THIS past summer, many Filipinos flocked to Baguio City in the north to escape the sweltering heat of the lowlands. Although summer is gone, they remember Baguio with fondness. Baguio has a special place in the Filipino’s heart. It is the beloved summer capital, the alluring City of Pines, the place that holds many childhood memories.

PCIJ bids farewell to summer with a special podcast that talks of the Baguio we know and the Baguio many of us don’t stay long enough to see. Baguio has become an urban mess bursting at the seams, mountainsides overflowing with shanties, its cool air now heavy with fumes from 3,000 or so FX taxis.

This special podcast contains ten stories produced mostly in Filipino by radio reporters from all over Luzon who took part in a radio news feature training organized by PCIJ and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas. The training was held in Baguio City last month.

Listen and see in your mind’s eye Baguio as it is today.

Length: 00:49:57
File size: 22.9 MB
Producers: Yvonne T. Chua, Avigail M. Olarte and Alecks P. Pabico

16 Responses to Farewell to summer: A special podcast from Baguio City

Avatar

ryebosco

June 8th, 2006 at 2:09 am

Dang, what the hell is happening to the Philippines? Nothing but corruption, population explosion (thanks to the Catholic Church), pollution due to over population, deterioration of the environment because of inept public servants, abolition of the death penalty so rapists/murderers/thieves can live and eat in prison with our tax money. I GIVE UP. I think it’s safe to assume we are not capable of having a prosperous nation.

I agree, Baguio has turned into a slum…very much like Escolta, Manila for that matter. It seems like we Filipinos prioritize aiming for things that populate, pollute and pillage–that’s the Philippines.

************************
WANTED: Filipinos to cleanse Philippine society, politics and economy.

WANTED: USA to adopt the Philippines again. I’d rather have a Philippines run like heaven by Americans.

Avatar

ocayvalle

June 8th, 2006 at 8:21 am

i agree with you ryebosco!!this country is much better if we are under the US supervision and became one of US state..after `kuno` our independence which some few filipino leaders who benifited the riches of the philippine said “i would rather see the philippine run like hell by filipinos than run like heaven by the americns”now look, this filipino leaders before and now really true to their form..they are all devils and evils running our country to the hell..maybe we could ask every filipinos what they really like to do to our country..not the evil leaders the like of Pres Ramos,Doj Gonzales.JDV,ermita GMA and all who are in their twilight years who think that they will live for the next 100years insisting that their ideas is best for the next generation…i wish this evils will really be in HELL or in JAIL.

Avatar

Toro

June 8th, 2006 at 9:31 am

If that’s how you feel why not go back to the time the Japanese conquered the Philippines, maybe we could have been as economically prosperous and peaceful as Japan is today. And for that matter, why not blame Jose Rizal for fighting for the cause of independence instead of allowing Spain to remain as our eternal master.

Those famous words of MLQ is a philosophical statement of a true nationalist and should not be taken out of context. Only an illogical mind will take its meaning literally.

Avatar

Alecks Pabico

June 8th, 2006 at 10:13 am

Ryebosco,

From Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to George W. Bush? That’s not my idea of heaven. 😉

Avatar

ryebosco

June 8th, 2006 at 11:53 am

Greetings Toro,
If I were to choose between Spain, Japan and the USA, I’d prefer the American experience and I’m sure you know the reasons why. As far as Rizal is concerned, I don’t blame the heroes of our country, I’m pointing a finger at the Marcoses, their cronies and all the others thereafter.
Those famous of words of Quezon (call it philosophical, a metaphor or whatever, it’s plain b.s.) I do not take out of context. In fact, the millions of Filipinos being maltreated locally and abroad take its meaning literally and figuratively. Let me ask you this, do you really think Quezon was a nationalist? Not sure about my Philippine history but did Quezon stay in the Philippines to fight the Japanese? I wonder where he fled.

