Monday, October 08, 2007

Baguio: Save Burnham Park from more development!

Just received some horrible news from Baguio City! They are planning to build a bus terminal and multi-level vending station in Burnham Park. Some Baguio City officials really do not know how to preserve the city's heritage and the little charm it has left. The proponent is Councilor Perlita Rondez, chair of the tourism committee of the Baguio City Council. I hope this project is stopped. Let's keep what's left of Burnham Park an open space!

At least Councilor Elaine Sembrano, chair of market, trade and commerce committee, said that “vending in parks must not be encouraged.” For more details, read Burnham Park market, parking area mulled.

Related article
Here are some excerpts from Remember Teachers Camp?:
"The distinct Baguio identity of mountainous terrain with green-and-white architecture nestled under pine trees is fast vanishing. The single largest remaining ensemble of that identity survives in Teachers Camp. Although no other city in Asia or in the Philippines has an identity like Baguio's, the identity today is vanishing rapidly.

"Unregulated development has caused Baguio to lose its luster as the Philippines' most popular mountain retreat. Nondescript concrete buildings and residences have replaced the traditional green-and-white architecture. Informal settlers' shanties now cover urban mountain vistas, once open green spaces, in sheets of rusted tin roofing.

"Pine trees, once a familiar sight of Baguio landscape, have practically disappeared. Heritage, whether urban, architectural, or landscape, neither protected by legislation or by zoning, does not appear to be within the sphere of interest of most city authorities and residents, therefore urban and architectural heritage is going fast, and vanishing rapidly also is its landmark umbrella of pines and multicolored flowers.

"Present-day Baguio is homogenizing into the generic, typical look of 21st-century Philippine cities. Only its mountainous terrain now reminds us that once this was the glorious Summer Capital of our Land and the only American Hill Station in Asia.

"Since Baguio mystique and tradition are practically gone today, it is necessary to maintain whatever is left of its urban, architectural, and environmental traditions for the future."
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