment…there are many Mining comapanies surrounding the City of Baguio. They cut the trees for timber support inside the mines…the blastings inside the Earth; done by these mining companies, cause strains on the Earth. That, in turn cause landslides…Urban sprawls are taking their toll…There is no Urban Planning…protection of the environment…so the monopolist speculators from the Hacienda Luisita Mafia, come to develop the city in their own way…

    1. Excuse me, but the big mining companies around Baguio are of the responsible and respectable sort. In fact, the most casualites and worst pollution re:mining anywhere in or near Baguio are from the camote miners who don’t practice any industry standard.

      What’s hurting Baguio now is apathy on the part of the old-timers and greed and stupidity on the part of the foreigners like Domogan, Vergara, and the DENR.

      I am ashamed I haven’t done enough for my city.

  9. what I would want for Baguio:

    1.A special road where only bicycles are allowed to reach the city. A road with no cars allowed,except for ambulances in case accidents happen.

    2. men who collect the city’s trash to have the highest salary in the city for handling all our dirty mess!

    3. the largest machine to be created that could turn our garbage into gas that can cook food.

  10. A heartfelt piece which i hope gets wide circulation within baguio.

    Debate, discussion and radical change is needed to save the essence of baguio before it disappears for ever.

    It is a place i know, and even tried investing in business there. If the incompetence of local govt doesnt deter you, then the corruption at the top will.

    Baguio is driven by the greed of the few with self interest and short sightedness, but little vision, strategy or even interest.

    They are Guilty not only of corruption on a grand scale but destroying something of cultural importance resulting in tourism decreasing as they neglect basic repairs and facilities. Where does all the money go?!!

    Sadly it is now like a grand old lady which is reminiscing in old age of glory days, but shows few signs of its former charm and character

    On the business front it is a case of missed opportunities with no holistic plans, lots of talk and ‘conferences’ but never any actions

    The environment suffers increasingly from less trees and more pollution, and as far as the housing/settlements it may be another disaster just waiting to happen

    Petty crime is rampant especially around the market area. On my last visit my friend lost her cellphone. They cut into her bag as she was carrying it. Very skilled!

    The solution. change at the top.
    As one key businessman said to me. We have come up with the plans and ideas for years, but the politicians dont want to know, unless there is something in it for them.
    Shameful

  11. i would really like to give that city tram plan another go too along with carless sundays on session. i wonder if more people expressed their opinions about it that we could peer pressure whoever’s been holding it back to just give in.

    and i hope more people change their minds about condominiums. i live in one now and it’s such a refreshing place from the congestion we once lived in. even if i grew up there and lived there all my life, it just wasn’t worth it holding on to the land we owned if it was situated in a congested, polluted and pretty much dangerous community(robbers and gangs).

    so hinting at developers to hopefully have more plans for lower-cost condos (low-rise for safety reasons please). i’m just suggesting this as an alternative because aside from it being easier to organize roads, parking, water, city planning, security and importantly, waste disposal in such communities, we have to admit it consequently is easier on the eyes and does give more chances for space for foliage to grow.

    i don’t think we could stop people from funneling into baguio and staying here any time soon, so best get organized.

  12. I, too, love Baguio. Though not Baguio-born, I grew up there from age 10 and has since considered it my homeplace. Professional vocation has called me elsewhere but I still pine and long for Baguio. I still hope to return and retire there or its nearby suburbs.

    I have lived in Aurora Hill and still remember that big landslide that cut through Rimando Road and Malvar Street and which killed a lot of people specially as it happened at wee hours in the morning. I remember the time when the military raided the house of Roxas, the treasure hunter, to confiscate the Golden Buddha at Modern.

    I also lived in Bokawkan (long before it became Buhagan) where we had a good view of Quirino Hill, which at that time was still not so populated and where wild marapait (local sunflowers) still blanketed the hillsides during the cold season, and Pinsao where one can still count the houses without running out of breath.

    We eventually built our home in Quezon Hill, which is now filled to overflowing with houses and structures.

    One does not outgrow Baguio as it grows in the hearts of its residents so no matter where we are now, we take Baguio with us even as it still calls and draws us home. And it is because of this that we lament and are deeply saddened what has befallen our beloved city we call “home.”

    Thank you for your article, which I hope could gain a wider circulation. There will be no one else to blame if we do not wake up to the reality that we are all responsible for the wellness or demise of our beloved city of Pines.

  13. I was born and raised in baguio too.but i left after college. I was once an active participant in tree planting activities.
    I agree with this article. Sad but true.
    all i have are memories on how it used to be. I hope this article reaches those who have power to save the city.

  14. I was one of those students who came to study in Baguio and I card – still do. It looks like my visit this coming February will be a sad one.

  15. this post rather amuses me

    i use to live in baguio a few months ago, lived there since i was 2 years old, left when i was 18, i only miss my friends, but the city…..not so much

    you can complain all you want about the problems, but in the long run, not much/ nothing will be done

    im not sure on how to deal with the corruption

    however the part of the solution lies in one child policy to deal with the poverty and population, not only for baguio, but the entire philippines as well

    controlling the population will definetly solve some major issues

    as for the housing, honestly baguio is a complete……crap hole, my suggestion is to just burn it all to the ground and start all over again, thats all i can offer, i mean have you seen the way house spacing and how its built?

    but, like i said not much will be done, the system is corrupt to its core

    the entire philippines may be experiencing these problems similar to baguio as well

    (sigh), if only the were still part of the u.s.a., things may have turned out differently

    i don’t see hope for change in the philippines

    1. I really don’t want to stoop down to your level, but see, this is why the Philippines is in such deep mess, because of ignorant people like you! This is exactly the point of this article! You are among those that pretend you know the real issue, but you don’t. Otherwise, why would you even imply that Baguio will be a better place if only the Americans stayed? Or burn the city down? Be an idiot somewhere else!