Greetings Alecks,
Yes, I am getting sick of Arroyo. Nor do I care for Bush either. But Bush is not America…he is a part of its imperfect system that got him elected. Nevertheless, you and Toro know very well that the American justice, social, political and economic system are better compared to that of most nations in the world. Ask any struggling Filipino, do a survey, have them choose between Spain, Japan or the United States, “Where would you go to escape the hell you’re trapped in…..Literally and Figuratively?”

Avatar

ocayvalle

June 8th, 2006 at 2:03 pm

thanks mr ryebosco..its people like you that speak with substance and without malice to understand the predicament of our country man..i left Philippines when i was a kid and grew up here in US..but i see the big difference everytime i visit RP..it gone from better to worst..i wonder why we filipinos let this happen..i hope all this crook in the goverment the likes of GMA,JDV and others will one day pay for all the crime they committe to filipinos..

Avatar

joselu

June 8th, 2006 at 7:43 pm

ocayvalle, you know, it’s not just about the leaders, the bad get away w/ what they do cuz some people look the other way.or in the philippine scenario, it’s a way of justifying getting away w/ things to.cuz corruption is not just in goverment but it’s really all over.it really boils down to attitude.
there is something in our culture, the “pakisame” system the “puwede na”.we seem to settle always for less.

Avatar

joselu

June 8th, 2006 at 8:15 pm

Only the people of Baguio can get their act together.
It’s sad that the Americans did a master plan for baguio just as they did one for Manila too.
Are we sending the signal that we are not capable to do things well.
The only thing we can do though is point fingers & pass the fault.
I just hope that all our human pride can show also for the interest of the country & not just for personal matters.
Baguio can stilll be saved.
But it’s up for the baguio people to make a choice.
If there’s a will there’s a way

Avatar

naykika

June 8th, 2006 at 8:34 pm

I visited Baguio way back in the early 80’s and it was still a clean air city, light traffic and a very safe to go around any time of day. But after hearing all that is Baguio today, can’t believe that a city built as an enduring Summer Capital of the country has now deteriorated to the point of becoming another Manila or any of the lowland cities. I think ryebosco said it all, we can blame ’em all, but we need them all back if we want to RECLAIM the beauty of once Baguio Was.

Avatar

Toro

June 8th, 2006 at 11:14 pm

Yes, Ryebosco, in my book MLQ was a true Filipino and a nationalist. He would not be one if he shared your preference for the “American experience”.

Perhaps you were playing hooky in school when the lesson for the day was about WWII in the Philippines. You would have learned enough about MLQ and how he played his part in shaping the nation. You would have learned to appreciate what he stood for. His famous words that you find “plain bullshit” should be quoted in full to understand its true meaning. Its full quote is, “I prefer a country run like hell by Filipinos to a country run like heaven by Americans. Because, however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it.” The point here is, would the Filipinos be able to change the govt if it were run by Americans? Another one of his famous lines is, “My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins”. But when a politician quotes these words, I can tell you that politician is an opportunist and a real bullshitter.

You wonder where MLQ fled during the war. If that question implies he abandoned the Filipinos, no he did not. He and Gen. MacArthur, together with VP Sergio Osmena and Carlos P. Romulo left Corregidor for Australia in a submarine on orders from US Pres. Roosevelt who reasoned out it was better to work for the defense of the Philippines from Australia than face imminent capture by the enemy. If you play chess, you would not sacrifice the King, would you?

Shortly after, MLQ’s illness (TB) worsened and he was brought to the States where he died in 1944 of tuberculosis. Read his biography to understand the man, one of the great heroes of our time.

We live in a free democracy Rye, and you are free to stick to your American experience, just as I and the countless other Filipinos, probably Alecks too, will not mind living in a place you describe hell but which we call home. And when you are old, sick and alone, then you may consider coming back because there is no place like home.

Avatar

ryebosco

June 9th, 2006 at 1:15 am

Greetings Toro :)

First of all, nationalism comes in many shapes and forms. Quezon was first and foremost a politician. Some may consider him a hero or a nationalist, but I think a true nationalist would face death when it counts whether or not you are dissuaded (Jose Abad Santos comes to mind).

