Beating the heat the best way

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SUMMERTIME, that’s what we’re all in now. It’s when Baguio’s legendary temperature ascends several notches up, enough for lowlanders to come up quick for even a day or two of respite from the sweltering heat. It’s when residents like you and I and the rest of us tell long-missed kinfolk to spend a few days up here, reminisce the good ol’days when summertime was the summertime of memories as golden as yesteryears.

How ready are we to receive the usual horde of summer lovers who are just aching to beat the heat the best chance they have? Do we have enough water for the everyday activities of consumption? Last we heard, it’s still on a twice or even thrice a week rationing in most households. Our water sources are just about to hit bottom-rock levels. Watershed sites are just not producing enough of the precious liquid, so essential for daily consumption.

Do we have in place effective contingency plans to address the monstrous traffic congestion that more vehicles coming up here will certainly cause? Surely, the tourist influx will inundate most roadways, enough to generate jams at every known choke points, enough to eject the poisonous gases up there to make pollution issues more critical, enough to pose health safety concerns, enough to immobilize for hours just about everyone from point to point of destinations, enough for lowlander visitors to say enough is enough.

Okay, okay, we’re a tourist city, we’re so used to being besieged by the throng of visitors coming up here for the slightest hint of a reason, given the abbreviated land travel they now enjoy. It’s their money that makes tourism hereabouts hum merrily at the cash register. Want a piece of Baguio air to breathe, come up now and brave the small inconveniences. Want to see the sights, hear the sounds, and feel the sense of being nearest the Philippine skies, come up now and experience Baguio’s legendary summer thrills.

Not enough water, too much traffic, not much to do? It should be okay for our visitors to endure all that, enough for them to live it out a few days up here, rather than sweat it out in blistering heat elsewhere. It should be okay for them to experience a sense of Baguio’s unique weather system, even at so much self-sacrifice willingly offered for momentary relief.

We have said it time and again: being in Baguio is all about caring and sharing, between and among our own residents and the visitors. It’s all about the precious environment that Baguio has beyond compare, unequalled in its uniqueness, the very pristine natural setting from which floral resources have grown in full splendor, the very richness that remains unmatched anywhere else, not the beach resorts now threatening to shut down, not the other valley-cradled staycations offering playtime activities at sky-rocketing costs, not other summer places with not much to offer other than the usual Philippine landscape scenes available elsewhere.

Baguio is where we hold a high premium on her natural beauty and allure, anchored on a 24-hour air conditioning system that remains constantly cool and rejuvenating. It is what residents like you and I and the rest of us all wish to be preserved, nurtured, care for, regenerated from time to time, in brief, to be managed well enough simply for generations next to enjoy and bequeath to succeeding stewards.

To our guests, we may not have much to offer by way of recreation, but we do have much of romance, much of relief, much of restoration that can recharge tired, weary bodies from the plain exhaustion of life. Walking around Baguio is chief of them, walking the extra mile — instead of being marooned in a vehicular contraption called motorized convenience — is an added wonder of a lifetime. If you haven’t tried it, you’ll surely miss seeing the flowers erupting in summer colors along the way. If you haven’t felt it, you’ll certainly sense the infinitely slow thrust of pine trees struggling to reach the heavens.

To our fellow residents, let’s share time to showcase the vaunted Baguio hospitality. Lead in showing the way to the good life when going green every step of the way. Make our guests act responsibly in keeping the surroundings immaculately clean and litter-less. Remind them that Baguio is a Hall of Famer national champion as the cleanest and greenest highly urbanized city. We desire nothing less than for our visitors to do their part in fostering all-around greenery.

Summertime in Baguio is just about living life the right way when the heat is too much to bear, when struggling it out amid the frustration of the days merely generates unwanted waste — waste of body and mind. After all, we’re not the Summer Capital of the nation for nothing but the summer excitement of being here to experience life to the fullest.

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