      1. Warren does have a point: It was better when the Americans ran it. I have lived in Baguio all my life, as did my grandparents and parents before me. And the difference is glaring. The Filipinos that came immediately (genuine Baguio people) after the Americans managed to maintain the legacy. Those that followed (from Jun Labo onwards) were foreign trash.

        I also wouldn’t mind razing those slums at City Camp, Quirino Hill, Irisan, and Quezon Hill to the ground and planting them over with more pine trees.

        As to SM, we managed without SM before. We don’t need malls when local business can cater to the need (and no, Tiong San isn’t the only retailer around).

        It’s about time Baguio people take the city back.

  16. I agree with the writer. Very sad but true. Just visited the place January 11, 12 and 13 2012. The Marcos highway is choked with traffic. Overcrowding and more traffic jams on roads that do not seem to become wider anymore. Pollution is very bad. We stayed at Green Valley place, you need at least 1-1/2 hours to reach the city..Calling for those who are in POWER or for those who can help to save the beautiful place in the Philippines..

  17. send a copy of article/comments to sec acosta. i think he is amenable and at least may stop SM cutting down 200 trees to make way for a car park! nice backhander for someone!!
    he is reviewing the proposal which the mayor agreed to – very quickly and without consultation.
    from city of pines to city of malls and car parks – courtesy of SM. greed before culture

  18. The only reason Baguio has been a home to me is that nobody owns hacienda-sized tracts of land and they go clucking about it, brandishing social status, wealth, a financed security group; the typical Filipino attitude when land is in question below the mountain level… It is for everyone, and yes I pity the families who were evicted from their small lands… I mean acres… during the occupation. A compromise is better than a yaman-ko-to-gago mentality.

  19. Ang Baguio ay unang dinevelop ng japanese imperial army….only known when the american imperialist settled there and occupy the island philippines…..

    1. That tidbit is just wrong. As a historian based in Baguio, I know for a fact that Baguio was chartered by the Americans on September 1, 1909. The Japanese invaded on December 6, 1941. And I can say for a fact that the Americans themselves NEVER saw the local Igorots as “indios” or people to be enslaved; they worked together to create Baguio.

      1. I agree with Warren somewhat. An extraordinary problem needs an extraordinary solution. If it means razing slums to the ground and requiring work and resident permits from non residents then so be it. Baguio history should be taught in all Baguio schools before Philippine history. Its time to think outside the box. I would like to share something about the word INDIO. It did not come from the word India nor meant to mean slave as far as I know. It came from the Spanish INDEGEN (Indehen) meaning indigenous or native.

      1. There were Japanese already living here before the war. There were Japanese schools and bazaars here. They have come from Southern Japan to escape Christian persecution by the Shogunate. Some of the Japanese descendants around Baguio and Benguet, (to this day, we hear of their familiar names) were descendants of these pre-war Japanese residents of Baguio. These pre-war Japanese residents, were, of course, not from the Imperial government. They were Christian converts severely persecuted by the Shogun government which feared foreign influences corrupting Japan. The Imperial government was a much later phenomenon.

        By the way, Kennon rd was constructed by both Chinese and Japanese pre-war residents of Baguio. The American government enlisted them to do that hard labor.

        One reason why the Americans carpet bombed Baguio during the war was to get rid of the pre-war Japanese communities and establishments that were already thriving in the city. The Japanese run towards the mountains and intermarried with the Igorots. Many never resurfaced after the war, fearing that they will be persecuted by both Americans and Filipinos for being the “enemy”.

        And it is also true that, after the war, the Americans employed Japanese professionals to help build and design the city. The Mansion house facing the pond is one example of Japanese design.

        1. ooppps, i’m not sure if it was after the war that the mansion house and its nearby parks were created. but i’ve read somewhere that the Americans contracted Japanese engineers to help design it. hmmm..

  20. I hear you. I hear you.

    I cringe at the thought that the Baguio I have always loved is slowly turning into this city where I am currently at.

    Pero pramis, masaya ako lumaki ako sa Baguio (technically Trinidad). 🙂

  21. as i read this, flashbacks of good childhood memories fill my head. it is really sad indeed that baguio is turning into a sad concrete jungle. i miss hiking to get to our secret natural pool somewhere in camp 7. the hills that we used to trek is now a subdivision of massive houses. i miss the 24-7 supply of water in my parents’ place. now, they have to wait for the city rations. i miss staying out till midnight at the skating rink. now, minors have a curfew, thanks to pointless high school gangs. my husband, a foreigner living here for many years, often tells me that baguio now is very different from the one he came to love when he first came here. i tell him that it is even sadder to see this demise when you were born here and had good childhood memories of the city. the roads that are still good often gets torn down for new ones, while the roads that are in need of repair often get neglected. marcos highway is a cluster f***, as a write this. on a good day, it takes 40 minutes to get to town. on a bad day, a long as 2 hours.

    it takes a brave leader to step up and say enough is enough. while some thinks it’s too late for our city, it takes one good leader to lead the city in bringing back the natural “GREEN” state of baguio.

  22. The writer summed-up what is happening in our beloved Baguio. I myself had been thinking ways on how to rally behind Baguio’s sustainable development. I think that the massive apathetic attitude of even the “Baguio Old timers” as myself is sinking the city we were born, grew and loved to greater depths. Sadly, even protest to protect Baguio’s ecology is short lived, unsustainable if not becoming more of a fad and fund raising to benefit individuals and not the environment. Also, proposed solution are but lip service and band-aid solutions.

