March 2, 2024

(Editors’ note: The Midland Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on Nov.16, 2008.)

I grew up in a city that smelled both of pine and goodness, where its people were in bed by nightfall following an early evening dinner, after the dishes have all been washed and dried, and other remaining household chores done and over with.
Every Sunday, everyone went to (early) morning mass, and later hie off to “Borham” so the kids could go boating, biking, or skating.
Solibao and Ganza at the time were Igorot musical instruments and not eating places, and the only two stores selling softdrinks, biscuits, and candy were located at the skating rink – no mami-siopao or arrozcaldo, except in the summer when the carnival would come to town, and the aroma of barbeque would pervade the afternoon air and even well into the night.


Today “Borham” is slightly different from the one we knew in those years.
Sure, there’s still biking and boating, but the skating rink is closed for renovation, with a lot of roofing work going on.
After that, rain or shine, laughter will happily come back to the rink, and a few tears shed by kids falling on their behinds, more from embarrassment than pain.
The lake is still the main attraction, although the water has turned slimy green, and the carpa, if there are any left, can no longer be seen gliding in the water.


People of all ages and from all walks of life are either jogging or walking, while others prefer to sit on the benches, resting their weary bodies, pondering their future, if not holding hands with their beloveds. Some even belong to the same gender.
Signs of the times.
But both promenaders and bench sitters alike are constantly pestered by shoe shiners, balut and peanut vendors, and believe it or not, by massage boys and coffee peddlers, complete with alcohol and paper cups.


“Borham” too has become one big picnic ground, and pancit seems to be the favorite fare.
Easy to cook, and ingredients come cheap.
Some picknickers spread mats, others put up tents, but there is no mistaking the joy in the faces of the little ones.
“Borham” today is a place to idle away time or shed off unwanted pounds.
Today too, “Borham” is now called Burnham.