“I prefer a country run like hell by Filipinos to a country run like heaven by Americans. Because, however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it.” Quezon

Hmmm…let’s see, we adopted the American system, then changed by Marcos, then People Power came along and somewhat restored the American system again, now there’s the Cha-cha. The common denominator is the immaturity of Filipinos to govern and make true changes. “We can always change it..?” With what, same corrupt politicians?

“My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins”.

Quezon’s loyalty to his country ended when it was tested by the Japanese. Sounds like a bullshitter to me.

“If you play chess, you would not sacrifice the King, would you?”

Toro, I guess it’s worth sacrificing the Americans and Filipinos who stayed behind to hold the fort of King Quezon huh? So much for leading by example.

Lastly, I travel back and forth between Pampanga and Antipolo. I hate to admit it but it is has indeed turned into hell because of the corrupt few and the apathetic millions. I am home. I’ll stick to observation. We Filipinos were/are not ready to be independent.

Avatar

Toro

June 9th, 2006 at 9:34 am

Greetings to you too, Ryebosco.

Rye, if I may call you that, the highly esteemed constitutionalist and recognized nationalist of MLQ’s generation was Claro M. Recto, considered the father of our first Constitution. He was prominently a politician. Does his being a politician make him unworthy of being called a nationalist? You mentioned Jose Abad Santos. Before MLQ left for Australia, he tasked JAS to take charge of the govt being the SC Chief Justice, the highest official of the land left behind. To evade capture, JAS escaped to Mindanao where he was eventually captured and executed by the Japanese. You regard him a nationalist because he met a heroic death. By your standards, must one has to die at the hands of the enemy to be considered a nationalist? Then Bonifacio, Mabini, Lopez-Jaena, Aguinaldo and a host of others who died a natural death do not merit being called nationalists, do they?

You are quite right we changed the American system but it was not Marcos who did that but the people of this country who chose independence in 1946. You have to understand that the sense of nationalism was fiercely strong throughout Asia during those times when the entire region was reeling from the destructive effects of WWII. Like the Philippines, other countries in the region and elsewhere in the world were dragged into war because they were colonial territories of Western nations, they were the US, Dutch, English, French, Belgians and Germans. We were countries exploited for our natural resources and stripped of national dignity to become a property of colonial powers. What God-given right do they have to own us like a piece of real estate?

It is not quite correct to say that People Power restored somewhat the American system. Last time I know, we are still a Filipino independent nation with a bit altered Filipino Constitution designed by Cory, but Filipino system no less, and I am still a Filipino citizen. Yes, the country is in political turmoil and the people disunited. They don’t know what to do with the President. Some want her out, but others want her to stay. Some want to abolish the Congress, others want it changed thru cha-cha and see this as the ultimate answer to solve the myriad of problems that have debilitated the country. Everybody seems to blame the system for all the mess except blame themselves for choosing the wrong leaders from, President to Mayor, to lead us. There is nothing wrong with the system as I see it, except some fine-tuning for economic reforms. It’s the unthinking and irresponsible people who elect the wrong officials that make the system go wrong.

So you’d rather that Quezon had stayed to hold the fort so he’d be the prized catch of the enemy and executed like Abad Santos. This would be like saying, hey Dad you’re the “bossing” around here so don’t leave the fort yet and let’s wait for the Japs. Between you and me and the lamp post, I would save my Dad and tell him to leave and I would hold the fort so he can come back to fight another day. But you are not me. And, oh, by the way, that loyalty to my country thing came about during the time MLQ had to choose whether or not to leave his political party, a favorite phrase popularly quoted by the present political butterflies.

For most of us the independence we gained from America is meaningful because it restored the dignity and respect that this country richly deserved. The country is young, barely 50 years old. Unfortunately, its people remain immature in the ways of life. It took America nearly 200 years to become what they are today. True, our Asian neighbors have surpassed us today, but that does not mean this country cannot be as great if not greater than them one day soon. We have been admittedly too complacent, much too forgiving, and forgetful about every dreadful thing that has happened to us. But these are lessons for us to learn from. I remain hopeful that change will eventually happen. You just have to be patient because the learning process takes time to take roots. If you cannot wait, you still have time to travel and seek your American dream.