    There was a proposed project before to sustainably developed Baguio-Benguet area. It was so-called “BLISS” project. The project aims to support the sustainable development of the city and municipalities surrounding Baguio City. This will not only diffuse the concentration of people in the city but will also sustain the ecological balance of the city and its neighboring towns. Sadly, greed, politics and kickbaks went in the way before the project started.

    For the benefit of the city and the province of Benguet, it will be worth to look back on the original aim of the project and find ways to jointly implement it.

    1. Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-(and just recently)Tublay –BLISTT. As an ibaloi who lives in the area, not Baguio, i am not for this project. seems to me that Baguio is looking for ways to exploit the other municipalities’ resources because they have exhausted theirs’. Baguio has been reckless for years, now they try to tap neighboring municipalities’ resources. study the program first, then you will understand the sentiments of most of the municipalities identified in this BLISTT project.

      1. I agree. Baguio City should be developed as Baguio City. It’s not that resources are exhausted; the resources are mismanaged from the top AND the bottom, in both instances the mismanagers are dogyot immigrants who treat Baguio like a barrio.

  23. i think each one of us can be a good leader. i don’t think waiting for someone to step up would be enough. and besides, if that leader is somewhere out there, it’s up to us to show her/him that there would be support once she/he steps up.

  24. This is a great article! One that mirrors most of Baguioites sentiments, I am sure. You have captured so much truth in the present Baguio. It truly is sad how we have allowed such beautiful city lose all that it stands for. 11 years ago, it was a peaceful, clean, safe haven. I pray for more people like you. It will take a while for things to change but as long as we have people like you, it will eventually happen..

  25. Well said. Agree with most of the points, except the SM-trees issue (the trees, even if they die, will be replaced by the company. would we rather have the vehicles in the side of the road, making the narrow roads a single lane as often occurs in other parts of baguio? Also, it is within the property of the company. would you want me to tell you what to do in your own lot?)Still, the article is well made. Just to add, it is not just the execs, but also the council that made a mess of the city. Remember the councilor who nearly hit a city hall employee because the building about to be demolished in busol was a relative of his? That guy is still there, because he will be voted on until the end of the world by his kakailians, just like Domogan. But most of all, it chaffes on me that they keep on giving themselves hefty bonuses even though they are not doing a good job of running the city.Just ask a city hall employee how many bonuses they receive, and chances are that employee will not tell you, because it is a lot! IMO, one local newspaper is right – the people in city hall are nothing more than a mafia masquerading as civil servants. Looking for themselves rather than the city at large.

    1. *the owner of the building was a relative of his. The councilor may be a big POS, but he is definitely not related to a building, lol.

    2. with bonuses and kickbacks the senior guys are on close to10 million pesos a year of your money. just look at their houses and multiple cars.
      i see them all the time at the country club or the manor, again spending your money.

    3. The author is saying, we don’t need more vehicles, but more sustainable ways of transport. For example, bicycles are much more sustainable, good for health, good for the environment. Bicycle lanes is what we need.That’s how many developed countries commute, why don’t we upgrade also? And, why not find a design that wont cut trees and can still make the underground sewage system for the mall?

    1. … and the citizens who put such corrupt leaders in a pedestal. who to blame now? no matter how we bitch about the leaders if we don’t see our roles in perpetuating those leaders, nothing is gonna change.

  26. I was born and raised in Baguio. I still have to be called a Baguioite. Have not heard that word uttered by old timers before. I’m afraid you’re not speaking for the old timers. And may I ask what change are you hoping to achieve by writing this? It’s fine to provide a forum for folks to hyperventilate and complain and bash. We need that sometimes. But what concrete actions have you done to: straighten a distorted sense of environment, manage civil development, raise educational standards, submerge a feudal political system, and stir general passion.?.

  27. Why is it in the Philippines that the negative influences infect more than the positive ones? I’ve never been to Baguio but often heard of good things about the place years ago. But I knew now that’s all gone and people are left to just reminisce how it once was progressive and clean. Yeah, this country is such a beautiful greek tragedy.

  28. Great post! Very informative and very thought-provoking.
    I think the saddest part about this is the apathy permeating almost every aspect of the Baguio society.
    Streetlights pa nga lang eh ‘di na masunod. The point is, kung simpleng mga bagay lang hindi natin masunod, ‘pano pa kaya ‘yung mga mas malalaking problema na kinakaharap ng siyudad?

  29. I agree with you dude. The last time I visited Baguio in December of 2010 was so horrible because it’s becoming like Manila now. Kabi-kabilaan na ang mga sasakyan na naka-park sa mga daanan ng Burnham Park kaya mabagal ang usad ng mga sasakyan doon. Isama mo na rin yung gang war dyan every night lalo na sa Session Road. Kaya hindi na sya katulad noong 90’s in which maayos-ayos pa sya noon.

  30. It’s not the pinoy mentality that makes us do such deeds. It is the evil in us saturated with greed that makes them do this. I hate seeing articles like this always mentioning the “pinoy” mentality. Maybe if the media switched up their choice of words the impact of always seeing “pinoy mentality” will gradually be freed from our consciousness. Come on now.

    1. agree ^^ we gotta move away from the eurocentric brainwashing. the media i think has been consciously injecting positive associations with the “pinoy mentality” for a while now though. i think blaming “pinoy mentality” is a bit old-fashioned now, adds confusion as to what identity we’re supposed to adapt if we ditch being pinoy, and kind of slightly defeats the purpose of getting a nation together through a sense of affinity.

