March 4, 2024

With the foggy conditions of Halsema Highway, Mayor Franklin Smith of Atok, Benguet pleaded to the public not to remove the cat’s eyes installed in one of the busiest national highways in the Cordillera.

Smith, in a radio interview with Bombo Radyo Baguio, said he has observed certain portions of the highway particularly in Atok where the cat’s eyes were removed.

The cat’s eye or road stud is a retroreflective safety device used in road marking to guide motorists during nighttime or when its cloudy.

“I appeal to those who are taking interest in the cat’s eyes not to remove or destroy them because they are a big help for us motorists especially during thick fog,” Smith said. 

Smith said the reflective device also helps tourists who are not well-versed in the curves of Halsema Highway.

He said the newly-installed solar-powered street lights in Halsema, courtesy of the Department of Public Works and Highways, also greatly help in illuminating the famed highway.

With tourists flocking to popular tourism sites in northern Benguet such as the flower farms in Atok, it has added to the volume of traffic in the area.

Tourists flocked to these sites especially during the long holiday and they are expected to continue coming until December and first quarter of next year due to the drop in temperature.

Smith said most of the flower farms such as the Northern Blossoms and the Haight’s Place or the Benguet-Kochi Sakura Sisterhood Park, both located in Sayangan, only have 50 percent of their flowers in bloom.

The past typhoons and monsoon rains affected the farms, and the farmers just planted new batches of flowers in time for December to March next year.

Despite the number of tourists that came up to Atok during last week’s long holiday, Smith said the municipality has managed to cope with the help of the police and the Bureau of Fire Protection, as well as volunteers in the municipality.

He said tourism-related activities are now a part of the way of life of the residents in Atok and nearby towns along Halsema Highway. – Ofelia C. Empian