July 13, 2024

I’ve heard from the news recently that Botanical-Centennial Park is one of the proposed tourist sites in the city to undergo development. I was in the vicinity last week and I have seen the current status of the park. I wonder what kind of beautification they will carry out on it.
For nature lovers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a while, there is no need to travel far because the park is just a 10-minute drive from town. It’s a paradise hidden in the core of the city.
The first attraction that will catch anyone’s eye upon stepping into the park is the monument of Igorot warriors on their ethnic costumes. It depicts the pride, the history of brevity, and the rich culture of the natives of the city.
As we traverse along the park, I noticed that it has undergone a lot of reformation. The natural beauty of the park has been touched by the hands of man. The trails are now paved with cobblestones. A grassy portion of the park has been set up with statues of different animals designed for kiddie amusement. More structures, some resembling Chinese towers, were also added to the existing ones. The footpath of the man-made cave which used to be dark and muddy is now concrete and has built-in lights.
Local and foreign tourists are absolutely allured by the modification.
As for me, I hanker for the old garden. I miss its trails where I used to walk while sniffing the fresh air from pine trees. I yearn for the grasses where we usually sit and lie during picnics as we enjoy the natural scenery. I cannot experience the slippery mud that sticks to our shoes anymore. And the dark atmosphere that adds to the thrill and excitement inside the cave.
A huge area on one side of the park has been landscaped with medicinal plants, bushes, shrubs, ferns, trees, and flowers. Most of the plants are endemic species and are prevalent only in the Philippines. In the middle is a man-made creek where the water flowing from it comes from a spring. If there is a transformation I appreciate and love, it is the idea of the “adopted park.”
As we peregrinate around, we encountered some personnel manually fetching from the creek to water the plants. I really salute them for their dedication and hard work in maintaining the beauty of the terrain. It wouldn’t be possible to have a clean, fresh and well-managed environment without them.
The city exerts all efforts to improve its tourist attractions. I understand the need for advancement but I admit that I’m bothered by the report. I hope and trust that city officials will adorn the favored tourist spots by preserving more of their natural features. After all, it’s what Baguio is well-known for, the green city of pines and flowers. — Angie L. Dampalig