    2. Manuel Afable, are you the dad of my batchmate Miguel ? getrealphilippines.com is the brother of antipinoy.com. Which circulates on spreading the bad things about Filipinos. Sad.

      Do you have articles we can read?

  31. Sad but very true. I grew up in Baguio, studied from kinder to college. I miss the old setting of the city. Left the City 8years ago, then I went back last year for a holiday and was so surprised that The so called “Baguio is the place to be” doesn’t exist anymore, it’s now called “Baguio is the place for all the rubbish and foreign students( sorry not being racist here, I’m just saying) shame really that no one care about the city’s welfare anymore. I still remember I used to walk from Cabinet Hill to Session road all the time. And u can truly feel and smell the scent of pine trees, the fresh morning dew, the cold mist in the air…now all those has disappeared, all you can smell now are those stinky rubbish everywhere, the smell of ukay-ukay at session road….the toxic smoke from cars and jeepneys….crowded city….etc. And also all the tourist spots are not as good as before even the hang out place like bars and cafe, Looks like Baguio is turning to be a mad crazy city. Hate to say all these but it’s really true. Well let’s hope and pray that someone or local people of Baguio should do something. Also if the local government can do something and stop people smoking inside cafes,,restaurants and especially bars it’s just better for the health and for the environment. It’s never too late to bring the old Baguio lifestlye …we need right people and genuine officials to rebuild Baguio again.. Baguio city the place to be…..

  32. thank you for the post!just like you i was born and grew at baguio.i love baguio but sad to say i leaved my hometown.your article broughts out the reality of what is baguio today

  33. have not been back to baguio in ages; we used to stay at friend’s vacation homes along south road during holy week and summer school breaks and cherished that “baguio atmosphere” :
    cool pine-smelling environment
    fresh veggies and flowers
    session road
    folk house ( off session road)
    really nice friendly people
    burnham park
    lourdes
    etc

    i will still cherish those memories and visit in the near future and love baguio as it is. its up to me…

  34. Baguio is the Best City . That Every one be Must be proud of it .The Chartered City, The Summer Capital and the highest City of the Philippines .Every Citizen of Baguio specially those who where born are very lucky and been Blessed. They Have the progressive thinking to adapt good Environment .. People of Baguio can live , Stay in any Country they like . Easy for them to adjust the living condition specially the Environment . Looking Back ,Where we came from .. WHAT REALLY HAPPEND TO THE CITY ,THAT WE LOVE AND PROUD OF .The City That Nurtured us during our younger days. WE CRIED
    What Happened to the City Officials that we Voted and Trust to carry on the Task given to them by the people .Where is the LEGACY
    now that People cant find what really happened .They are know in a process suing them to Court . Local Officials , Taking Advantage Of the City .Now Is the time for all concern to sign the Petition..
    Good Luck to all..

  35. Baguio is the Best City . That Every one be Must be proud of it .The Chartered City, The Summer Capital and the highest City of the Philippines .Every Citizen of Baguio specially those who where born are very lucky and been Blessed. They Have the progressive thinking to adapt good Environment .. People of Baguio can live , Stay in any Country they like . Easy for them to adjust the living condition specially the Environment . Looking Back ,Where we came from .. WHAT REALLY HAPPEND TO THE CITY ,THAT WE LOVE AND PROUD OF .The City That Nurtured us during our younger days. WE CRIED
    What Happened to the City Officials that we Voted and Trust to carry on the Task given to them by the people .Where is the LEGACY
    now that People cant find what really happened .They are now in a process suing them to Court . Local Officials , Taking Advantage Of the City .Now Is the time for all concern to sign the Petition..
    Good Luck to all..

    1. What went wrong was that we allowed human trash to settle in Baguio, under the pretense that “they aren’t doing anything wrong (awan met dakdakes da)”. That human trash took advantage of the kindness and laid-back manner of Baguio people, and ruined the rest of the City. You can bet that real Baguio people are but 40% of the current population, and the rest are trash that vote for fellow trash like Domogan and Vergara.

      Time to take the City back!

  36. i love this article and completely agree with it. it bothers me to know also that the city always aims at tourism and yet routes for the wrong kind. i wonder, how can an establishment be a tourist destination when what we need are the trees to become the destination? people come to baguio, the city of pines and yet when they come here they see a mall staring them in the face…just speaking out..=)

  37. Baguio is dead! Except for the chilly air, Baguio is exactly like Metro Manila — FUGLY! It doesn’t take a mall to ruin it. It’s residents are all to blame.

    1. Blame blame blame!I do not agree with you that Baguio is exactly like Metro Manila. You’re better off staying in the “low lands” if you harbor low life sentiments about Baguio. They don’t need you to foul up their sewage system. Who’s FUGLY now?

      1. Well the chance is there, but there is no one person or group who possess the political will and discipline to act on the “chance” that might still be there. No one has the balls to turn things around. The history of the world is full of great cities that have come and gone. Baguio can now be added to that unfortunate group. The crooked and unscrupulous but powerful groups have triumphed over the good but impotent citizens of Baguio.

        1. tourist are the garbage generator in baguio, no tourist, no restaurant, less population, less garbage.
          what if the government will tourism business?

        2. To jinks:
          It would be a silly idea to deny tourists the opportunity to see the beauty and splendor of Baguio. Baguio for all its years of existence is world renowned for its tourism attributes. If you don’t like tourists, then you should go and live in the barrios so that you can be with the same folks day in and day out and eat the same food everyday in your kitchen. The problem is political mismanagement that is compounded by deep seated corruption. Mabuhay Baguio!

