Take a Walk on the Pine Side

Posted on: July 5, 2017 at 3:26 am

By Annette A. Ferrer, guest writer

The Baguio of today is different from the one in my childhood memories. The Baguio of today is noisier, busier, with more people, and admittedly, with more smoke coming from cars and buses on the road. That said, it is still a beautiful and charming place to go to.

There is a well-known quotation in French that goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” And this could not be more applicable than to Baguio.

The trees remain, the parks and gardens, and the cool breeze; also, the warm and welcoming spirit of its people – and these are what keep people like myself coming back to the mountain city whenever possible.

Last month, C Boutique Hotel treated us out to a walking tour of their surrounding areas. Located at C. Arellano St., just off the main street of Gibraltar Rd., C Boutique Hotel is just a few minutes’ walk away from points of interest: Mines View Park and Good Shepherd. Leading the way was their Guest Experience Officer and Baguio native, Ryan Ambloza.

From the hotel, we turned a corner to walk to Mines View Park. There were a few steps to climb as the road was uphill, but other than those five minutes, everything was flat and easy-to-manage. It was about a 10-minute walk through a residential area to Mines View Park. We passed homes, pine trees, a charming rotunda (roundabout) with a few native chickens scratching the ground for bugs, and a few horses in someone’s backyard until we reached the many stores in Mines View. They sell all sorts of souvenirs such as Ilocano blankets, knitted sweaters, fruits, silver jewellery, and even weapons: arnis sticks and Filipino swords.

We entered Mines View Park itself to take in the view at the deck, jostling with other people for the best selfie or photo. The view deck overlooks the mining town of Itogon. The gold and copper mines of the Benguet Corporation have long since been abandoned and a particularly peculiar and dangerous attraction of kids coin-catching while hanging from a cliff face. In the 1970s up to the 80s, children would hang along the mountain range and catch visitors’ coins in baskets or plastic cups. Should they fall on the ground or into crevices, the children could find them still. This has been discontinued and a wishing well replaces the attraction where the children used to be.

A stop needed to be made at Good Shepherd where they make the silkiest and luxurious ube (purple yam) jam, other delicacies such as peanut brittle and cookies can also be bought from there as pasalubong (souvenir) or one’s own snack to enjoy. Good Shepherd is a convent and an apostolic community run by RGS nuns. Their kitchen that produces jams and other goods help support children scholars in their skills and education.

Our tour continued to the Veteran’s Tree or Veteran Pine, the 200-year old pine tree, said to be the first pine planted in Baguio. The tree is now dead, but has been converted into a monument standing 50-feet tall. Images were carved by local artists and are adorned with two dogs, a lizard, a snake, and other cultural symbols representing wealth, fertility, and mother earth, to name a few. The monument was inaugurated in 2012 with a plaque at its base describing its relevance. It stands both as homage to Mother Earth as a reminder of how trees and resources are being depleted.

The tour can continue to the nearby church, the Crusaders of the Divine Church of Christ. The latter was founded in the Pangasinan town of San Fabian, barangay Nibaliw, and is home to the CDCCCPI congregation. Since the sun was already setting on our walk, our group decided to head back to C Boutique Hotel and rest up.

The trip was a refreshing one because I’m used to seeing Baguio from within the confines of a moving vehicle. When you’re on foot, you notice so many details that you’d miss in a car. The opportunity to walk up close to an object and examine it gives you that connection that stays in your memory. Memories that take me back to the Baguio I used to know and connect it to the Baguio of today.

For inquiries about our walking tour, call (074)619-0158 / (63) 999-886-2755 / (63) 917-534-3818

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