Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cooling off in Baguio

From the highland jewel that is Baguio City...

"Four military generals mentioned in the "Hello Garci" recordings..." have been cleared of involvement in cheating in the last national elections here in the Philippines.
"They were not involved in cheating in the 2004 presidential election, according to the findings of a military report that is to be released..." so reports the Philippine's Daily Inquirer website. inq7.net

To me ok, that's the news- but the story is how and where the report comes from that says so much more Its symbolism is "on vacation..." So things are normal in the sometimes topsy turvy world of Philippine politics and governance.


The President and her Cabinet and the reports coming from the cool "City of Pines" of Baguio, where officials are on a "Lenten retreat" a common practice for decades since the American Colonial and Commonwealth period .

Tens of thousands every year make the trek or rather the drive to escaping the sweltering heat of the lowland plains and coastline.

The summer capital of course is where so much happens on Holy Week and Easter Break its is above the plains are has of course been the "summer capital" and is now far from the little town it once was a hundred years ago.

Baguio has also been home to the only base the US Military never wanted to lose in this part of Asia! Camp John Hay- not because of strategic or military value But climate, the golf, the picture perfect lawns and those little cottages. It has long been known as the perfect rest spot

Looking at the reports coming from there -with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other Cabinet members on work-vacation-retreat it is clearly a picture that many want to see a break from all the current tension and perhaps a respite from the daily grind of alleged coup plots and intrigue of political infighting that is sadly hurting more than helping the country.

Don't Get me wrong - I don't take sides- I am a journalist- this kind of crisis instability thing is what I cover and make al living from by reporting on it.

But there are times when my editors abroad say - What another one of those stories?
It seems not only locals are fatigued but most of the international press is as well on issues raised over and over and over anew.

Also for us in Media here in the Philippines it is a good excuse to hop up to Baguio and hope they stay a little past Easter Sunday.

It always was my favorite assignment to go up and cover- and - afterwards enjoy the night-life along session road and well wander about.

I always liked the clean easy going place that seems always so open and welcome a alternative to the rest of congestion and traffic of the Capitol Region I'm based in for 90 per cent of the time.

Nightlife has changed things were once so easy to reach- I remember heading out the places we stayed and hoping from one night spot to the next now things have evolved- and so has shopping habits with the entry of SM malls there though.

It used to be the fun of going to the market areas to buy ones needs that also made the trip more of an adventure for those of us mall bound in the metropolis - not - by choice so much as by convince. Its a shame more integration could not be done to make the Mall more market friendly and integrate some aspects of that beyond the traditional chain stores.

Anyhow - in a few hours have to cover another story and taking this break from hard news to add a little color to my usually newsy post with a little bit of the lighter side is something you can here find and view and see more often.

Comments:
Ah, Baguio. Always brings back wonderful sensual and coming-of-age memories. Was last there for 2 weeks with my six-year-old son in November a year ago; stayed at the Baguio Country Club and walked daily to Camp John Hay for coffee and dinner.

Worked out daily private lessons in tennis, swimming, and taekwondo for my son.

We did check out the old governor-general's mansion, now called Mansion House, where our honorable leaders discuss with the Cabinet how to take the rest--of what they didn't get in the capital.
 
Ah, Baguio. Always brings back wonderful sensual and coming-of-age memories. Was last there for 2 weeks with my six-year-old son in November a year ago; stayed at the Baguio Country Club and walked daily to Camp John Hay for coffee and dinner.

It was a masterpiece in urban design by Daniel Burnham, who laid out the city he envisioned for 50,000 people. Today, most estimates place Baguio's population at 300,000.

We did check out the old governor-general's mansion, now called Mansion House, where our honorable leaders discuss with the Cabinet how to take the rest--of what they didn't get in the capital.
 
Thanks
born rude... am sure the place remembers you too...
mike
 
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