  38. WHAT should WE do to save Baguio from these politicians and businessman who are powerful and wealthy?
    We have to act NOW before its too late.
    Lets all be One for this battle. Our home (Baguio) is waiting for us. We have to SAVE her.

  39. am sorry but we Igorots from Baguio don’t call ourselves Baguiote’s rather yBaguio or e-Baguio, i don’t know how linguist term it but that is the way we call a person from a place.. just like saying yPangasinan, yTuba..etc..

    1. I don’t think that labelling oneself as Baguioite or yBaguio is the problem. If you are either of these designations you are a Baguio resident who used to be referred as “taga Baguio”. Baguioite has a funny spelling and it sounds idiotic.
      The problems that plague Baguio come from the greed and personal aspirations of Filipinos who want to become rich by allowing business of all kinds to take over the city and abuse its resources. I don’t think that Baguio will ever be as it was before when it was just the small mountain City Of Pines. There is absolutely no leadership that can stop the development of malls and similar establishments that can generate more waste and garbage. The allure of kickbacks and bribes is too irresistible for any Filipino politician or leader to overcome. They are in there positions to generate personal wealth.

  40. sayang sa baguio san ako magreretire gusto ko sanang bumili ng bahay buti nalang nabasa ko ang blog na ito..

  41. Greetings

    I am an American, yes, in love with a Filipino woman and plan on retiring and moving to the Philippines. As I love mountains, natural environment, green, clean air, I thought about Baguio. I asked several neighbors who are Filipino about Baguio, they had not been there in years but all agreed it was beautiful. Where I live, there is a large Filipino community.
    Sadly, after reading this my hopes dwindle. We are NOT looking for a place near a beach, too crowded, looking for clean air, green, mountains! Gee, is there any place close to Baguio that might still have old world charm?

    Rob

    1. Yes of course. Just about an hour away down ambuclao road is a place called bokod. Further down is bobok. This place is so serene and reminds me of the old baguio I used to know. I was at sagada last month, it also has d same natural environ as baguio. I would love to go back there.r

  42. …the baguio syndicate are composed of city officials, National Commission on Indigenous people, and the Local tribes. binibenta nila ang lupa ng baguio(camp john hay reservation, watersheds)for their own profits.

  43. No. Just no. How dare you. You just wrote about the negative side. What about the positive side? I am from Baguio. I would like to agree with everything that you said but NO. Just NO. Baguio is still a beautiful place to live in. Times change. You have to move on. Baguio is better than ever. I live here and what I see is not perfect, nothing is. I have visitors form all over the world come up to Baguio and they would always compare it to some beautiful city they have been to. They would always thank me for showing them the Beauty of Baguio. When they leave, they would always tell me how they wish they are in Baguio now. You know what, I think you need to change your perspective. Look at the positive side. Then write about it.

    1. How dare me? If you want “positivity,” then please indulge yourself on the countless other websites out there that deal with Baguio’s “positive side.” I’m sure you’ll be more than happy to feel good about them.

      As for me, I write based on facts (in case you haven’t noticed yet, the links in my article prove them).

      1. I believe you’re not a tunnel vision writer. comments and reactions may be taken out from positive or negative point of view depending on the reader. I would appreciate and be more delighted if you stop counterbarking comments as it diminishes your level as a good writer. just let them be coz you already made your point. cheers

    2. The concerns outlined are valid. I understand how we feel defensive because something we love and appreciate is criticized and we feel that the positive aspects is not valued at all. I don’t think that’s what the article is trying to say.

      These problems are real, these “imperfections” that you suggest we ‘move on from’ can be really problematic. I lived in Baguio until 2007, moved away and came to visit in summer 2013 for several months. My time away gave me a more objective perspective I believe. I have seen the drastic differences. I lived in Bakakeng area and with the new SLU Campus built after I left, I felt how much more crowded the area is and in many places the trees are replaced by houses and buildings. I can’t walk up the roads to ride a jeepney or even along Session Road without coughing because of the smoke. My boyfriend got really sick (wheezing cough and cold) and the doctor at SLU actually said that his lungs reacted to the pollution in the city. It was election time too, and I keep on hearing people say things about politicians doing things they are not supposed to do to persuade voters. When I went to the ‘forest trail’ in Camp John Hay, I saw signs that a part of the area will be converted into a coffee plantation.

      Caring for the environment, being worried about the city’s capacity and criticizing the destructive mentality of people who should care is not a bad thing. It hurt me too, it felt like a mirror highlighting the not-so-pretty truth. But the positive thing to do is to find solutions, right? Seems like you still live in Baguio right now, unfortunately I’m too far away. Maybe being there, you hold some power and ability to keep improving the city in small and big ways.

    3. Nakaka lungkot pero totoo po ito…sa pag dami ng tao, sumabay din ang pag taas ng crime rate lalo na nung dumamaing muslim…hindi po ako racist or ano pa man pero ito po ang obserbasyon ko, nung dumaming muslim sa BAguio mas dumaming krimen…Yung pine Tree na semento na proyekto ni Vergara ay isang katangahan..sa dami ng puno sa baguio kung anong na isip nya at nag pagawa ng sementong pine tree…sana po e mapalitan na ang mga local officials natin na mga salot …

    4. seriously? are you a genuine yBaguio? i’ve spent all my life here in Baguio and the glaring flaws and monstrosities the writer broached in her article are dead on. Baguio is a burgeoning disappointment. Yes, there are numerous facets of Baguio that remain worthwhile and precious however, i am certain that old residents of Baguio share the same sentiments and educated observation as those of the writer. wake up and smell the coffee!

