Tuesday, November 30, 2004

You grew up in Baguio City if..

you bought your school supplies from CID Educational Supplies
you bought your fabrics from Tiong San Bazaar
you bought your imported ingredients from D & S Fine Foods
you went to Tea House for coffee and siopao
you went to see movies at Pines Theatre
you went to Gold Mine Disco at Hyatt Terraces for night outs
you think that the best chinese restaurant in town is Rosebowl Restaurant
the only grocery store you remember is Sunshine Grocery
you had your photos developed at Pines Studio
you remember where the politicians meet for coffee
and you know where to buy the best Sans Rival

did I forget anything???

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Swan

This swan with its ducklings were once swept in a drainage. 911 had to rescue them.

X files Episode shot here

Thursday's walk led us to this site. One of X Files episodes was shot here. Nothing extraordinary really. I wanted to explore what was inside but my kids thought it was really getting dark.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Coconut Shell Basket

A common project in elementary then was to make a basket out of coconut shells. You will need two whole husked coconut shells to be able to come up with this. With one coconut shell, you will have to saw the topmost part to create an opening enough to fit your hand in. You will then patiently scrape the coconut meat inside and sand the shell inside out. Patient enough so that the surface becomes as smooth as a baby's bum. Depending on your creativity, you might want to cut a portion enough to cover the other shell's opening or if you wish, you can cut it in such a way that it will overlap with the former's opening.


Pasiking-An Igorot's backpack

Igorots are the natives of the Philippine's Cordillera Region surrounding Baguio City. Despite being called Igorots, not all of them understand each other. There are as many dialects as there are provinces in the Cordilleras. It would not be uncommon to hear them speak their dialect though with a little bit of English words mixed in their sentences. The Mountain Provinces as the Cordilleras once called were served by missionaries from different parts of the world. In fact, most the Saint Louis Schools used to be ran by Belgian Missionaries.

Monday, November 08, 2004

False Teeth Became a Fad When I Was Young

If you have a brother or a sister who is about 40 or older, chances are he or she might have 4 front false teeth. In my family, I am the only one who still has four front teeth and I can tell you why.

In the mid 70’s false teeth became a fad. You were “in” if you had four front false teeth. Braces were hardly known in the Philippines then or if they were, only the rich could afford them. I happen to come from a family with bad teeth formations. It comes with the genes. If you had that, it would be a good reason to go to the dentist so you could be “in” with the crowd. Dentists never cared if your front teeth were still good or not. They willingly pulled them out for you. Hey, it was two kinds of income for them, extracting and the false teeth. What's puzzling me now is how could my parents have allowed this to happen to my brothers and sisters?

Had I been 15 then, my front teeth are probably gone by now. Thank God I wasn't born to be 15 when people became crazy with this fad. My front teeth are still crooked but they are still serving me their purpose. My dentist here is suggesting that I should consider having braces. Heck, at my age, forget it. I'm still married! And my smile is still my biggest asset so I don't really care.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

SLU's retiring employees

I cannot believe this. I went to visit my Alma Mater's site and in one of their features were retiring employees of the University. At least three of them have been my instructors way back then. Geez, are they that old now or am I really getting old? Noooo!!!

Just to give you an idea, Boni, the emcee was in his 5th year in Engineering when I was a freshman. He used to be so thin. He loved to head the Tagisan ng Talino. He could also sing if you want to know. Now he earned my admiration. Given that he was gifted, he could have opted to leave the country in search of a greener pasture. How I am surprised that he is still in the Philippines and still at SLU at that. I will not be surprised if he is the dean of whatever department now. My former classmate is now a candidate for that position in our department and she's definitely younger than Boni.

Men, those recently retired instructors were good instructors. I am glad they were not part of the brain drain. I can also tell that they loved the University well.

Friday, November 05, 2004

On my way to work

These are the trees I see everyday when I walk to work. The walk is a fairly long stretch of blocks, twenty to be exact from home and about 20-30 minutes walk. Compared to other people who go to work everyday, walking gives me the time to think about what lies ahead of me at work. Sometimes, it's a time for me to daydream.

