That's just 182 trees.
Think of the economic benefits that a mall expansion would bring.
With all due respect to those putting in their two cents' worth regarding SM City Baguio's expansion plan that will result in the removal of trees on one side of Luneta Hill, the carving of that whole side of the hill and the building of a huge concrete structure in the area, but if you don't live in Baguio, you probably would never understand why we are doing all we can to oppose the project.
You probably won't understand why we're here because unlike in big cities where people's homes are limited within their concrete fences or condominium units, our home goes beyond the boundaries of our respective houses. The hills we climb, the trees we rest our tired bodies against or take shade from the sun under, the trails we walk on, the mountains that shelter us, the earth the carries and nurture us - that's our home. Luneta Hill is part of our home.
You probably won't understand because to you, the "City of Pines" is merely tagline. To us living in Baguio, the pine trees are our heritage and pride.
You probably won't understand because while other cities exist for the things that were built there, Baguio existed and continue to exist because of the things we left untouched. its natural beauty is Baguio's raison d'etre, take that away and you take away the very soul of our city.
And while we live in one of the most beautiful cities (yet) in the country, we live in constant danger - the mountains are alive, so we strive to keep a perfect balance between our own needs and desires and nature's limitations. The mountains will protect us from tempests one day and bury our homes in mud the next. Every year we get isolated from the rest of the world when landslides block all paths to and from Baguio. The trees in our home help protect us from all that.
You probably won't understand for you have never experienced the amount of rain we get every year - the trees help keep most of that rain from flooding our home.
You probably have never seen an entire road disappear under water, with currents strong enough to bring down with it huge boulders and so much earth - the trees help keep much of that water from washing away homes and claiming precious lives. If you've never lost a loved one, a friend, a neighbor, a friend of a friend, due to nature's wrath, you will never understand.
You probably don't know while nature blessed us with an abundance of live-giving/nurturing/protecting trees, much of the trees in our home were planted by the same people who are now doing all they can to defend them: from our forefathers before us to our own children today, with their own hands, on their knees, scooping earth with their own hands, gently placing each seedling in, and taking care of each one of those young plantings to make sure they grow to be the majestic and beautiful living beings they can be.
And you expect us no to do anything when a corporate entity, an artificial person owned by the richest man in the country, want to remove these trees for being in the way of more money?
If you have no clear idea of our way of life up in the mountains of Baguio, then your opinion, with all due respect, means nothing.