  44. I’ve read about these type of litanies before but none offered any solution. I wonder what the article is for. Telling us what we ALREADY know doesn’t help. Also, some points that needs some clarifications:

    1. /A DISTORTED SENSE OF ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS./ Sweeping statement. Where’s the proof? Where’s the research/study behind this? When you say something is distorted, it means something used to be ‘un-distorted’.
    Proof anyone?

    2. /The city planners who created Baguio were aware that the Spanish setup in urban planning was not appropriate, where the Church was always at the center of things. The Americans however created an urban plan for Baguio that put government and recreation at the focus of city life, hence Burnham Park./??? Spanish presence in Baguio? All of the major churches in Baguio were built by Belgian Missionaries. Americans created Burnham Park and other facilities because they wanted a mountain retreat.

    3. /However, many educators are now aware that many of these Baguio-based educational institutions rely on what is popularly known as “diploma mill” mentality. Simply put, a school cares little if you learned something or not, for as long as that school has more students, and thus more profits./ Sweeping statement. No reference. No study conducted. UP Baguio is a center of excellence in Humanities and Biological Sciences. SLU is one of the top universities in Asia and the Philippines. UC is one of the top universities with most number of centers of excellence and has produced (2) Bar topnotchers.

    4. /Baguioites (including myself) have fallen into a collective “I-don’t-care” attitude about the City they live in./ Has there been study about this? A simple survey perhaps?

    Research din po tayo pag may time.

    1. 1 – Please read the essay again, and click on the links posted. Does a sense of distortion require a comprehensive research study, when you yourself say that you already know that these things happen?

      2 – Please read the essay again. Apparently you did NOT read the portion of that essay right. Where does the essay mention that the Spanish planned Baguio?

      3 – Please read the essay again. Does it say that the universities you mentioned were diploma mills?

      4 – Please read the essay again, and see #1. It’s one thing to say that more research is needed, it’s another for a commentor to not read an essay properly.

      1. The point is, no amount of pulitzer-worthy essays will solve this problem specially if these essays do not offer practical solutions. If only we have more innovators versus flawless, ideal, immaculate, impeccable, incorruptible, indefectible thought leaders…

  45. Nakaka lungkot pero totoo po ito…sa pag dami ng tao, sumabay din ang pag taas ng crime rate lalo na nung dumamaing muslim…hindi po ako racist or ano pa man pero ito po ang obserbasyon ko, nung dumaming muslim sa BAguio mas dumaming krimen…Yung pine Tree na semento na proyekto ni Vergara ay isang katangahan..sa dami ng puno sa baguio kung anong na isip nya at nag pagawa ng sementong pine tree…sana po e mapalitan na ang mga local officials natin na mga salot …

  46. Author! Author! Kudos to you for this well-written piece. Should you run for office, you have my first vote. Yes, we need more voices like yours expressing our frustrations and grievances, not only about Baguio for starters, but concerning the Philippines as a whole. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  47. I grew up in Baguio. At a time when you “almost knew every face you met on the streets… knew every car that went up and down Session Rd…”
    Last time I visited was in the last millennium. I can just imagine the extreme changes it has undergone since then. Sadly, mostly bad, from what I gather. To me and many of my friends, the Baguio we remember has become a sort of a Camelot. A mythical place that once existed.

  48. I was there earlier this month and except for the weather and a few landmarks, the famed city is sadly like being in Manila. Politics & greed has turned Baguio into an overcrowded mess of a city. If you need to go around though, I suggest using a bicycle.

  49. What ever happened to the BLIST project which aimed to decongest the city and urbanize the neighboring municipalities of Bokod, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan and Tuba.

    The situation in Baguio is pathetic but the truth always hurts. Instead of magnifying the problem, why don’t we instead seek solutions to the problem.

    1. Well okay! What solutions do you have in mind given the pervasive graft and corruption that exists in the political system?

  50. I love my hometown.
    The taxi divers still give the exact change, a sign that somewhere underneath all that commercialization and consumerism, some form of old baguio still lives.

  51. Thanks for this post. I am looking for more info regarding Baguio as part of my own esearch as I am about to move there from the U.S. to develop a specialized medical practice that can benefit millions of Filipinos (once successful). I am a Filipino but naturalized American, a former military and a Muslim.

    It is good to see varying and polar perspectives in many different matters. I am coming in from a medical and business perspective. The way I see Baguio (which I visited a month ago) is that it is thriving and has a lot of potential. It is a bit cramped from how I imagined it, but nevertheless, it’s a beautiful place. And similar to other cities, it’s busy primarily in the business areas as well as where the schools are at.

    From an outsder looking in, yes – there are the common issues of pollution, lack of infrastructure, etc. but maybe not as bad as Manila. I also have local friends in the U.S. and know that people of Baguio are beautiful people (Filipino hospitality at its best, etc.). but there are also a lot of good things for sure! As one of the responses in this blog, there has to be action starting from individuals if they want to make a change. In this respect, my goal, once established in Baguio, is to live with the locals and contribute to the community with environmental projects, or anything that offers positive change for the community.

    There are, of course, other challenges for my family, particularly as one had mentioned about Muslims causing an increase in crime; though unfortunately, that’s a pretty common misconception in many places I had been, nevertheless, that does not deter me nor my family in engaging the community. I believe that regardless of one’s background, if they are truly concerned with the community, doing something positive is the best thing that can be done individually until it grows into a bigger movement that can eventually make a bigger change.

    Looking forward to living in Baguio! See you all there soon.

    positively yours,
    khem

    1. Hi there; for all its faults Baguio is still in many ways a better place to live in than Manila.

      As for crimes committed by Muslims, I personally have yet to see any concrete evidence to prove that this demographic is the cause for a rising trend.

