Burnham Park: Again?-A A +A
Tea For Two
Thursday, October 17, 2013
IN THE 1930s, Burnham Park was THE place people had to be in, during summer afternoons and nights. There was a band playing for free at 5 in the afternoon until 8 p.m. so that young people would trek to the Burnham Park Auditorium where they would dance and socialize till the band stopped playing. It was a hub for the young and the not so young to know each other and get into what they then called the “Baguio Fever.” This referred to the fleeting summer loves of young people which disappeared like a bubble...for many at least, the moment they touched lowland grounds again with its hot air brewing.
People of that era still speak of Baguio as something so special, that everything about it was magic. Baguio's moon was enchanting and different, its fog laden air would sleep in the early morning and late in the evening into open doors and windows creating the coolness that so many love and adore. The morning sounds would include the Bengueteñas’ sing- song voices selling strawberries fresh from the farms, vegetables for the lunch table and yellow camotes good for bonfire cooking at night. Stories like this fill accounts of people who go on regular vacations to Baguio. The residents then too, would never fall short on their deep appreciation of this city which they had fallen in love with.
Today, we Baguio-born residents still look out for our city and feel that this place is ours. In the same manner that people of long ago loved this city, so do we, and for many of us, fiercely and unrelentingly. In the past, the round table topics about Baguio were always special and enjoyed by people no end. Not today.
There is a buzz frantically going around, that the local government will soon charge fees for the use of our dear ol’ Burnham Park. Are you kidding? Are we pulling each other’s leg? Number one on the list is that to do physical exercises in the park would mean paying a fee. Taking pictures would also be charged. What else, what else? There must also be an entrance fee being mulled about, which is the reason for the tall black fences surrounding and covering Baguio’s central park ? Now, we’re slowly getting the picture. IF this is so, the whole plan becomes outrageous. Parks are the people’s respite and cure for the tediousness of life’s labours. These are the green spaces that international communities deem as a right and privilege of all citizens. Burnham Park has always been open to everyone who needs fresh air, the trees and the flowers, the shrubs, the open space and the grasses that give rest to the body and soul. For those who cannot afford to go anywhere else to clear their minds and to calm their nerves, Burnham Park is a must. If charging of fees for the use of our park would push through, I would ask what happened to clear minds and good leadership in our local government. As I’ve said before and will say again, people who do not love this city will never be able to govern it correctly. If you love a place, you’re going to make it a better one. If you love Baguio, it means you love the people that inhabit it. Then, you have to make living in Baguio right for them. And if you harm or neglect the people, through "little" ordinances or means, then your love for the place is under question. Baguio, what we can do for the love of you but others who don’t love you, will never do!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 18, 2013.