March 3, 2024

When this column is being written, the lowest temperature recorded so far this holiday season in Baguio is 12.2 degrees Celsius according to Pagasa.

Honestly, this near-sighted Ibaloy writer used to revel in the cool weather the “brrr” months bring during our much younger years. The colder the better was my mantra then, when I was still in shorts and tattered T-shirts.

Now that I am in the fifth decade of my hopefully long, prosperous, and healthy life, I long “ageing” just like my fellow Gen Xers who went to school in the 70s and 80s and were employed or opened a business (good for them!) or went abroad in the 90s (usually as nurses). Our musical heroes like Michael Jackson and Prince are gone and our “crush ng bayan”, Phoebe Cates, is now a senior citizen. Time flies, indeed.

Anyway, Baguio’s cool climate was, is, and will always be the numero uno reason why people from the humid lowlands will continuously visit our already overcrowded but still oh-so-lovely and alluring melting pot in the boondocks. As I have opined in previous columns, the City of Pines’ almost all-year-round free “air-conditioning” is a two-bladed sword in a sense that it can be seen as a blessing and a curse, depending on who you ask.

A blessing because more tourists will mean greater income for local businesses, creation of much needed jobs, and more revenues for the city government’s coffers that will translate to greater funding for programs and services that will benefit residents. That’s the math, at least. Besides, domestic tourism remains to be the top revenue generator of the city. Wish we could all be owners of tourism establishments. Just saying.

Obviously, the downside in having too many visitors is the traffic jams or “carmagedons” that local officials are trying to solve, in fairness; increase in the amount of garbage and criminality (human garbage); lack of parking spaces that again our honorables are trying to mitigate; overall congestion; and the like.

Many Baguio folk, like yours truly, usually opt to stay home during holidays and even weekends to escape the traffic, difficulty of getting public transport, lack of parking space, and the like. Just too many people in a small city like ours. Well, we can’t have everything. Might as well count our blessings. Happy holidays and a prosperous New Year, y’all!

May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.