Issue of January 14, 2018

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Travel time

The improvement of road networks in the country especially to tourism destinations like Baguio has seen a surge of visitors to the City of Pines most noticeably during the weekends. When before it took about six to eight hours travel from Manila or Subic to Baguio, travel time has been cut to about half that at present, if I’m not mistaken.

This near-sighted Ibaloy writer noticed that now, it does not take holidays or long weekends for tourists to flock to this little corner in the boondocks to escape the lowland heat. Just visit Burnham Park on a Saturday or Sunday and you will get what I mean. The decrease in travel time has really created wonders for the city’s tourism industry and that’s a great thing indeed since whether we like it or not, Baguio is a tourist destination and much of its income is derived from tourism. That’s just how it is.

Of course, having a lot of visitors coming to such an already overcrowded and relatively small melting pot of a city creates attendant problems like garbage, lack of parking space, traffic jams, and others. So it’s best to reiterate the call of local officials led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Rep. Mark Go, and Vice Mayor Edison Bilog for visitors to treat Baguio as their home-away-from-home and cooperate in keeping it clean and green, avoiding littering, using public transport if possible, and adhering to the no-smoking policy and other regulations.

It would also be beneficial, I think, if the city’s planned multi-level parking be realized and also the creation of the Baguio-La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay (BLISTT) area finally come to fruition to decongest the city which, according to experts, has already breached its carrying capacity level a long time ago. Just a thought.

FYI: The City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit of the Health Services Office under Dr. Rowena Galpo has reported that as of noon of Jan. 5 this year, there were six reported cases of fireworks-related injuries in the region all from the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. The surveillance began Dec. 21, 2017.

HSO Medical Officer Donna Tubera said this is 25 percent lower than the eight cases recorded for the same period in 2017 and 54 percent lower compared to a five-year average.

Of this number, three were injured in Baguio, two in Benguet, and one in Mountain Province.

The three reported injuries in Baguio was 40 percent lower than the five reported for the same period last year and 71 percent lower than the five-year average. There were no deaths recorded, no stray bullets, no watusi ingestions, and no tetanus due to firecrackers.

All victims are males with age ranging from 11 to 18 years old with no case under the influence of alcohol. One is an active user while the others were passive. They all suffered injuries due to blast/burn of digits or hands.

The report stated that the most common firecracker used was piccolo (67 percent) where one of the victims claimed to have bought it from a sidewalk vendor at the Baguio public market.

No case was admitted and all were discharged after being given anti-tetanus and appropriate antibiotics.

Good news: The Department of the Interior and Local Government through the Philippine Information Agency-CAR has announced that Presidential Proclamation 758 has declared the second week of January and every year thereafter as Best Dives Philippines Week. The event aims to promote scuba diving with an emphasis on protection and conservation of the country’s underwater marine resources. It’s more fun in the Philippines!

Belated birthday greetings to the ever humble and always cheerful Mam Sol Go, wife of Rep. Go.Cheers!

We are on air Wednesdays, 8 am, over K-Lite 96.7 FM, with Hillary Johnson. In this beautiful archipelago of delicious coconuts and smiling carabaos, it’s more fun and cooler in Baguio!

Here’s “Love Song” by William Carlos Williams: “Sweep the house clean,/ hang fresh curtains/ in the windows/ put on a new dress/ and come with me!/ The elm is scattering/ its little loaves/ of sweet smells/ from a white sky!/ Who shall hear of us/ in the time to come?/ Let him say there was/ a burst of fragrance/ from black branches.”

Until next week and may Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.

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