Saturday, December 12, 2009

That concrete pine tree, seriously now

Would you offer fake snow in Aspen? How about plastic tulips in Holland? Papier-mache pyramids in Egypt? The concrete pine tree at the top of Session Road just doesn’t make sense.

And it has to go.

The reasons for keeping that cement tree doesn’t hold water at all (pun very much intended). While we don’t really want to antagonize and insult the people behind it, we also don’t want to antagonize the sensibilities and insult the aesthetic sense of the community by having a fake concrete pine tree in what is known all over the world as the City of Pines.

And just because millions were spent in erecting that phallic monstrosity does not mean we should grin and bear it and turn a blind eye to it. In fact, that’s precisely the reason why the city must be rid of that eye sore. It is a monument to a former administration’s, its proponents and protectors, lack of aesthetic sense, an unforgivable offense in a city known for its natural beauty. Baguio is not just like any other roadside municipality who can only boast of a Pamilihang Bayan and colorful tricycles, not at all. Baguio is a distinct national treasure and government projects such as a concrete pine tree with a sign that says “plant me, protect me” is laughable at best, and deeply insulting, nonsensical and even humiliating at worst.

As to what to replace it with, so many inspired suggestions have been floated – among them, which I personally endorse, is to transfer there Benhur Villanueva’s sculpture, Builders of Baguio, from the Botanical Garden. But according to a Centennial Commission official, that’s out of the question. Sayang. That could have been the beginning of the transformation of the now unattractive Session Road to a Central Business District made beautiful by the creations of the city’s world-class artists that could be at par with the various streets in Europe that feature sculptural works by the masters.

But we can never run out of ideas on what to replace that hideous thing with – that same CenteCom official suggested a light fountain, a brilliant suggestion. Most people have said that they would want a real pine tree there, another good one: maybe a pine seedling that the community can take care of and leave as its legacy and something that can tell the future generation that hey, despite the fact that this generation let the rape of Baguio City happen, at one time we did plant a real tree. But a blogger called our attention to the fact that pine seedlings have a low survival rate and with the pollution in the area, that pine seedling as almost sure not to survive. A pocket garden? A water fountain?

Or nothing. Yes, nothing would be better than that something. It’s never wrong to admit and apologize for one’s mistakes - nothing personal here, really, but seriously, to the creators of that… thing… did you, do you still, honestly believe that right in the heart of the City of Pines, in a spot where almost everybody pass and see almost every single day, that distasteful monument to lack of aesthetic and even common sense should stay?

Seriously now.

(to sign the petition calling for the removal of that concrete pine tree, click HERE)

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