It must be almost a year now since I started walking. I definitely saved $50/month on parking and a few hundred bucks on gas. More importantly, I think I am adding more years to my life by walking. I get the exercise that I would otherwise not have if I drove to work.

These trees give me company everyday. Come springtime, their collors wil again change into white or pink. It is when they start blooming that I also start to plan for summer.

For now, they are telling me to start planning for my hybernation.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Some familiar schools

We had quite a few reputable schools. Saint Louis University was the best school in the city. Belgian Priests ran it. This University at one time had the biggest library in the Philippines. The library was about 9 floors high with various specialized departments like the Filipiniana. SLU bred the cream of the crop from all walks of life as proud professionals.

The oldest nursing school then was Baguio General Hospital School of Nursing. It’s now defunct due to government budgetary constraints. A lot of my relatives including my brother were products of this school. There was also Pines City Doctors’ Hospital School of Nursing.

There was also University of Baguio and Baguio Central University. Baguio Colleges was not yet a university but I heard that it is now. Both the presidents of UB and BCF were directors of a company I worked for in my early 20s.

Baguio also had an International School called Brent School. A lot of foreign students mostly children of officers and managers from Camp John Hay and then Benguet Corporation went to this school. It was the only school that actually made use of the football grounds at Burnham Park what it was meant to be for.

Prior to the big earthquake in 1990, there were two high schools exclusive for girls and 1 high school exclusive for boys. The Holy Family Academy had co-ed elementary but girls-exclusive for high school. And then there is Saint Louis Girls’High School and Saint Louis Boys’High School. There was also UB Science High School and this school was co-ed. To be accepted at this school, one had to pass some kind of entrance examination.

Baguio City High School is a government national high school and from what my late mother told me, she was Bert Nievera’s classmate at this school. You read it right, Bert the father of Martin Nievera.

We also have UP Baguio. This school was often used as an entry school to get to UP Diliman. From what I understand, most of the students if they do not get accepted at UP Diliman because of course quota restrictions, they enrol here first and moved to Diliman the next semester. I don’t know how it worked but that’s how my high school classmates did it. A foot-in-the-door kind of thing.

There were other schools of course but there are two more I would like to mention, the Maryknoll School where most of the rich kids went to and the SPED Centre where mentally challenged kids learned. Me? I only went to a “Mababang Paaralan”. f

Baguio's Mode of Transportation then

Back then you can only name a few of the bus lines to and from Baguio City. If you had to go to La Union, Vigan or Laoag, Philippine Rabbit was your best bet. It was then located along Magsaysay Avenue.

If you wanted to go to Pangasinan or Manila, there was Pantranco. Pantranco was the first bus line to offer air-conditioned buses to and from Baguio. Victory Liner came only later on in the Picture.

To go to the Mountain Provinces, there was Dangwa Tranco owned and operated by the Dangwas and their close friends and relatives.

Just as there were only quite a few bus lines serving the city of Baguio, there were also only a few main roads leading to Baguio City. Again to get to La Union and the Ilocos Regions, you would take Naguilian Road, to Manila Kennon Road and to the Mountain Provinces, the Halsema Highway.

Except for Nagulian Road, Halsema and Kennon Roads were notorious for landslides. I remember a time when I was a kid that we hadn’t had any meat for at least a month. Our meat supplies either came from La Union and Pangasinan and if the roads were impassable, it meant no vegetable and meat supplies from the nearby provinces for us. The people had to make do with dried fish and canned goods but even these eventually became scarce.

Within the city itself, there were jeepneys taking you from your area to the city centre. The oldest jeepneys I had seen could only contain 6 passengers, 2 in front and 2 on each side at the back. It was in the early 80s when operators started extending their seats to accommodate 7 or 8 passengers on each side.

