BAGUIO

Bautista: Over the top

All in Good Time

OF LATE, a teddy bear is seen atop Session Road. All before it was bared, talk was about what would have been. Every time that portion is touched and for whatever reason it surely would raise some eyebrows.

If Juan were to remember, cherubim or little children were once in place, surrounding a fountain. We all called it Labo’s Angels he was mayor then.

Time too was when it was replaced with a cemented tree, it was costly and not every Juan liked it. Plans for it to be changed were just that, plans.

Another mayor decided to just do a grotto alongside it and to take away the sight of the tree, wether it worked or not, it didn’t solve anything.

It was during my term when many had asked me to do something about it. Ideas from many had come up. Designs and plans were proposed and all were well presented. But at what cost if they were to be implemented and executed.

We continued on, from one idea to another we finally agreed on something that would cost the least. Fiberglass. An expert was asked and a design was made.

Zig-Zag Road, the Veil Falls, a Lions head, PMA, Mines View Park, Mansion House, City Hall and Burnham Park were to be created into one design.

Upon discussion we were hit by a snag, how were we supposed to replace something “fake” with another fake or replica? How ugly or how nice the tree was, that was not the not the issue. We had to ditch the plan how beautiful it initially seemed.

A plan for something “real” or natural was to be. A Norfolk Pine was the plan and just like the one below Session Road. Some were not convinced, what if it died? How will it be maintained? More questions were raised than answers. Upkeep too would be a problem.

A friend, Efren Chatto had offered for a garden landscape and upkeep from Mom’s and Pop’s, it was to be a good idea. They supplied the rotunda with beautiful flowers depending on the season all year round.

Still the issue was what a cemented pine tree remained. Again we were hounded by proposals for what it should be. We instead made the most of what was and decorated it during Christmas and Panagbenga appropriately.

It was until Typhoon Pepeng when I had the opportunity to inspect Kennon Road with Sec. Ebdane of DPWH when an idea had come up. Stones of various sizes were everywhere and no place to go.

From my travels abroad, particularly in Korea, I saw some fondness on how they fixed up stones. An artist friend of mine, Albert Gano who lives in Kennon Road and had worked with my mother on various projects was asked if he could be commissioned to do something for Baguio that wouldn’t be over the top.

Originally, I was reminded about how Mayor Ping Paraan had asked his friends to build a monument at no cost to the city, this became Rizal Monument. It was also made from Kennon Stone. Today it stands as the only original design other than Luneta Park. The reason why Philippine Presidents would come up to honor Jose Rizal away from Manila.

This was what inspired me to try and do the same. With the involvement of friends, a design was in concept, no funds from government would be used, and just simple friendship.

The design was to that like the Stonehenge, the purpose was to bring tribute to the Philippine Session and the eight who comprised it. We called it the “headstones.”

Unfortunately when all was ready and during the removal of the cemented tree, we were faced with cases that were filed against the removal of the tree. It was people’s money they said. I was filed with illegal tree cutting, really!

The cases have been dismissed since no money from government coffers was used for it. We have given meaning to it. There are times when during Christmas it will be used as a manger, and then returned to what it was after.

At least today, Juan knows that Session is not a person but an important event in Philippine history. What happens to the stones is a mystery and that a teddy bear sits over the top.


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