THE replacement of the concrete pine tree at the Upper Session Road was finally unveiled Monday -- an installation art made of boulders of rock.

The monument represents members of the Second Philippine Commission which named Baguio as the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

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The monument is made of locally quarried stones of different forms representing the people of different races which contributed to the building of today’s Baguio.

The uneven shape and figures of the boulders together with the carved spheres represent Baguio’s construction and reconstruction – its growth from a pastureland to a city, its rise from the devastation of war and it’s rebirth after the killer quake, its continuous growth and development as a unique and sustainable city.

The spheres represent the visions and dreams, the continuous efforts of its citizens to keep Baguio a safe and beautiful place to be.

The monument was designed and executed by a group of volunteer architects and engineers headed by Architect Elvis Palicdon, local sculptor Gilbert Gano and other Baguio residents who contributed to this effort by lending a hand, sharing their thoughts and donating in kind whatever they could to help make this project a success.

Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. said the structure will be “a testament that his administration heeds public clamor to have the tree removed.”

The mayor said the new structure is “something memorable and significant.”

He added that not a single government centavo will be used in the building of the monument.

The installation art replaced the concrete pine tree that was constructed during the time of former mayor Bernardo Vergara.

Vergara said earlier that the monument of the concrete pine tree had already served its purpose which was to remind constituents the need to preserve what is left of Baguio’s greenery.

Public reaction

For Goldie Izon, a University of the Philippines Baguio student said the replacement of the concrete pine tree which stood at the Session Road for years only meant that its historical value has been ignored.

“Nakasanayan nang may malaking pine tree d’yan kaya ‘pag tinanggal, para mo na ring tinanggal ang isang part ng Session Road,” she added.

The stone pillars symbolized the eight commissioners of the 2nd Philippine Commission that held its sessions in 1904.

When asked about the relevance of the structure, Dr. Purificacion Mendoza, a tourist from Pangasinan said, “It did not make any difference. They should have replaced it with a natural one.”

She also commented that it was ironic Baguio was labeled “The City of Pines” yet the pine tree that stood there before was just made out of concrete. She was disappointed that the replacement was stone pillars which she believed “did not represent the city itself.”

Michael Dolores, a resident of Aurora Hill said the replacement of the fake tree is a sign of Baguio’s improvement.

Though the new look at the Session Road gathered opposing comments, this does not mean that tradition should be compromised with the presence of city beautification and development. ( Rimaliza Opiña with Jojo Lamaria and Swenchell Borason)