Tibaldo: Writing stories about Baguio

BAGUIO City over the years has evolved from its 1909 charter as the summer capital of the Philippines to many other types of destinations such as honeymooner's paradise, city of flowers, educational center, convention place and religious mecca of the North and much more.

Well, this upland is also considered the gateway to the Cordillera because the city has become a show-window to the rich culture of the upland provinces plus the fact that it had become the central trading place when mining communities boomed around the towns of Benguet. While Baguio along with the peaks of Mt. Kabuyao and Mt. Sto. Tomas are considered communication hubs of the North because of its strategic location where relay stations and towers are anchored, the media reach are also something to be reckoned with because its analog radio and television broadcast services spills over North and Central Luzon and with today's fiber optics, global inter-connectivity and social-media gets connected faster especially that contact services and business process outsourcing are very much in place in the city.

For the city's 110th Charter Day Celebrations, we witnessed the recognition and conferment of awards to four outstanding Baguio citizens during the traditional program. Given due honors and recognition were Baguio Water District (BWD) General Manager Salvador Royeca, environmental advocate and radio broadcaster Alberto Guinguino, entrepreneur, skills trainer and author Raquel Fausto Versoza and Dr. Ma. Socorro Florendo Sarfati a multi awarded medical practitioner who introduced many innovations in her field of profession. The society of Outstanding Citizens of Baguio (SOCOB) composed of past Baguio Day awardees will likewise recognize and welcome the four as new members of the society with a testimonial dinner meant for them. After the program, the Baguio March was sung by a chorale and it made me remember one of our SOCOB members, retired teacher and music supervisor Basilisa Cachero-Pimentel who composed "Beautiful Baguio."

I may have heard the Apayao Hymn before when I was in this Cordillera Province but it will for sure remind me of Dr. Mary Ann Soriano-Canonizado, Provincial Health Officer who composed it when I get to hear it again.

Netizens belonging to "gorgeous and handsome FB users of Apayao" bade farewell and posted their appreciation to this lady physician who accordingly had a compassionate heart in the field of medicine. Her efficiency as medical practitioner was admirable and her legacy will surely be long remembered by those whom she touched. I am sharing this information about her because I learned that she was originally from Baguio who later became one of the pioneers of the Local Health System of Apayao when it became a separate province like Kalinga on the Valentine's Day of 1995.

I asked a high school classmate and former DOH-CAR Official who now resides abroad if she happened to know Dr. Canonizado was accordingly known to be workaholic, talented, facilitative and responsible for local health concerns like the upgrading and increase in hospital bed capacity of hospitals in Apayao, among others.

More can be said and attributed to Baguio and because this city is my birth place, I'd like to know people's stories just like what has been suggested in social media encouraging netizens to write their Baguio stories.

With my Manila-based daughter coming home for a weekend break, we had a lunch in a new hotel near Mines View. From a window where I was seated, I noticed a tarpaulin posted near the place that we once knew as the Marcos Residence. I once had a picture of me with President Ferdinand Marcos taken by Baguio's Information Officer Ramon Dacawi when the late strongman invited media to his place to prove that he was not sick when allegations arose that he became bed ridden. When opposition leader Benigno Aquino was killed on August 21, 1993, there were allegations that the late strongman was sick and having faith healing sessions in Baguio with Ramon Jun Labo.

Now, with the new administration and changing of guards, it appears that the Marcos property has been privatized and soon to be developed into a destination with a multi-level hotel or condominiums. This is just a snippet of my Baguio story and what is yours?


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