Stepping up, Scaling high

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SEVERAL THINGS are unmistakably looking up, as we near the endline of Alert Level 1. First, increased mobility is inducing increased economic activities, which is good for an eventual recovery for an economy that has grounded far too long. Second, Baguio’s borders have been loosened down in erstwhile restrictions, letting in tourists and visitors aching to have a feel of what Baguio is nowadays — safer, smarter, and confidently equipping everything to sustain hard-won gains. Finally, we’re all gearing up for the eventual turn at road’s end, ready to be part of a New Normal that Mayor Benjie keeps on saying “the better New Normal.”

Last weekend, the twice botched up Panagbenga festival — Baguio’s iconic event that used to pack in hordes of tourists by the millions in pre-pandemic years — had its rousing kick-off, all curtains up, to embellish the city with the uplifting spirit to mark its readiness. Despite the subdued circumstances, the Baguio Flower Festival sprang back to life, wowing the tourists who must have surely come up to experience anew the ecstacy of being part of it all.

The interactive engagement could not but recall the glory and grandeur of halcyon years when by the millions, the horde just couldn’t be checked from the euphoric climes so freely immersed in. Ah Panagbenga, for the chance of being part of it all, body and soul, all in and all out.

Perhaps by next year, Panagbenga will erupt in enrapting grandeur, enough to showcase how resilient Baguio, as a city among the leading, if not the pace-setting, localities with the bravura of making things happen. In the last two years, Baguio’s Flower Festival just had to be put off if only to make sure none of the tourist hordes would infect the locals or be infected themselves at the very height of Alpha and Beta variants and later on the deadlier version in Delta.

So super-scared has been the populace, for such a super-spreader of an event. To the last man and woman, each one was then deeply immersed in dread, anxiety, concern that the Panagbenga would shoot the infection cases right through the roof.

Without the centerpiece road activities, this year’s Panagbenga still managed to draw in appreciate ohs and ahs and well done remarks everytime kids would gyrate to the beat of the iconic Panagbenga hymn.

While other public activities are going on, make a resolve: Be part of Panagbenga, as you have always been. And beat the beejesus of the still lingering covid-19. No matter that this virus still lingers to its gasping last, keep the spirit up. Omicron has turned into a nasty bad cold, nothing that a few days of home-rest will not rid of.

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EVER VISITED the Botanical Garden Park of late?

This institutional promenade facility along Leonard Wood Road was re-opened to public promenading, as it used to host, but this time under perhaps the most breath-taking major make-over.

As attested by artists and artisans who had an hour tour of the renovated grounds, the Botanical Park has become a natural standout, having gone through a meticulous the re-development that the city government did, something that shows seriousness of resolve, and resoluteness of intention.

Mayor Benjie could not have expressed it in clearer, resounding terms. The Botanical grounds now have an impressive look-over, equipped with sectionalized areas distinctively manifest of the cultural blend indigenous all around.

Oh yes, the creative and tourism councils whose stakeholders stand to benefit from the re-developed facility were all agog over the efforts done to elevate the standards and values that govern the landscape execution.

Even now, the creative community is pooling efforts to put in further finishing touches to a Cordillera Village all the way to the ampitheatre and dap-ayan section. There is good talk that artcarts of varied items will be put in to scale up the creative works in the area.

About time something serious, earnest, and well-consecrated comes out from City Hall planners. Kudos to the city environment and parks management office which shepherded the entire make-over. Salute, Mayor Benjie!

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As far as tourist planning work is concerned, the Baguio Tourism Council should be up there in the doing list. The Visita app is now under BTC stewardship, at the initiative of its chair, Gladys Vergara, herself an avid I.T. advocate.

A technically and managerially minded TWG is presently at the final end of a comprehensive evaluation, to better make use of a collective expertise, know-how, and sheer guts to manage the city tourist services in well-planned incursions routed through Baguio’s famed landmarks for visitations.

For this pioneering step that superintends the expected tourist revival, commendation is in order. Nothing beats enthusiasm and the eagerness to get the tourism revitalization program going. Tough tasks need toughening resolve.

Better New Normal for a Better Baguio — akyat na, ingat pa, angat na!#

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