Tuesday, June 20, 2006

moondane thoughts

one of the things i dread the most is when my three year old daughter is looking for something - a toy, a drawing, an object - whose specific name or exact description she can't remember at the moment, so she has to go through the daunting task of describing it to me, an adult.

i brace myself as the little patience she can muster slowly ebbs away the minute i say, "no, i don't know where it is" or "no, i haven't seen it." then she will exasperatingly start describing it to me, in slowly rising decibels, starting with it's color. ok color is good. i name a toy. that's not it. feet will start to shuffle now as she follows me with a rain of descriptions that never quite go beyond, "yung ano", "yung ganito", which she matches with movements to demonstrate what she does with it or mimicking what sound it makes like "pffft" "shrrum" "brrrm". i am lost and to my daughter, completely ignorant and useless.

these episodes usually end with a tantrum and a desperate attempt on my part to hand over anything remotely close to her "pffft yellow thing." until finally we find the darn thing. and it turns out to be: a green hair clip.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

baguio in flux

balanced rock formation. a "new" addition to the botanical garden

baguio holds fond memories for me. i forged enduring friendships and even met my partner in this city that has been known as the summer capital of the philippines. i remember it offered me solace back then and even a desire to make it a second home. i have made several trips to baguio in the last decade. most of them much-needed breaks and treats for loved ones who were first-timers. each trip came with excitement and anticipation, like visiting an old friend. curious as to how time has changed it, wondering if the favored places still held their unique charm.

but through the years what once was a threat of massive development and commercialization has now become a bitter reality for the city of pines. a landscape that early on unravelled rolling mountains covered with lush greenery are now either badly deforested or littered with colored rooftops. traffic along the major thoroughfares worsened. establishments from manila slowly creeped and now opened outlets in the city. top of this is the sm mall operating since november 2003.

and the ukay-ukay stores, the haven of the bargain hunting fashionista, now holds fixed prices. this, i lament the most.

but despite all these, some good things remain. session road still transforms into an eclectic mix of artists, bargain hunters, and a host of other characters wanting a taste of baguio's nightlife. although recently, a 2 a.m. curfew on bars and liquor stores is sure to dampen the spirits of baguio's nocturnal lot.

a most reassuring thing, is tam-awan village, set up by national artist bencab and other baguio artists along a hillside near bokawkan road. entering this artists' village is like going through a portal of baguio past. it is also surprisingly cooler owing to its dense foliage. authentic ifugao huts were installed in different areas of the hillside, treating visitors to climbs along steep pathways to reach each hut, quite reminiscent of exploring the town of sagada. it almost felt like you weren't in baguio but further up in the cordillera region.

as for the usual tourist destinations - the parks - to me, have lost most of their appeal. if anything, they have become painful reminders of a deteriorating baguio, lost to the onslaught of human settlement and development.