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REV–BLOOM: Redefining a tourism story of RP’s Summer Capital
by Marie Venus Tan

The regreening of various parks especially Burnham Park, which is the window of tourism in this mountain resort, has been strengthened further with the launching of the REV-BLOOM Project of DOT-CAR. -- Contributed photo

 
Traveling – It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. -- Ibn Batuta

Pondering on this quote from one of the greatest travelers of all time makes me meditative: What story would a first-time traveler has to say about Baguio City?

Would it be a story on the cool pine morning breeze, the foggy mountains, the scenic destinations, the nice and warm people, the unique indigenous culture? Or would it be a story on traffic congestion, overpopulation, informal settlements, air pollution, and garbage woes?

Would it be both?

Having breathed tourism more than half of my life, and now having to head the Department of Tourism in the Cordillera, what I would definitely want to hear are stories that delve on the positive about the city, perhaps those that narrate its splendor as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” and the “City of Pines.” Yet time and again, the image of Baguio is tarnished by stories of travelers who had seen, felt, and experienced the city’s unpleasant, if not nasty, side – one that borders on the negative effects of rapid and uncontrolled development, commercialization, and urbanization.

Yes, what should have been the story on the beauty of Baguio – something that it has earned through a long course of colonial history from the time it was built by the Americans as a haven for rest and recreation – is usually overshadowed by stories that linger on the negative perceptions about the city. If you hear somebody comment that Baguio City is “not the same as before,” more often than not, this means that the city’s present is not at all better than its past.

As one of this city’s homegrown dreamers who pursued a career abroad that would entail travelling the world, I had high hopes then that these problems might not be that enormous, that everything may have just been exaggerated and was blown out of proportion by a few disgusted travelers. But my hopes would actually diminish. For even the national government, former president Benigno Aquino III in particular, took notice of Baguio City’s worsening condition and diminishing tourism competitiveness, and even created a task force that would evaluate and propose measures that at least improve its current situation.

And so we have the problems of a highly urbanized city, problems which are real, present, and immediate. These problems themselves have been the cause of sad stories created and retold, which have diminished the city’s touristic charm.

Yet these problems are also the same reasons that should inspire us to come together as one community guided by a definite course of action: to relive Baguio’s glory and position it again as a destination of unique vacation appeal.

Such overwhelming concern on the plight of the city, coupled by the desire to help in abetting its problems, led the DOT-CAR to spearhead a tourism drive that capitalizes on community synergy and participation, and which was named Rev-Bloom Baguio! “Rev” here, for all intents and purposes, connotes what we envision the community stakeholders to do for Baguio: Rev-Up community efforts to improve the city’s image, Revive the city’s seemingly lost glory and dwindling tourism competitiveness, Revisit the history and purpose of the city, and Revitalize all efforts and convergence to implement sustainable and responsible projects that would improve the tourism image of the city.

Considered as an urban redevelopment tourism campaign, the tourism drive is not at all complicated, for we believe that if we make the campaign simple and easily understood by the people, the more support it could create and the more momentum it could muster.

Thus, the campaign refocuses on making sustainable tourism alive starting from the basic of things: the “greening” and “blooming” of the city’s physical environment. The immediate aim is to re-create Baguio’s image as a year-round city of flowers and ornamentals and to foster a living environment that will enhance its over-all tourism image. This would entail adopting some ABCs of beautification drive such as Adopt-a-Plant Convergence Project, Adopt-a-Roadside Greening Project, Gateway Flower Landscaping, Adopt-a-Rotunda/Island Project, and Campaign for the Promotion of Green Architecture, among other programs.

Yet the campaign also would want to address the more lingering problems in the city by amplifying long-term solutions to sustain tourism competitiveness, such as the easing of traffic congestion through the promotion of an environmentally sustainable traffic management system and the adoption and development of environmentally-sustainable integrated green transport system.

TOURIST ATTRACTION — The biggest art mural at Sitios Stonehill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap or StoBoSa in Balili, La Trinidad, Benguet has been declared as an official tourist attraction in the capital town. -- Contributed photo

 
Rev-Bloom Baguio!

The campaign for the redevelopment of Baguio City and its revival as the country’s summer capital is now gaining a headway. We have been partnering with local government units, business entities, and every conceivable sector who can help “revisit, revitalize, revive, and rev up the bloom” in this northern paradise.

In recreating the image of the city as a re-blooming and revitalized Summer Capital of the country, the campaign takes into consideration an integrated and sustainable development alongside the city’s immediate environs such as La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay, the metropolitan planning area, which is popularly known in the planning circle as BLISTT.

A more profound objective of the campaign for Rev-Bloom is to effect attitude change of the people and to change mindsets. To us, this is the most important. Because it is when people realize that they have a responsibility to take care of Baguio’s environment, that they learn to truly care and realize that their actions would spell much difference. It is when we can truly pin our hopes that we will realize that all is not lost for the city.

Already, the campaign has been achieving significant gains but still has a long way to go, because reviving the old glory of Baguio is not at all an easy task. But we are optimistic that should the campaign be sustained, we will altogether see and feel a positive change that will improve Baguio City’s image, one that has been achieved by stakeholders because of their deep love and concern for the city.

As the campaign is slowly embraced by communities and the people, we will altogether feel a revitalized environment for Baguio City. Hopefully, when travelers tell their stories about Baguio, it will now border on the beauty of this place, that it can now be considered comparable to the leading cities in the country that had adopted sustainable and responsible planning for their environments.

More than this, we believe that a more significant story that would be told and retold by tourists and travelers going to Baguio would be about the story of its rich history and its people – that the Baguio community never gave up amid the challenges, consolidated their acts, and brought Baguio City back to its rightful self. It will be a story about perseverance, of open-mindedness, of dedication, and of genuine concern for the city.

It will be a story about the people’s love for Baguio and its ultimate sustainable revival!
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:: Bringing back the scent, charm of the old Baguio
:: The legacy of Mauricio G. Domogan: From Barefoot Child to Father of Baguio
:: Hurdling garbage woes as attainable goal for Baguio
:: View from the sidelines:
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:: The Duterte peace & order agenda: The road to achieving ‘crime–free’ Baguio
:: Rebuilding Baguio communities through urban agriculture
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Medline International Training Institute
Grab
PLDT
SiTEL

Baguio Country Club
Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Congressman Mark O. Go
Congressman Ronald M. Cosalan
Department of Agriculture – CAR
Department of Health – CAR
Department of Tourism – CAR
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan
Philex Mining Corporation
Philippine Veterans Bank
Pines City Colleges
PUGO Adventure
Saint Louis University
Sangguniang Panlungsond
University of Baguio

ABC360
Assumption Medical Diagnostic Center
Baguio Center Mall
Baguio Heart and Lung Diagnostic Center, Inc.
Baguio Water District
Benguet State University
Congressman Maximo B. Dalog
Cordillera Kidney Specialists, Inc.
Curamed Pharmacy
Department of Budget and Management– CAR
Department of Environment and Natural Resources – CAR
Department of Trade and Industry – CAR
Dreamforce Review and Training Center
Fabulo Beauty and Image Salon
Far East Pacific Commercial
Filipino–Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Inc.
GMS Technology
Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr.
La Funeraria Paz, Inc.
MMS Development Training Center
Mother Earth Deli Basket
Municipality of La Trinidad
Narda’s
New Media Services
NIIT
OWWA – CAR
Philippine Science High School – CAR Campus
Philippines National Police
Rianella Printing Press
The Manor
The Regional Development Council – CAR
Toni Vanilli Enterprise
Toni Vanilli Enterprise

 



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