RESIDENTS and local government officials, including the Department of Tourism (DOT), are rushing to finish the painting of house murals in La Trinidad, Benguet before the onset of rainy season and the assumption of newly elected officials on June 30.
The house painting dubbed Project Bloom of the tourism department will benefit the villages of Botiwtiw, Stonehill and Sadjap all within Barangay Balili that will serve as a welcome sight to visitors of La Trinidad coming from Baguio City.
In a ceremonial painting held May 18, community coordinator Gloria Agasen said Project Bloom will turn residential houses into a single piece of art designed by the Tam-awan Village Artists (TVA).
Of the 214 houses surveyed within the three sitios, Agasen said 190 agreed to become part of the project and have already splashed their houses with white paints as primer.
“At first, the residents doubted that Project Bloom will push through but when we started painting the primers, the attitude of the residents from disbelief turned into unity and cooperation,” Agasen said.
Agasen added most of the residents are working professionals while some are natives of Mountain Province who are working as harvesters of zacate grass being fed to the horses at Wright Park.
“Harvesting zacate grass is the livelihood mostly by women here in the village, they call themselves zacate girls,” Agasen said.
The same women volunteer for the painting of the houses and at the same time prepare the snack and lunch for the student volunteers.
Students under the National Service Training Program (NSTP) of Benguet State University and King’s College in La Trinidad have worked with the residents of Barangay Balili during the painting of primer.
Another resident, Corazon Baliqued, volunteered to provide for the snacks and lunch of the volunteers.
DOT Regional Director Marie Venus Tan explained Project Bloom is part of the beautification plan in consonance with the Baguio-Boracay Redevelopment Task Force created in 2013 by President Benigno Aquino III under Memorandum Circular 47.
The painting was supposedly finished in March in time for La Trinidad’s Strawberry Festival but was delayed due to miscommunication among the residents which was later resolved.
Tan said some of the residents refused to have their houses painted with the primer, which led to the adjustment in the design.