Issue of December 24, 2017

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Family of Thai elephants bared in Botanical Centennial Park
by Ofelia C. Empian

STRONG PARTNERSHIP -- The life-size family of elephants in the Botanical-Centennial Park is seen to be one of the top-drawing tourist attractions in the garden. The sculpture, created by top Thailand artisans, which symbolizes the strong partnership of the two countries, was unveiled with the officials of Baguio and Thailand led by the ambassador on Dec. 18. -- Ofelia Empian


Life-size sculpture of a family of Thai elephants were unveiled on Dec. 18 at the Botanical-Centennial Park, reminiscent of the years when the park, then called Baguio City Zoological and Botanical Garden used to house live animals in the early 70’s.

Thai Ambassador Thanatip Upatising together with Thai officials graced the event, which is a collaboration between the Royal Thai Embassy in Manila, the City of Baguio, and the Philippine-Thai Cultural Organization.

The landmark is an initiative of Upatising. It was constructed to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the longstanding diplomatic relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Thailand in 2019.

“It signifies unity, solidarity and the close bonds between the peoples of the two countries that have been passed on from generation to generation and will remain so for years to come,” the marker reads.

“Elephants are big strong and gentle but they are family-oriented, a characteristic that we want to encourage to adapt,” Upatising said.

Three Thai craftsmen, Somphong Boonthip, Prasan Prasatketkam and Nitithivat Khantharankham, were commissioned by the Thai government to craft the Thai symbol, seen to be one of the top-drawing tourist attractions in the garden.

The five elephants were all done in striking precision, with the details of the skin, tusks and other body parts of the elephants close to the real one.

The craftsmen were said to be creators of life-size elephant props used in the Thai action movie “Ong Bak” according to the ambassador.

It took them three months and two weeks to complete the family of elephants, all the while staying in the City of Baguio during its creation. The artisans were provided with manpower, storage and materials support and security from the City Environment and Parks Management Office.

Layers of wire mesh and steel bars are covered with top Thai cement maker Siam Cement Group’s portland cement to create the artwork “that can withstand even the strongest winds and rain.”

The style of construction is known as “ferrocement,” which was first used in France in the late 18th century and is still being used today.

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