December 9, 2022

They came in droves. They arrived in groups. They came to visit Baguio City with a vengeance never before felt. Just how many people came to the city to spend the holiday season is not known.
But, as per what we saw and what we felt, it was a lot. For sure, during that span of time, there were more than a hundred thousand visitors. They crowded the parks; they occupied open spaces and lined up the restaurants. Indeed, it was very festive.
Under normal circumstances, it would have been a welcome sight. After all, it is the Christmas season and there is no better way to celebrate it than with guests and tourists among our midst. Their presence enlivens the holiday. They are a boom to our economy. With them buying local products and patronizing local hotels, the needed capital to create employment is generated. But at what price?
We are not under normal circumstances. We are still contending with a pandemic. In fact, there is a new variant of concern, the Omicron, that may create a worse scenario than the previous Delta variant. We are on a reprieve and we can no longer afford to overstretch our medical capacities. We must continuously be on guard.
The World Health Organization warned of overcrowding and get-togethers during the Christmas season as these will surely be super-spreaders. With what we saw and witnessed in Baguio City, the warning was obviously disregarded. Can they be blamed? Can we be blamed?
People have become so tired of lockdowns and border controls that as soon as it was made public that Baguio is accepting visitors, they all took the opportunity to come and experience the cold weather and taste the red strawberries that have become the trade mark of the city.
It was apparent that relaxing in this resort city was more important than any threat of infection from the Covid virus.
It was a dangerous adventure, to say the least. Yet, being here was far better than being cooped up within the confines of their homes. So, they came with their jackets, their mufflers and hoods. They came to enjoy what the city has to offer.
Hopefully, the evil sought to be avoided will not occur. Hopefully, the fear that was eschewed by the WHO will not happen. Wishfully, nobody gets contaminated with the new variant that has taken the lives of so many persons. We shall know within the next few days.
For the meantime, let us pray that all of us will remain healthy. The same goes for the guests who came to visit Baguio City. May the New Year open up with good tidings and cheer.
Happy New Year to all!