December 7, 2022

This near-sighted Ibaloy writer is titillated to learn that our beloved Baguio currently has three city-based farmer organizations producing various varieties of strawberries according to the City Veterinary Office-Agricultural Services Division. That’s good news, indeed.
Hopefully, other groups follow in their example, including more backyard growers even if just in pots or other containers, which is being done right now by urban gardeners, this writer proudly included. We should start growing our own fruits and veggies, kahit pakonti-konti lang. You never know what tomorrow brings, so practicing self-reliance is advisable.
Anyway, since time immemorial, strawberries sold in the Baguio public market have been produced by farmers of the great neighboring caretaker province of Davao, ehem, Benguet, I mean. Although fairly or unfairly, most visitors call these as Baguio strawberries just like Baguio beans and Baguio roses when most, if not allof these are produced in Benguet.
For the longest time, Benguet produces but Baguio gets the credit. That’s one of the perks of being the country’s Summer Capital, I guess. Oh well, to paraphrase the immortal lines, “A rose by another name or wherever it is grown is still a rose and smells as sweet.”


I have this nagging feeling that our beloved city of vanishing pine trees and Ibaloys may become part of the Ilocos Region in the very near future. Again, it’s just a feeling. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, since the vast majority of Baguio people trace their roots to Region 1 followed closely by those from Mountain Province. And Ibaloys? Maybe just five percent of Baguio’s population. I could be wrong. Compounding this nagging feeling is our seeming failure to pass Cordillera autonomy, although I honestly believe it will never be approved by most Baguio folk since many still do not see themselves as “Cordillerans,” whatever that term means. Again, I could be wrong.
Like I said, it’s just a nagging feeling so it could really be much ado about nothing. To repeat, there’s nothing wrong if this happens. We have been part of the Ilocos Region before where at times we are treated as second-class neighbors from the boondocks, especially those who are Igorots like yours truly. Just saying. So, no problem. If this does happen though, and Baguio reverts back to the Ilocos Region, then it just bolsters my belief and some of my fellow Ibaloys (who are just too shy or afraid to say it), that Baguio is indeed an Ibaloy paradise lost.


FYI: Every Returning Overseas Filipino and Overseas Filipino Worker (ROF/OFW) is issued a certification by the Department of Health Bureau of Quarantine, which no longer requires them to observe mandatory facility-based quarantine, according to City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) head AntonetteAnaban during the virtual management committee meeting of local officials, Feb. 8, led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong.
She said the move is based on Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution 159, s. 2022, that provides several conditions for the ROFs/OFWs to strictly follow.
These are: Stay at home for seven days with the first day being the date of arrival; monitor for any sign or symptoms during the home quarantine period; and report to the local government unit of destination and their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams upon arrival at residence and upon manifestation of symptoms.
Anaban said the LGU through the City Mayor’s Office is automatically copy furnished the certification that is subsequently forwarded to the CDRRMO for coordination with the district health centers and barangays for monitoring purposes.


Here’s “Idle Dreams” by Joanna Fuchs: “In idle dreams of long ago,/ I imagined my true love;/ A perfect match, a soulmate,/ An angel from above./ Now you’re here, and now I know/ Our love will stay and thrive and grow.”
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.

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