Issue of June 26, 2016
     
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66th Courier Anniversary Issue
 
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LT unveils giant mural landscape
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

COMMUNITY-DRIVEN ARTWORK -- Inspired by the famed favela arts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hillside homes at sitios Stonehill, Botiwtiw, and Sadjap (StoBoSa) in Barangay Balili, La Trinidad, have been transformed into a large colorful mural, the first-of-its-kind community artwork in the country.  A part of the “Rev-Bloom” program of DOT-CAR, the project, which was launched by DOT Sec. Ramon Jimenez, DOT-CAR Dir. Marie Venus Tan, La Trinidad Mayor Edna Tabanda, Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan, and Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan, will showcase colorful combinations of flowers, strawberries, and tulips once completed next month. -- Harley Palangchao

 

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – What seemed an impossible, complicated, and ambitious project that involved getting people to agree to have their houses painted according to another’s design has been realized in this capital town through bayanihan and collective desire to change mindsets, attain a harmonious and safe living environment, and instill sustainable development in communities.

Thus, what used to be an eyesore made up of houses strewn with uncoordinated colors and displayed with lines of drying up clothes along the gateway of Benguet in Km.3, La Trinidad is now a charming landscape of colors depicting sunflowers, strawberries, and tulips that signify the “re-blooming” of the area.

Known to locals as Stonehill, three sitios in Barangay Balili – Stonehill, Botiwtiw, and Sadjap – are now collectively known as the Stobosa Hillside Homes Artwork, the site of the favela-based art project conceptualized by the Department of Tourism-CAR led by Regional Director Marie Venus Tan, to serve as a banner project to kick off the agency’s “Rev-bloom” (Rev-up, revive, revisit, revitalize) Urban Redevelopment Tourism Campaign. It supports the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign by implementing a project that depicts a more colorful, more vibrant, more dynamic, more alive, more significant, and more fun tourism.

After hurdling the process of forging agreements with partners and consultations and acceptance by the concerned communities, the almost finished mural painting of houses that officially started in January this year was unveiled last Thursday by DOT Sec. Ramon Jimenez Jr., making the first-of-its-kind project in the country as his last public appearance before he turns over the position to the new leadership.

 “Once upon a time, where your homes are now, flowers used to bloom. This project, precisely, is to remind all of you what this place (Stobosa) is all about. The reason why that means a lot precisely is your devotion to the things that God made: nature, flowers, mountains, trees,” Jimenez said.

As one of his last actions as DOT secretary, he said the department will continue to replicate this kind of dedication everywhere in the Cordillera. He said there must be a concerted effort by the people of the Cordillera to rededicate its mountains to flowers and trees. He assigned Tan to make sure this pushes through.

Jimenez was with other DOT officials including Ayala Foundation’s Patricia Zobel de Ayala, visitors, and Benguet officials led by Gov. Nestor Fongwan, Rep. Ronald Cosalan, La Trinidad Mayor Edna Tabanda, and Balili barangay officials, and representatives from various institutions and individuals supporting the endeavor.

Tan said the project will be replicated in Quirino Hill, Baguio City and other Cordillera provinces.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan welcomed the project as he urged the city council to consider working on an ordinance where barangays adopt a uniform color, but he said this should strictly undergo public consultations to get the consent of homeowners.

The Stobosa Hillside Homes Artwork project involves the repainting of about 200 houses along a mountainside at Km.3 that are mostly made of GI sheets, wood, and concrete, covering an area of about 18,000 square meters.

Chanum Foundation’s renowned Tam-awan Village group of artists led by solar painter Jordan Mang-osan made the blueprint of the artwork and did the painting with the help of house owners and community members who volunteered their services.

With the artists, DOT-CAR worked with major partners; Benguet provincial government, the local government of La Trinidad, which coordinated the project with Barangay Balili communities, and Davies Paints, led by Johnlee Garcia, that supplied the painting materials.

Tan explained the Stobosa, more than a beautification project, also aims to “serve as a pilot project that could be emulated by other local government units with similar dense communities in hillsides such as Baguio City, highlighting a ‘can-be-done’ development template that would impact the usually conservative mentality of local leaders and motivate them to effect sustainable change and concrete actions.

Tan said it also aims to create a unique tourism destination that could benefit the people in the area through the creation of livelihood opportunities such as the provision of tourism-related services and businesses and create a high-impact enhancement of the area, which is currently characterized by unplanned settlements, overcrowded living environments, and poor visual ambience and aesthetics.


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