December 4, 2022

(Editors’ note: The 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 Jan. 24, 2016)

Long before Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, and all the other pretenders claiming the same title, Baguio solely was the summer capital of the country or more correctly, the Holy Week Capital of the Philippines, with flocks of tourists not really coming to worship, but just had to be where the clouds were gathered.
In terms of excitement, Baguio, then and now, has very little to offer – no bikini or scantily clad sexy girls, not even a “dumba ti ka-badjo” or horse racing.


Perhaps because Philippine Military Academy cadets in yesteryears were tall and good looking mestizos, the Sunday afternoon Pass-in Review at the Burnham grounds attracted large throngs of people, and was deemed to be the highlight of every weekend visit.
We wonder why the practice has been discontinued, although pass-in reviews are still held at the Del Pilar Oval.


Because Filipinos feared God in those days, motels were avoided like the plague by lovers, whose idea of a relationship was holding hands and going to the movies, and smooching was done on the sly.
Today, alas, losing one’s virginity comes easy, and purity of body is no longer held sacred. Getting pregnant is nothing to be scared about; you either drop the baby at the doorstep of a childless couple, or before then, undergo an abortion, or become a single mom, nothing really to be ashamed of – or maybe not.


In no time, however, nearly everything became prostituted – politics, morals, values, and life itself.
Crooks in government actually expect to be elected president, even if their smiling faces fail to conceal the glint of greed in their eyes. Values are quickly cast aside in favor of easy money, and the so-called servants of the Lord shamelessly live off the fat of the collection plate – think of your B-tutors living in near hotel like accommodations, eating steak and drinking fine wine – in your country and not theirs. It makes you sick to your stomach. Do you know of any priest going about God’s work on foot?
We are at least happy that the sisters and nuns have not yet been infected or contaminated by their male counterparts.


How ironic that the Iglesia Ni Cristo is being torn apart by the wrangling of the heirs of its founder, but then the Holy Father in Rome is likewise appalled that the lifestyle of many men of the cloak is being frowned upon by Christ Himself, some going as far as petting little girls and boys.
The Church today is a house divided, as more and more of its faithful no longer believe in their leaders, now doing worship on their own that seems more in line with the Lord’s teachings.


Professionals like lawyers and doctors – a lot of them anyway – in constant search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, are looking more to the pockets of their clients and patients.
True, members of New Peoples’ Army are the nation’s reformists and watchdogs, but the smell of money detracts their nostrils from sniffing the trails of wrongdoings.
In short, we have all fallen prey to our own greed, and like millions of us, none will go to heaven.


For the bigger business establishments like the Country Club, The Manor, Rose Bowl, Fortune, and Good Taste, and Chong Loy’s modest Luisa’s, all await a series of events in the forthcoming months – the Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, the PMA alumni homecoming and graduation, the commencement exercises among the different colleges and universities, Holy Week, and because of the shortened travel time from Manila to Baguio, the weekend crowds all summer long, and hey, let’s not forget the campaign period before the May 16 presidential elections, and before that, the Panagbenga.
Truly blessed, Baguio is.