This is long enough, sorry. As I said Ryebosco, you are a freeman living in a free country. You are a free thinker and free to form an opinion regardless of whether you make sense to yourself or not to others. It is not for me to say you are wrong nor will I try to convince you that I am right because I respect your opinion. We form our views and opinions based on the knowledge we acquire. The more knowledge acquired the more logical and profound the views and opinions become. Obviously, the opposite of that statement is true, would it not. You said earlier you were not sure about Philippine history. No offense intended, but It would help a lot if you did. Ciao, my friend.

Avatar

jester-in-exile

June 9th, 2006 at 11:13 am

i’m from baguio, born and raised in that once-beautiful city, now more appropriately called the “city of concrete pines” (go up session road and you’ll see why) and the “summer crapital of the philippines” (what with all the mess during and after tourist visits). if we had our druthers, my peers and i would rather have our city be known as the educational center of the north instead of a bakasyonista destination.

a long time ago, in a discussion among these friends, we floated the idea of how to keep the city pristine and reverse the damage wrought by commercialism, and we had these (tongue-in-cheek) ideas:

1. limit tourist visits to 4 days per month, aggregate or not
2. declaring a tourist-free month or two (we were thinking of may and september)
3. bar any smoke-belching vehicle from entering the city, turning them back at any of the four entry points to the city
4. impose a 1-week imprisonment and P10000 fine for ANY littering done by ANYBODY (first offense pa lang yan, ha!)
5. require returning tourists to join a tree-planting activity, waived by sizable donations to the baguio regreening movement
6. impound any vehicle violating baguio city traffic rules
7. banning public utility FXs, whether in-city or those used by visitors in lieu of the buses (it’s a wrench, but it’s a big step to vehicle reduction)
8. banning PUJs and PUVs from session road, harrison road, and the market section of magsaysay avenue (the city center)
9. no parking along the same roads mentioned
10. higher taxes for residences not being actually occupied by the owners at least 75% of the year

let’s put it this way: the thinking is: “we survived the aftermath of july 16, 1990 without the money of the lowlanders who come to the city just to create a mess — we can survive without them now.”

strong words, to be sure, but the ’80s and the ’90s were the last remaining years of baguio’s pristine condition.

we baguio folk know that the root causes of baguio’s degradation date back to as far back as the charter, through the american occupation, and the politicians who haven’t tried their best to preserve the city (and those who actually did damage, like vergara), but if we did what we had to do to rebuild our city, wouldn’t that create a crimp in the DOT’s coffers?

word of prophecy: the damaged state of baguio will eventually happen to sagada (the 2nd most visited tourist destination, after boracay), if things remain as they are.

Avatar

Mike in Manila - at large » Blog Archive » Pinoy Podcasts … tons of funs… to tune in

June 9th, 2006 at 5:46 pm

[…] [] … Farewell to summer: A special podcast from Baguio City […]

Avatar

ryebosco

June 10th, 2006 at 12:25 am

Greetings Toro,
Well said. Put all the politics aside and the history we’ve learned that shape our opinions/anger/frustrations, I agree with what you said in the following:

“True, our Asian neighbors have surpassed us today, but that does not mean this country cannot be as great if not greater than them one day soon. We have been admittedly too complacent, much too forgiving, and forgetful about every dreadful thing that has happened to us. But these are lessons for us to learn from. I remain hopeful that change will eventually happen. You just have to be patient because the learning process takes time to take roots.”

Yes, it takes generations for a country to learn and mature by faults…but I’m still hopeful :)

Avatar

nimbosa

May 11th, 2007 at 7:21 pm

one and all, i am replying to ToRO’s statement
“Those famous words of MLQ is a philosophical statement of a true nationalist and should not be taken out of context. Only an illogical mind will take its meaning literally.”

sadly, the consequences happened to us, and really quite LITERALLY!!!

Comment Form