The heat is on, and it’s not just the weather. It’s also about the choices to make in beating the heat.
Of course, we’ve long expected this time of the year to be a scorching summer, which is actually what has been the scalding temperature now hovering between 38 to 40 degrees C in the usual lowland places elsewhere in the country. By now, we should have been well-equipped to deal with the summer heat. For us in Baguio, it means sharing once more the kind of climate freshness that is uniquely Baguio. Despite what they’ve been saying, despite what seems to be a slowdown of tourism promotion, Baguio being Baguio will always be a favorite summer getaway.
To be sure, every small chance lowlanders get, they’ll be up and about motoring up here for even a day or two of refreshing climes. Yes, we don’t even have to do anything if it’s tourist influx we’re after. Promoting Baguio? No need really, since we’re just 3 hours away from where they may be, sweltering it out, cursing it out, for what seems to be a scorching summer down under.
But tourism is not just about bearing it all up when busloads of them are up here. Far too long have city folks been resentful of having to give up a part of what they have whenever the horrendous tourist crowds elbow each other for just a touch of Baguio, jamming our roads from point to point especially in the CBD area, enduring the usual discomforts of having to make do with all things lacking: good affordable lodging, water and power in regular supply, manageable traffic, affordable commodities etc.
Tourism should also be about encouraging our visitors to spend less time in the usual cosmopolitan places, and more time communing with nature itself, something that no other place elsewhere in the lowlands they can do. It should be about walking it out, doing the short distance trek on foot, and gushing over what nature has in the premises, the flowering plants in gay splendor, the majestic thrust of pine trees reaching out for the sky, the sunflowers bursting out from mountain sides, and of course the unpretentious warm smile uniquely Baguio’s.
Tourism should also be about making our guests get into the world outside Baguio, our neighboring towns just waiting to be explored and experienced, just needful of a tourism push that an integrated culture of sharing (both in resources and in benefits) can easily induce, just worth the upclose faceup for culture and traditions that have withstood time’s obliterating lash.
Over there, culture erupts in a spirited display of verve, vivacity, and virtuoso unlike any other. Over there, culture explodes from the sights, sounds, and scenes of yonder years, ricocheted from the past into the living consciousness of those bonded by a common endearment: the universal love for something uniquely indigenous and home-grown in charm and allure.
Tourism should be about a tourism hub, which Baguio has been in legendary terms, that has become a larger mix of the best there is of things Cordilleran. In this idea-concept, Baguio serves as a magnetizing place for tourist allure, a unique gateway for a heart-touching experience of Cordillera culture. Tourism would then be a developing enterprise involving not just Baguio but our neighbors as well, acting in shared solidarity as racial kinfolk rather than a people divided by clannish centuries-long prejudice.
Regardless of how we as city folks feel, let’s not ignore that since time immemorial, tourism has been the lifeblood of our local economy. Let’s not forget that, warts and all, Baguio remains a top tourism draw, encouraged by the improved road infrastructure that has significantly reduced by a half land travel into our midst. Let’s face it: visiting Baguio has always been a Filipino dream, for families to savor the best that city life can offer from the caring cradle of its lush mountain resource, not minding at all the monumental inconveniences they had to contend with while here. This has historically been Baguio’s magical mystique, the very alluring magnet that lures in throngs of people into our pride of place, despite the many urban woes they’d be meeting every step of the way, even if they had brought these themselves in every memorable visit.
It’s all about the precious environment that Baguio is sharing in all its unequalled uniqueness, the very pristine natural setting from which floral resources have grown in full splendor, the very richness that we all wish to be preserved, nurtured, care for, regenerated from time to time, to be managed well enough simply for generations next to enjoy and bequeath to succeeding stewards.
To our guests, to those braving the usual odds and opting to spend precious, fragile time in Baguio, walk the extra mile. Do enjoy Baguio on your feet. Experience what communion with Mother Nature can do in uplifting weary souls, in enriching boxed-in perspectives, in seeing momentary wonders each time you take a step into the outside world. Take in Baguio’s air and be one in communion with the best there is in Baguio. And do step out further, into the rich heritage that Cordillera culture has been all through the centuries. Explore, experience and get into this world.