Saturday, May 4, 2013

Love songs, trees, a few good men and women

A voice outside a popular watering hole along Session Road sings of love lost accompanied by the loveless sound of a midi keyboard. His voice is occasionally drowned out by the noise of politicians’ promises in the form of soulless jingles coming out of mono speakers mounted on top of jeepneys. A lot of these politicians just don’t get it, the blind singer can see through the charades I’m sure.

A van was parked in between two empty slots along Session Road, I politely asked the driver if he can move the vehicle a bit so two cars can park instead of just one. “Mahihirapan akong lumabas e,” he said. His van had speakers on the roof and posters all over it proclaiming a congressional candidate to be among the “few good men” in Baguio. Nahihirapan akong maniwala.

What’s up with the trees on Luneta Hill? Since the lower court dismissed the case we filed in our effort to save the trees from SM City Baguio’s backhoes to give way to their expansion project, we have been waiting for the case to move at the Court of Appeals. In the meantime, we’re wondering if SM would like to let us know if the initial 49 trees they were able to uproot survived at all. The remaining trees on a hillside directly above a university and a high school nearby don’t look healthy too.

The Save 182 Movement will remain apolitical and will not directly endorse any candidate in the coming elections. We were united by a cause – to save the trees on Luneta Hill. And we would like to remain united, and politicizing the group by directly getting involved in the on-going campaign would be divisive as each of the individual members and allied people’s organizations have different political agenda.

We do endorse a common cause though – the protection of the city’s natural environment and heritage. And there are some candidates out there who have championed that cause. We’re taking note.

I posted a photo online of a guy, obviously a foreigner whom I learned is an artist who has been living in Baguio for a long time now, sweeping at the Post Office Mini-Park. I watched him for the next hour making sure not a single cigarette butt or piece of plastic was left. Then with a bucket of water and a tabo, he ended his morning ritual by watering the flowering plants around the park. One “taga-Baguio” commented on the photo I posted, “may bayad ‘yan.” As I write this, close to 500 have “liked” the photo, and close to a hundred have shared it with others. If only half of them would pick a broom too…

If only half of them would actually pick up a broom.

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