THE bastardized phrase “EntaCool” from the Kankanaey root word “entako” meaning let us go juxtaposed with cool as Baguio’s characteristic is definitely going to become a byword just like Panagbenga that first gained global popularity in 1986 as a community participated flower festival.
Over the weekend, we attended and witnessed several events that is meant to banner and keep Baguio’s designation as a Unesco identified creative city that includes the launching of a one town one product or Otop Hub that promotes locally produced and manufactured coffee in a shop dubbed as Kapetirya by the Department of Trade and Industry. Said hub located at the Crafts and Productivity Center of DPS Compound along upper Session also serves as a showroom featuring locally manufactured woven items, metal crafts, souvenirs and food items.
The launching of the EntaCool event at the old Diplomat Hotel was well attended as it features creative works by artists and artisans including the art installation of National Artist for Cinema Kidlat Tahimik. The evening event was, of course, graced by national officials and representatives from the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Unicef Philippines. Complete with cultural performances, multi-media presentations and exhibit tours, the launching is indeed one for the books as the old hotel once again saw a well-orchestrated and curated community event that focuses on arts and culture.
In their messages, city leaders Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Congressman Mark Go praised the creative community, saying they inspire people and that arts and culture cannot exist without the other. Secretary General Lila Ramos Shahani of the Philippine National Commission for Unesco said that for three decades, “Tatlong dekada na kinikilala ang Baguio City pagdating sa arts,” adding that as an art hub designated as a creative city, it needs to propel its art community to a higher level by creating and curating arts that can also be financially viable referring to creative economy.
In her message, Shahani remembers the '90s Baguio Arts Festival mentioning the names of Ben Cabrera, Roberto Villanueva, Santi Bose, Laida Lim, Katrin De Guia, Kidlat Tahimik and Boy Yuchenco as among those who really put Baguio City in the world map as a creative destination.
We motored to the Bell House and Amphitheater launching in Camp John Hay for another historical art and photo exhibit and the living room and guest rooms became an erstwhile gallery of nostalgic images of Baguio’s past while the amphitheater became an outdoor concert hall. My daughter Tam Jewel and I had a sip of red and white wines while listening to Phantom of the Opera musicals while my wife anchored herself at a good vantage point to share a streaming post in her social media account. The University of the Cordillera Orchestra also played the Panagbenga Hymn including a rendition of “Layad,” the national anthem of the mountain provinces which became the music of the night.
My daughter, who is now Manila-based, wrote in her FB account, “I could not be happier to be back in Baguio and just in time for the launching of the #EntaCool: 2018 Baguio Creative Festival, which highlights Baguio as a Unesco 'Creative City,' a melting pot of culture and the arts. The festival seeks to revive the city's glorious art days, converging artists of various discipline with the local government, businessmen and tourism representatives.
"Yesterday's launch and unveiling of the Kulay ng Siglo Exhibit at the Baguio Heritage Hill and Nature Park (widely known as the historic Diplomat Hotel) was a breath of fresh air for the City -- it is a game changer. My heartfelt wish is for everyone's collective effort not be put to waste, that this event will be the first of many regular creative events in the City and that the exhibit and art installation we saw last night remain at the Hill far longer than a week.
"Growth demands innovation. Everyone's contribution to the exhibit is but astounding and I am sure many folks from other parts of this country and the globe will want to witness and see it for themselves. I feel that showcasing it for just a week is too short. I personally want to get the word out and include it in my list of places to go to in the City (since I am often asked this one). I often hear remarks that Baguio isn't what it used to be anymore, that there's nothing else to see in Baguio, that traffic is terrible etc. In the case of who's saying it, that may be true. It probably depends on one's reason for coming to Baguio -- feel the breeze, go to the market, go shopping/ukay, relax, see the different tourist spots, dine/eat, play golf, attend a conference/seminar, take social media-worthy pictures/selfies and more. It may also depend on how one chooses to see and experience Baguio. The best way to do it -- experience it like a true local!"
My daughter who now works at the US Embassy also witnessed the graffiti art collaboration at the Skyworld Commercial Center before I took her to the bus station for her midnight bus travel to Manila. She really misses Baguio. #CreativeBaguio.