Baguio city was once, and still is, a well loved vacation spot so different from the rest of the country that visitors go there to make memories. What family album is not complete with pictures in that idyllic city?
The Americans that once colonized us started it as a minjg town and turned it into the restful, quiet and idyllic vacation spot worthy of poets and writers seeking solace amid their own meanderings.
In the decades that followed, the gentle climate and thickly layered culture continued to draw millions to enjoy its parks and manicured attractions.
The last 30 years, however, have seen urban expansion and population growth that slowly revealed how Baguio city has reached a point where it has exceeded its natural carrying capacity.
The traffic and urban decay that this brings can surely turn the idyllic vacation to one that tourists would rather forget. Remember that Baguio was an early adopter of a Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Scheme owing to the heavy traffic.
Urban poor colonies interlaced with properties on mountainsides on unsafe footing exacerbate landslide risks. Poor wastewater management pollutes waterways all the way to the Lingayen gulf.
We can only blame years of governance that did little to preserve the Baguio of long ago. This includes both government and nongovernment actors which could have worked together to take a stand for the city they love.
Or we all who love Baguio could have spoken up long ago when the decay began, or we can push current government to fix it as best it can.
As it has been devastated by typhoon Ompong we can only hope that whatever is rebuilt is better, and brings back the Baguio we once and still love.