  52. Here is one eco-friendly idea – how about turning Baguio into THE EBIKE CAPITAL OF THE PHIILIPPINES?

    Biking in Baguio is not easy. eBikes have pedal assist. You still pedal so it is a work out. But it has a motor to assist when going uphill. No smoke, no noise, and makes more intelligent use of road space. What’s more, it could make for a new kind of eco-tourism attraction for Baguio.

    For safety, some of the roads should be converted to dedicated eBike networks that would allow one to go anywhere important in Baguio.

    What to do with all the private cars? These would be restricted to the peripheries. Increase road user taxes, parking fees, toll fees, etc. – This is how they do it in some of the overcrowded first world cities.

    How about the tourist private cars – these would be restricted to outside the city limits where there would be parking areas, PUV terminals and eBike rental terminals. Some cars can be given special passes, for an exorbitant fee of course, and in limited areas only. Car’s for the elderly and handicapped will have special privileges.

    Of course, utility vehicles and PUVs will be given priority inside the city. Scrap the jeepney franchise system, have it replaced with some sort of bus rapid transit system – “jeepney rapid”. Get all the excess jeepney drivers new jobs.

    How to get this implemented? Get Dick Gordon or Bayani Fernando as consultants. I know they are not Baguioites. But they are good “engineers of change”. Just look at how these two transformed Olonggapo, SBMA, Red Cross, Marikina, MMDA/EDSA. Run of the mill TraPos just won’t cut it.

    Please visit UP Diliman Academic Oval on a Sunday – It is a biker’s/jogger’s paradise. I might just give you a good glimpse of Baguio’s future streets.

    1. Well, the automobiles are essentials and I can’t see the ebikes as replacements. If anything, they’ll just add more to the already congested traffic and cause more accidents to happen.

      1. You might want to do a little more research on how cities in more progressive countries manage congestion. Everybody here seems to be wishing for some magic depopulation of Baguio. That will never happen.

  53. dyan kayo magaling magkumento at magcriticize. agmula kayo kitdin pine tree paraangan u , adda pay maitulong u. gumawa ng article na englis with good grammar lang naman kayo magaling

    1. Apay apo, ti panagmula lang aya ti mayat nga tulong? Nu haan ko nga insurat datoy, baka awan ti makaammo nu anya ti mangyang-yari ditoy Baguio; datoy ti tulong nga inted ko. Haan met amin nga tao kaya nga agmula.

      1. agpaypayso ka met nga talaga pasalamat kami kenka…..culture shock….dagijay ag komento ti negatibo…dagijay ti han nga nai yanak tuy….handa nakadakelan ti kultura tayu….I am proud to be born and raised up here….Baguio Boy Ngarud…

    2. With the different ethnic tribes in our country, it is with distinct honor that the Igorots are the best when using the English dialect. Whether writing or speaking, we are unique in our ability to comprehend the language better than any other tribe. I agree with the author, and it’s thinking like Ken’s that will ultimately destroy our city. Planting is one way to do your part but so is being able to put forth your sentiments in the hope that people will understand and hopefully reflect. Baguio still has a chance.

      1. At saan naman nanggaling ang sentimyento na tayong mga igorot ang pinakamahusay pagdating sa english language? Hindi ba masyadong self patronizing to? Did u even consider that this is not a ‘tribal thing’ like you mentioned? Pwede bang huwag na lang tayong mag-assume na tayo lang ang magaling? It’s sad to think that people think this way. It’s disheartening how we have become- superior kuno….

  54. I saw a photo of Hagdan-hagdang Palayan where there are few (still few) specks of modern structure/houses on the steps. Even if there’s not many of it compared to the hill/mountainside full of houses, it already is a great eye sore to the whole landscape. After looking at the “Eighth Wonder of the World” (untouched beauty for many generations) with something like that, first thing that came to mind is the place was trespassed and the law to protect a world/national heritage is violated. There are people who should answer to this, right? What’s the stand of the city leaders and DENR to this given that they are the authority who can restrict the present and foreseeable damage?

    I haven’t been to Baguio but I heard a lot of good things about the place. It is often enlisted to the “Place I Want to Visit” amongst the Filipinos (included also in my list if only I can get over the zig zag road worries), included in the tourist spots promoted by DOT and those who’ve been there. It is true that only those who’ve lived in a certain place for years can tell the difference. Had I not read the most recent articles about “the other side of Baguio”, I would’ve not thought that Baguio has reached the level of collapse other poor populated cities are experiencing.

  55. This blog is true on many levels. I too have been observing Baguio for a long time and what this blogger is saying is spot on. Sad to say but Baguio will go downhill from now on. If people keeps coming here and takes residency like it did this past decade. Gov’t is clearly not ready on the booming population. Politics really a bitch…

  56. the only reason why Baguio is deteriorating is because of the presence of Muslims. these dogyot and good for nothing spawns of hell should be beheaded and displayed at burnham park.

  57. As a Baguio person, it’s my fault as well that the City has emerged into this, a small yet powerful reflection of what the Philippines is today. The idea that Baguio (and thus the Philippines) can be better is of course an attainable vision, but to go along with the status quo is one thing that I simply cannot do. I do not want to bash the City I was born in and grew up in nearly all my life, however I find no harm in stating the facts as they are. It’s a cliche I have to live with, but t the very least I started the change by writing this.
    ========
    I think this is the first time I read something as sincere and as profound as the above.

    I’m so used to people disowning whatever connection they have to a place and proceed to bash and criticize it and the people there as if they’re attacking something either alien to them or something they’ve outgrown and got tired of that any expectation of hope must be squashed.

