Sunday, May 6, 2012

Burnham Park

The boaters kept reiterating that the lake was only 4 feet deep. I resisted the urge to argue, "I do not fear of drowning, I fear of dying from infection!" (not to mention humiliation).

And yes, there in the  far right of the picture is SM with its evil tree-cutting plans. Somebody please call Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
Burnham Park, known for the man-made lake in the middle of a mountain. A trip to Baguio would not be complete without a 30-minute paddle around the murky waters that probably haven't been changed since its first construction.

I guess I'm a hygiene freak when it comes to non-sanitized elements from sources I do not trust, the same way I frown at people drinking from the "miraculous faucets" of Manaoag Church while thinking, "Is that thing even purified??". 

So, in fear of overturning and/or sinking like a wooden Titanic, we hired a paddler for our boat (additional 25 php), who turned out to be a seaman so we knew we were pretty much in good hands. He sure can handle a 5 foot non-motorized boat if he has studied extensively how to be Poseidon's adopted son.

A quick walk around the park after the boat ride. If not for the few degrees Celcius drop in the temperature, I would have thought we're in Luneta Park or Quezon City Circle. Where were the unparalleled green sloping lawns that I remembered back in high school when I first visited the place? And what are these ugly blue tents that just screams Divisoria? I want to speak to the manager!

The Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes

(a.k.a Stairway to Heaven)

Bring your anti-hypertensive meds, inhaler for the asthmatics and a coffin for the rheumatics.

I don't pretend to be Kuya Kim to know how many steps there are before you reach the Grotto which seemed to be just at arms length from St. Peter's pearly gates (especially if you have a heart disease), but I could confidently tell you that there are a LOT.

A friendly climbing-the-grotto cheat sheet:

If you want to cut the climbing time / effort / calorie consumption / risk of myocardial infarction in half, bring your own car and park it in the grotto's designated parking space.

Upon walking to the "stairway proper" you would realize that you've already climbed half you way to the Grotto, leaving you with only a measly 50 or more steps to the finish line. Great news for senior citizens!

End Note:

Unfortunately, the Baguio City that everybody knows and loves has succumbed to the pressure and lure of over-commercialism. There are stores everywhere, in areas where the untarnished beauty of nature should be reigning supreme. There are too many wanting to take a slice out of the profit cake in expense of the destruction of nature which is ironically the primary reason why people flock to the destination in the first place.

More than a few places already feels crowded and chaotic from all these people selling stuff from Baguio bonnets to overpriced sweet corn to pictures with fluffy dogs and neon-colored horses. The city has their climate to thank for the relentless tourists from all over the country looking for an escape from the humidity of summer city living, but will the interest still suffice if the pride and honor of the place is already overrun and destroyed by super mall giants and the locals themselves looking for some quick cash?

There is so much potential in this place. I just wish locals and officials learn how to harness that potential without stepping on the simplest of grass and plant-life that makes the destination spectacular in the first place. So that, in the years and decades to come, people will still say, "I want to go to Baguio", not because it's cold, but because it is a place of beauty.


Anonymous said...

Have you seen Mines View now? All I can its much worse than Burnham Lake and Lourdes Grotto. Guess Its all about the money now.

Baguio's first mobile restaurant guide:

Clarriscent said...


Oh yes. It's like a foggy PERYA. In a bad way. *sigh*

S. Gamboa said...

That's a great snap shots of Baguio City. Did you try to visit Sagada.

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