Clean and Green Baguio-A A +A
Tea For Two
Thursday, September 19, 2013
MANY years ago, the father of a classmate and dear friend wrote a book on Baguio, the people who built it, the early activities and how healthy and beautiful this city is. Lawrence Wilson, Gerry Wilson Muller’s dad must have fallen so deeply in love with Baguio that his writings were so full of good things about our city.
Twenty years later in 1976, Robert R. Reed wrote another book on Baguio but encompassing the other hill stations all over the world.
Both writers emphasized the health functions of this historic hill station, Reed, even citing the other hill stations in Myanmar, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Cambodia which functioned in the same way as Baguio, conceived first of all as a restorative sanitarium, at the same time a recreational center for the military troops. This is how the early colonizers described a hill station. It seems that after a longer stay in Baguio, members of the military troops who fell into weakened states and depressed conditions due to the sweltering heat of the lowlands, found back their vigor and enthusiasm for life in high altitude places like ours.
Many trekkers and trailblazers who visited Baguio in the early years attested that they recovered fantastically from intestinal diseases, persistent fevers, psychoneurotic disorders and other disabling illnesses, tuberculosis being one of them.
The main factors in the restorative qualities of Baguio during its initial stages, were its clean air, clean environment, the pristine water, the scent of healing pine and eucalyptus trees. Sadly, these healthy hill stations all over the world had deteriorated when their colonizers left them in the hands of their own citizens, Baguio included.
The main culprit for this deterioration is the degradation of cleanliness, dilapidation of physical structures and environment, the loss of organization due to neglect, social disharmony, economic recessions and inept political leadership. This is true for all hill stations all over the world, not only for our beloved Baguio.
Let’s cite an example. We have in Baguio an ordinance that penalizes spitting in public places. This ordinance was passed in 1988 and underwent several amendments in the succeeding years that included penalty too, for littering, throwing cigarette and tobacco butts in public places, even expectorating betel nut chews and other oral and nasal fluids. The penalty: 500 pesos or, not less than 45 days and no more than 60 days in jail. However, it is sad and true, that this ordinance never saw implementation.
What happened ? Left and right in our daily lives within this cool city of ours, we see drivers of public utility vehicles, spitting out of their jeepneys and taxis straight onto the streets, in full view and in the middle of traffic. Pity the next vehicle following, it runs over the spit and sometimes the vomit. And for some pedestrians unfortunately, they get the bacterial drizzle too. They carry home the varied bacteria to their families. This is a sure way to spread germs and diseases that may grow into an epidemic.
In the market place, where Baguio’s food is sold, betel nut chewers without any care in the world, paint the town red with their red spit on the streets, on the pavements and where buyers step on. The betel nut may be healthy, but the spit is not, and spitting in public, never is. Acts like these plunder and corrupt the healing power of Baguio’s cool breezes .
Let’s help our city and our citizens. Let’s make Baguio clean, a haven for healing and restoration of our strength and vitality, not a site for infection and contamination. Loving a city is first, making it clean for the health of its residents and visitors. Let’s love Baguio and our people with honesty and determination! I love you Baguio!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 20, 2013.