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."


  1. Anonymous8.10.07

    so sad that the most visible human artifact in baguio is SM. you can see it from miles away especially at night when it pollutes the darkness with bright light. baguio's changed so much it brings a tear to my eyes whenever i flip through our old albums and see baguio in the 70s.

  2. Anonymous8.10.07

    this is terrible news.

  3. Anonymous8.10.07

    We used to live just along the perimeter of Burnham Park, on Kisad Road. From school, I would walk thriough the park, it was so much quiet and uncrowded then. You onky see a smattering of vendors and photographers. I can't imagine what will happen given this new development in the guise of progress...

  4. Anonymous8.10.07

    This is madness! Hopefully another big earthquake would hit Baguio and level all the tall/big buildings. Just kidding. :D

  5. I hope this madness stops! Let's move for the heritage ordinance for Baguio!

  6. Anonymous9.10.07

    It's more of a nighmare on Burham Park! If that will go on throughout the Philippines there will be no historical areas to speak off! Just like Mehan Garden in Manila Park N' Ride et al..........

  7. Anonymous11.10.07

    Hi Ivan,

    Many times I cannot understand how people think and how people work. Public servants especislly the elected ones, should be the first to lead in conservation and preservation of our culture, heritage, and the environment. But it seems money is the be-all and end-all of their actuations. While P1.5 M is not a measly amount, the city of Baguio I'm sure can manage to earn the same amount or even nmore if they collect taxes adequately and not desecrating nature's beauty. Thanks for taking the cudgel for this.

    Tita Letty

  8. Anonymous11.10.07

    another one down the drain...

  9. i couldn't agree more. baguio has been my second home and i am disheartened to see that the culture is fast dissipating. if you happen to go there now, almost one half of it is already owned by foreigners (mostly koreans), and now, with this development in burnham, i think we will soon lose the essence of Baguio.

  10. This is such sad, awful news. The Baguio that I knew growing up seems to be long gone.
    Is there any ongoing effort or an org that is working towards stopping this senselessness and pushing to recover the city's old charm?

  11. i agree, i was surprised at the drastic change in baguio during my recent visit to the so-called city of pines..(what pines?) there are a lottttt of vendors everywhere most especially around Burnham Park. It's super polluted too that you can no longer take a deep breath and savor the cold air without getting lung cancer. :-/

  12. what's wrong with rondez, she used to be a maverick politician trying to make some change in baguio, i thought before it was for the betterment of our baguio but albeit its was for the worse... alas, what has become of her....


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