Issue of September 13, 2020
     
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Angat Tayo Baguio

We join the City of Baguio, the Baguio Tourism Council (BTC) and the City Tourism Office in its Angat Tayo Baguio campaign.

Angat means to raise, to list or to progress. It’s an apt word for the revival of Baguio’s economy, little by little. Everybody can help in lifting the situation or in drawing the macro picture; to let people know we are up and about, albeit slowly but surely.

“Life can be pulled by goals, just as surely as it can be pushed by drives,” a quote by Victor Frankl. “Slowly but surely, the expedition is moving ahead towards its goal,” said Leonid Slutsky. “I am learning to trust the journey even when I do not understand it,” by Mila Bron, and former U.S. President Barack Obama declared, “Slowly, but surely, we are moving in the right direction. We are on the right track. The economy is getting stronger.”

These are famous positive quotes that helped to propel a trajectory towards something higher and something more hopeful.

During the 1990 earthquake, Baguio had a “Bangon Baguio” slogan from the earthquake ruins and “Dagupan – a phoenix rising” from its liquefaction experience. This was probably inspired by Sachs, “Hope rises like a phoenix from the ashes of shattered dreams.”

Thirty years after, we have risen and yet faced with another crisis – the pandemic. We can make it again, if we work together as a team. No one should be left behind.

When asked why Angat Tayo Baguio? Ferdie Balanag of the BTC has this to say, “Much of tourism’s positive impact to Baguio’s economy is during the summer months, beginning with the Panagbenga Festival all the way through the string of well-designed activities meant to lure the tourist crowds up here. For decades, this has been Baguio’s allure – the festival type of tourism promotion that has served Baguio well in more ways than one.”

Yes, the pandemic has hit the most productive months of the year for Baguio, the “on-season months.”

Working behind the scenes is BTC head Gladys Vergara. She has rallied people to come up with slogans and coping mechanisms to show the world, that just like a phoenix, Baguio is slowly rising. What can we do to help? Some can show pictures in social media, activities for the past months, memories or your own concepts of how Baguio can rise from the pandemic.

Baguio has a lot of goodwill.

Understandably, with quarantine, lockdowns, health protocols, and travel restrictions people have become wary of the pandemic. But with Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s firm stand and commitment to health and safety protocols for the past six months, it has given the environment and the people of Baguio some respite. Parks have become greener. People feel safer because of the stringent measures.

The temporary halt of businesses has given us the jitters.

Jobs had been lost.

Old and young people had to stay home for safety.

It has introduced us all to the new normal. It takes time for the person to get used to and for the pocket to experience its dwindling capacity or near emptiness. But we are all still hopeful.

After six months, tourism is slowly but surely opening up. They call it the tourism bubble. It’s a calculated move. Do we want to or should we wait a little longer? The slow opening will happen on Sept. 21. It’s a wait and see attitude. Slowly but surely, we want the Angat Tayo Baguio endeavor to succeed, but definitely, we need more consultations.

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