At this time of the year when I was young, I would be one of those students participating in a parade down Session Road. The parade is called “Silahis ng Pasko” and marks the start of the holiday season.
Actually, people start decorating their houses after November 1. I am talking about how Session Road starts looking like Main Street of Disneyland(it's a dream) where there’d be a lot of people and there’d be a lot of blinking lights.
Taxis would be difficult to grab. Usually, people wait for taxis in front of Mercury Drug at Session Road because that’s where the taxi stands used to be. If you think you were smarter, you’d go one notch ahead of the others and go up to PNB. I thought I was the smartest and I’d go right in front of CID Educational Supplies. Well, sometimes it was not dependent on how smart you were but on how heavy your groceries and shopping bags were to have that energy to go two more notches to get a taxi. As the population became denser, people started going further than CID Educational Supplies. They would reach as far as Patria de Baguio just to get a cab. Now that's history.
Let’s go back to the parade. The City Mayor would lead the parade. Oh it was so fun to see the city mayors without bodyguards then. They probably had but it was not as visible as they are now. The city mayors I’ve come to know were Luis Lardizabal, Ping Paraan and Mr. Bueno (his name slipped my mind). For some odd years, I always thought that Mr. Nars Padilla was the mayor. He was always on the lead. Now I realized, of course he was a media personality and he was to be in front to take pictures to dress his coverage. He eventually become a City Hall Official.
In Baguio, you would know Christmas is coming because there’d be a shift in the fruits being sold on the streets. On ordinary days, fruits being sold would be bananas (lakatan, tomok and cantong). During the holiday season, the vendors' baskets would be full of apples, oranges and persimmons instead. The streets would be full of people not just from Baguio City anymore but from the outskirts. This is the people's opportunity to buy their children gifts for Christmas. For the businessmen, it would be their opportunity to sell their products.
The city market would be a riot. With the prices abnormally going high, so would the number of pickpocketers too. Well, I think I have other stories but I'll save them for the rest of the year.
Tell me about your childhood memories of this season in Baguio.