    Unlike the recent post I put up about somebody who is an ‘outsider’ talking about the country, the above statement came from somebody who is at the center of it all not because he happened to be there but he was from there. He was the native son of the place.

    Does that mean what was said was all true? Not necessarily, but when you come across a story where the author is a major part of, it’s gonna be a hell of a job questioning its credibility.

  58. Bakit ba nagsisisihan pa tayo’t nagtuturuan? Totoo namang problema ng mahal nating bayang kinalakhan iyan. Ang tanong ko ngayon ay may maibibigay ba kayong solusyon sa mga problemang nabangit? Ang pag-puna ay isang bagay. Subalit mas mainam kung may kalutasan din kayong maimungkahi man lang.

    Isa pa, sinisisi ninyo ang mga pulitiko. Sino ba ang nagluklok sa kanila diyan (sa mga nagdaang dekada)?

    Sa mga komento may mga naninisi ng mga taga-baba. Masama pa pati mga kapatiran nating Maranao at Maguindanao pinaparatangan. Kung nakikita ninyong problema sila, anong solusyon para magawang mamuhay ng lahat ng payapa at may pagkakaisa ang lahat? Hindi po ibang bansa ang Baguio. Kahit sinong Pilipino ay may karapatan nang manahan kung saan man niya piliin. Naiintindihan ko dahil nakipagsapalaran din ako dito sa Maynila. Wala akong nadama sa kanilang pangungutya o paninisi sa gulo o dumi ng lugar.

    Di rin natin maikakailang madumi na nga ang hangin sa Baguio. Sasakyan ang may kasalanan. Ang tanging naiisip kong solusyon ay magandang tularan ang systema ng Singapore kung saan kakailanganin mo ng lisensya (na mas mahal pa sa sasakyang aariin) upang makontrol ang dami ng bilang ng sasakyan. Ipaalala niyo sa lahat na masarap maglakad lakad sa lungsod na ito.

    Bulabugin niyo ang mga pulitiko. Wag niyo sila bigyan ng pahinga hanga’t wala silang ginagawang makabuluhan at pangmatagalang solusyon. Ang kwento ng Baguio ay maaring maging kwento ng Paris.

  59. The leaders of Baguio should do something to improve our beloved city.. There is always a solution to every problem . Learn from other countries. Problems is this.. Politics. They won’t do anything to offend the voters.. Example the garbage problem.. After so many years still they cannot find a solution in collecting the garbage.. Specially session road.. The restaurant should have install compactors .. There are ways .. I really hope the dept of sanitation will try to do there work .. Get an expert..

  60. i stopped reading the moment i saw the words : Americans’ most tangible gift to the country…

    are you serious?

    the rest of the article may actually be good, but sorry i could not get past that!

    1. You’re narrow minded and sadly stuck in colonial mentality. What have you done to enhance or promote the status of Baguio?

  61. Changing Baguio must be collective act from everyone who visits Baguio… We may not know it, but we may also, ( in some sort) once part in the destruction of the city in our own little actions, nevertheless,do what you can share – lets start with the simplest things that you can think of (examples but not limited to reporting smoke belching, getting your car tested as needed, PUJs over your car, acquiring a bldg permit in the construction of houses, observing traffic rules etc)

      1. Well CBA, your ideas are either comical or downright asinine. What in the world is “smoke belching”? How do visitors implement your ideas? I see bigger problems for Baguio when people like you start proposing ideas that are absurd and unrealistic that borders on folly and stupidity. Go get some brain cells!

  62. Bitching each one is creat everybody’s headach about what went wrong to the Cit of Baguio as we all know its smell pine trees specially early morning. Why don’t we just help each other suggesting to the authorothy of the city like our Mayor Domogan what missing on our earth Baguio so if possible those smell will return to the land like cleanliness rathar than bramming why why hey!!!!!?… Please help our leaders to think whats good to the Baguio. We both incorporate our HUMANLY MENTALITY TO SUPORT RATHER THAN TALK TALK. Published words of meaning. BOW!

    1. Esther, honey, you need to study or learn how to write English to be able to express your fairy tale ideas in an international posting forum like getrealphilippines.com. I will tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with bitching or whining and complaining because these exercises bring forth important issues and concerns into the forefront. Now, I am so curious to know from you as to what one or we collectively can do to bring back the smell of pines in the city of pines. Don’t just sit on your ass and be an unsolicited adviser. Propose something with structure that can bond the citizens of Baguio to rise against the corrupt politicians.

  63. Today, November 13, 2017, I have experienced what I never imagined I would. As a foreign national, I moved away from Manila to Baguio, expecting to live in a more peaceful place, away from the crowded places as I don’t like them. Little I knew that Baguio is actually the most crowded place in all of the Philippines. The most overcrowded place I’ve seen in my entire life and I’ve seen some. To my knowledge city local population is not that much of a problem. The problem is the people coming from outside the city. The people that don’t live here. When you have half of the country coming here at the same time, everything is collapsed.

    The taxis are collapsed, any overpass you try to use is collapsed, traffic is collapsed. SM is collapsed. Back in my country we normally avoid too crowded places. In our mentality, when we know a place will be too crowded we will just go to any other place. Not here. Even if most people know Baguio will be absolutely collapsed because of so many people, they will still come here. They don’t care, it’s like there is no other place in the fucking country to go. It is the “pinoy” mentality indeed.

    The mayor of the city should put in place incoming vehicle restrictions. Incoming people restrictions. All of this especially during holidays. Yes of course fucking everyone wants to come here and collapse everything in every holiday. The bus companies are very happy filling their pockets and filling Baguio with people who don’t live here at all. The place is already too crowded as it is, more people is absolutely not needed and something I don’t welcome at all.

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