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Bring Baguio Home
by Kira Paredes

Pine trees, a climate that’s favorable to health, a peaceful ambience…can you keep these? Find them in one place like Baguio, yes. But keep them, not a possibility. Baguio is one place surreal that many would want to pocket and take home.

Fortunately or unfortunately, you can only get little trinkets and souvenirs to constantly remind you of the existence of such place. Yeah, they don’t justify the pulchritude that your eyes can feast on when you are here but they serve the purpose of being simple representatives.

There are about 10 things that are best chosen by tourists and visitors when they come here. Some are edible and consumable, some for ornament and some for accessories.

1. Flowers. From Malaysian mums, statis, star gazer lilies to roses of different colors—Baguio has them and more, all year round. The climate enables almost all flowers to grow, sprout, and blossom.

Large bundles of vibrant flora can be bought at the market every day. The narrow pavements at both ends of the supermarket are flower stalls where you can get confused taking your pick. Arranged flowers in baskets and wreaths are usually bought behind the Maharlika Building. Flower vendors are also everywhere on bus terminals.

Prices of flowers vary from weather to weather, they are most affordable, bigger, and attractive during summer. They are mot expensive, dull and skimpy during rainy seasons. Prices soar when farmers know that there is an occasion like Valentine’s Day and All Souls’ Day.

2. Vegetables. There are no seasons for vegetables here in Baguio. What is there is the zigzag of prices. Pests propagate more comfortably during the wet season that is why at this time a P4.00/kg sayote becomes P25.

Vegetables still in bundles are in the market “hangar” where the first-hand sellers and planters do their business transactions.

3. Fruits. In Baguio, you can have a fiber-rich diet because of the abundance of fruits. Like flowers and vegetables, prices are off-peak during non-rainy season.
Strawberries, Baguio’s perhaps most famous fruit, costs P40-50 during summer rising up to P200 from July-September then down to P80 on December.
Expect loads of lychees on every fruit stand from May to July and longgans on July to August. During the dry months, fruits are more crisp and they don’t rot so easily.

Lots of fruit supplies now are imported from Davao, Nueva Vizcaya, Australia, and Taiwan.

4. Sweets. A sweet tooth can also be indulged here. No, this city does not have pili or peanut plantations as one might assume because of the stacks of peanut brittles and sugar coated pili nuts. It has a temperature suitable for products such as these because it helps in their preservation – that is, they don’t melt.
Jams, brittles, pinipigs, and tarts last here for a long period of time. On the other hand, one must take extra care in bringing home ube jams because they get spoiled along the way.

5. Walis Tambo. Tiger grass is native to Naguilian mountains, they grow wild within the area. Still a lot of farmers plant it in order to cope with the high demand of brooms.

Prices of walis tambo depend on two things: the thickness of its brush and the kind of handle it has. Walis tambo from Abra and Bontoc usually cost more because of their skillfully crafted handles.

6. Wood Carvings. Km. 6 Asin Road, Tuba, Benguet owes its popularity to its wood carving shops.

Designs represent different provinces and countries; the bulol is the rice god/god of the harvest in Ifugao, the eagle is a La Union trademark and the ati-atihan sculptures are inspired by Iloilo, the Bali head and the Siamese are Indonesian designs. There, you can also buy carved buddhas, elephants, dolphins, and owls.
The wood carvings represent a very multi-cultural city of Baguio.

Life-sized sculptures stand conspicuously inside and outside the stores. Asin wood carvers supply most of the sculptures being sold in Maharlika.

7. Knitted Shirts. Because Baguio is cold, it is but expected that knitted sweatshirts, jackets and cardigans are marketable goods. Balikbayans from the USA and European countries buy piles of these when they come here.

Simple sweatshirts are valued for as low as P100, so far, tag prices don’t exceed P1,000.

Raw materials (the thread) come from Korea. Most dealers in Burnham, Maharlika Building, and the market do their own knitting.
Knits for export are sold at EPZA in Loakan.

8. Woven Pro-ducts. Narda’s and the Easter Weaving School are known for the jackets, sweatshirts, bed spreads, carpets, tapis, and wall decorations that they weave.

There are also some tapis that come from the Cordillera provinces. As much as P15,000 can be splurged on these products but a hundred bucks can very well afford a place mat.

9. Silver. The silver shops in Maharlika and Mines View do not prove that Baguio is the number one source of silver in the Philippines. Silver jewelries and accessories abound because in Baguio, the cost of labor is cheap. They specialize in designing silver in here.
Raw materials come from the gold that Meycauayan (Bulacan), Davao, and Manila purify.

10. Photographs and memories. While souvenirs get dusty, and sometimes they even get lost, the most lasting token from Baguio would be the experiences you had, the places you have seen and been to (and the amount of money you spent while you were here). Remembering the taste of Baguio, the feel of Baguio, how it’s like to have goose bumps in the middle of the night, is more worthwhile than any tangible souvenir that you can afford.

** First published on August 27, 2000

Supplement Articles
:: Which Baguio Centennial?
:: Baguio Midland Courier Builder
:: The 4 Fs across
the times
:: Kennon’s own report on the famous zig–zag
:: What if Baguio settled for a railroad
:: A look into Baguio’s transport system
:: Baguio: A Citadel of Learning
:: Growing up in early Baguio
:: Early recollections
:: Baguio’ cool climate keeps tourism, economy vibrant
:: Development of Burnham Park is city’ concern
:: Remembering the lessons of the past for the future: The Baguio City Market
:: Look, young man, on this tree city, now
:: The Anatomy of Squatting in Summer Capital
:: Baguio’s Many People
:: The Cordillera Warriors
:: A native–born scans: The Future of Baguio
:: Cement Pours into Baguio
:: A futuristic master plan for Baguio
:: Should BMC start tweeting?
:: Behind the scenes: searching the Midland Archives
:: 62 years of important events in the city
:: My hometown
Baguio City




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