Cherry Blossoms Park to rise in former dump site

WINNER. Rochelle Mendez (middle), a resident of Looc Riverside in Mandaue City, is declared winner of the competition to come up with an alternative name for the proposed Cherry Blossoms Park in Barangay Umapad on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. For coming up with 'Kalidhay Park,' Mendez, who is flanked by Mayor Jonas Cortes and his wife Sarah Walker-Cortes, takes home the P10,000 cash prize. / MANDAUE PIO
WINNER. Rochelle Mendez (middle), a resident of Looc Riverside in Mandaue City, is declared winner of the competition to come up with an alternative name for the proposed Cherry Blossoms Park in Barangay Umapad on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. For coming up with 'Kalidhay Park,' Mendez, who is flanked by Mayor Jonas Cortes and his wife Sarah Walker-Cortes, takes home the P10,000 cash prize. / MANDAUE PIO

THE Kalidhay Park or Cherry Blossoms Park inside the 10-hectare Mandaue Green Learning Park in Barangay Umapad, Mandaue City hopes to attract investors and provide a decent livelihood to scavengers.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, city officials led by Mayor Jonas Cortes were joined by Sixth District Rep. Glenn Soco and other stakeholders as they planted 1,000 Palawan Cherry Blossoms or Balayong at the five-hectare former dump site.

The recreational facility will house food and beverage stalls that will be distributed among scavengers in the area, said First Lady Sarah Walker-Cortes, who came up with the initiative to build the park.

She said they have yet to discuss the actual number of beneficiaries, who will also be tasked with maintaining the park.

The City hopes to open the park to the public in 2027.

“People can enjoy hiking, jogging, and recreational activities there. It would have no entrance fee, but overnight stays are not allowed for safety,” she added.

In August, the City held a contest to name the park.

Rochelle Mendez, a resident of Looc Riverside, took home the P10,000 cash prize on Saturday after she came up with Kalidhay Park.

Walker-Cortes explained that “kalidhay” comes from two Cebuano words: “kalamboan,” which means progress, and “talidhay,” which means prolonged laughter.

The city’s first lady said the park will also serve as a tourist attraction.

MCCI assistance

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Kelie Ko said they will help scavengers in the area set up shop after they discussed the project with city officials.

Establishing the park as a tourist attraction will mean many people will flock to the area, which in turn will entice entrepreneurs or investors to establish businesses in the vicinity, Ko said.

“If the trees are up there (Kalidhay Park), there could be thousands of people there, events and festivals,” he said.

Mayor Cortes said the project is part of Mandaue’s “Move Mandaue,” a sub-branding under the main “I am Mandaue” movement, which focuses on the community’s collective participation in the city’s evolution.

“‘Move Mandaue’ is a call for action. ‘I am Mandaue’ is a sense of ownership. ‘I am Mandaue, Move Mandaue’ to let them (give) effort nga dili nato pwede mabuwag ang duha. Kinahanglan usa ni sila (that we cannot separate the two. They must be one) ‘ownership call to action,’” he said. 

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