Because it is in Baguio where you will find the only military school in the Philippines, we had an airport. I knew that the airport was functional only when the President of the Philippines was coming to attend the PMA graduation rites. Most of the time, it was closed. Baguio can get so foggy back when I was young anyway and more often than not, flights were cancelled because of its zero visibility.
Generally, everything was within walking distance if your were desperate. The air was still clean.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

One Autumn Day

We are 10 minutes away from a fish hatchery and one Saturday just after Fall has officially settled, we decided to go for a walk. This fishery is inside the forest. Originally, we decided to hike to the base of the dam which is about half an hour's worth of walk from where we were. the weather cannot decide whether it was going to rain or shine. When the weather is like that inside the forest, hiking is like an unconquestable feat and so we decided to watch the people fishing in the river instead.

This is the greatest wonder for me. Why of all whys this kind of fish start from this same river when they are still juveniles. They are released in fall and they swim towards the ocean. After about four years in the ocean, they come back to die, yes in the same river where they originated and yes, before fall. They jump against the flow of the water.

What I meant by the wheather not able to decide whether it was going to rain or not.

Where we are, you allowed to fish. You need to have a permit to fish but you are only allowed 4 pcs of salmon per day. Beyond the bridge where you can see 2 people canoeing, fishing is no longer allowed.
We are lucky to live in a place like this. There are so many things you can do reagardless of what kind of wheather you have on that day.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Baguio Midland Courier, DZWT and Other Means of Communication

Midland Courier was our local newspaper then. I am not sure if it still is. Everything you wanted to know about Baguio was there. If you want to know who passed away that week, it will be there complete with the information about the dead’s immediate relatives, where his body is lying, when the burial is, etc. If the dead had a few children from somewhere, everyone would be looking at the obit to find out if all his children were included.

It was a synopsis of what happened during the week because this newspaper was published only once a week on a Sunday. Because it was such a small community, all the locals knew who was who, everyone knew who excelled in what. Everyone who deserved special attention got it. Baguio Midland courier was owned and ran by the Hamada family headed by the Late Oseo Hamada.During typhoon season, Baguio became isolated from other provinces or maybe the other way around. Baguio’s telephone system was not yet that developed when I was still there and so the only way to convey your messages to your relatives and friends in the outerskirts is to go to this radio station, DZWT that had a high frequency, it could reach as far away as Kalinga. The program was called “Panawagan” and announcements are usually said at 7:00 am, 12:00 PM and at 6:00 pm. If you missed the announcement, you need not worry because chances are your neighbor might have heard it and it will be relayed to you if it concerned you. News spread like fire, I tell you.

Mang Tenorio was a legendary radio announcer. From the richest to the poorest of Baguio City, they all knew him in one way or another. He had this "O kaliwan-liwa at kakanan-kanan" program and in this program, he would express his wackiest literaries. 'wonder if he is still alive? Some found this program as corny or baduy but still it was part of Baguio's history.

Telegram would be another thing if your message went to somewhere other than Mt. Provinces, Pangasinan or the Ilocos Region. It took about 7 days to reach the recipient. We had P T & T and RCPI. If you want to make a long distance call to Manila or any part of the Philippines or the world, you had to go to PLDT near the Post Office loop. At PLDT, you had to give the various info like the telephone number of the party you want to call and the person you want to talk to and wait for about 30 minutes for your call to be connected.

Oh, memories. More.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Baguio City

I grew up in Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines. It is a very small city where literally everybody knew everyone. Crispy vegetables, fresh flowers and pinecones were our pride.

Camp John Hay, Burnham Park, Botannical Garden and Philippine Military Academy were the places you wouldn’t want to miss when you’re there. Horseback riding was always an activity tourists would like to try. We also have a park called Wright Park and right in front of the park is the summer home of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

Boating at Burnham Park was a fun thing to do for tourists and I remember that the city used to have a skating park right at the heart of the Burnham Park.

This city, despite its being small became the center of education for Region 1 and the Cordillera Region. Not that it was the best educational center in the Philippines, but it was really a place conducive to learning. Students come from Tarlac, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Mountain Provinces and as far as Subic Bay.
Surrounding Baguio City were big mining companies of gold copper and silver. These mining companies were used to manage by the Americans.