Friday, December 30, 2011

CONCRETE PLANS


Two things stand out as I look back on life in Baguio in the year 2011 – the Irisan garbage slide that claimed lives and property (and more than that, human dignity), and concrete pouring all over the city. And it doesn’t take much to see the relation between these two incidents.

The Rose Garden would be unveiled soon after its months-long concrete rehabilitation. While some of us would go ohhhh and ahhhh at the sight of a newly erected structure, this early some of us are already missing the earth on which grass and roses use to grow on. The Botanical Garden entrance is currently blocked by a block of concrete, it was such a disturbing sight. Though the tarpaulin showing an artist’s perspective on what it will eventually look like looked pretty, it doesn’t give much comfort again because of the presence of so much concrete.

Naguillian Road has been re-opened following hellish months of heavy traffic and the sight of intimidating concreting machines, but this early I am already missing the much smoother ride of the old road – compared to the newly concreted one that makes it feel like one’s driving down a staircase. Same goes for Quezon Hill’s newly re-opened main road. And really, don’t these road projects involve architects, or anyone with some sense of aesthetics, at all? Don’t they realize that it’s these roads who really welcome our guests to the city? The roads, newly paved (or re-paved) as they are, are ugly. We know make these repairs in quadrilateral portions and I just can’t help but notice how crooked the divisions between the portions are that if this were a kindergarten project the teacher would surely have the pupils redo the whole thing. What, nobody had a ruler when they were making it?

So that was the year that was – so much effort and precious resources being poured into what all seem like a huge waste of time and those same precious resources, while we hear hardly anything about anything being done really make life, all forms of life, in this great city better. Most of the roads repaired really didn’t need it, or if they did, the end results seem to be somewhat worse than the way they were before. The gardens – Rose and Botanical, didn’t really need concrete – they’re gardens, what they needed were plants and trees.

And while brains continue to be racked for new concrete structures to be erected and resulting in more of our natural environment getting wrecked, we hardly hear anything concrete about the more serious problems of the city right now: overpopulation, garbage and the environmental destruction that come with these.


I don’t really want to sound so negative at the beginning of what the Mayans’ claim is the year that the world as we know it would end, but it would be great to be informed of any concrete plans the city has to solve issues more pressing than paving over paved roads. For without it, it may just really be the year that Baguio, as we know and once knew it, would end.

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