Friday, April 26, 2019

A Mt. Sto. Tomas sojourn

THE summer season has always been a time for the family to bond through activities that encourage closeness.

In the City of Baguio and the province of Benguet, hiking and even camping are among popular activities during the summer months.

From the southern area of Baguio, one can view the familiar site of two radar stations which residents fondly points out to as the source of the cool weather in this part of the country, jokingly referred to as the largest electric fans in the Philippines.

Trekkers would have to take a thirty to forty-five minute ride from Baguio to Cabuyao and the television relay station at Mount Sto. Tomas in Tuba, Benguet. Prior to its concreting, the road leading to Cabuyao also gives one the chance to see the Stations of the Cross. Families and tourists, considered as weekend warriors, have always trekked to this familiar site.

After viewing the Stations of the Cross and visiting the two gigantic radar systems that used to be manned by American servicemen, the next area to be conquered would be the relay station where the VHF and microwave transmitters of major television networks in the country can be found.

Aside from hiking groups and tourists, Electronics and Communications Engineering students visit this site to be educated on the latest television communications systems of the various networks in the country.

At the highest point of the relay station is the site of Commutable Mt. Peak where one will see the Cuadro Centennial Cross constructed in April 27, 1965 by the delegate of then Pope Paul VI Cardinal Antoniutti commemorating the fourth Centennial of Philippine Christianization that lasted from April 28 to May 2 of the same year.

During that time, Public Works and Communications Sec. Antonio Raquiza was the first cabinet member to reach the Cuadro Centennial Cross where a mass was subsequently celebrated.

An inscription in front of the altar indicates the cross was sought to perpetuate the wooden cross originally planted by being encased in metal and mounted on the altar constructed through the initiative of then Telecommunications Director Antonio Gambia Jr.

After reaching the Cuadro Centennial Cross where one can also view parts of La Union, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and even as far as the North Luzon Expressway, a hike back down to Cabuyao would be the next agenda for the trekkers.

And for those wanting to spend a night in Cabuyao, the best site to camp would be around the rain catch basin of the Baguio Water District. But do observe cleanliness and no camp bonfire is allowed since the area also serves as a site for tree planting activities.

Sunday morning would be the best time to hike down. And since the digital age is upon us, don't forget to bring your cameras to document your weekend getaway.

And so, if you can't make it to the second highest mountain in the country Mt.Pulag, then Mt. Sto. Tomas is the next best thing.
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