February 9, 2023

Murals in Baguio City have become more and more interesting of late.
Each of these images are masterpieces in their own right but it is delightful to look at one that does not need extra thoughts or interpretations but leave you smiling at memories of your own of the real characters depicted in the paintings. I like the feeling that looking at the artworks give me.
I heard about the Carantes Street project in some media postings but when I cut through the street to reach the market area at one time, I was awed and overjoyed. Scanning the images brought me back to my days as a reporter covering festivals and chronicling events in the Cordilleras, these were people who I encountered then and now.
I like the portraits and real-life portrayals because there is no interpretation or social introspectionrequired. The urge to climb posts to get a better vantage of the events below or the children crossing fields in the ‘kadang-kadang’ or stilts are reactions and regular sights during the outings. The sack race, pole climb, and the piggyback races are primary in most list of games but the added twists of women carrying husbands on their back or the children helping each other by forming a human stack reveal the inner values of the culture.
I am glad that promenaders are taking pictures more than vandalizing the wonderful energies that emanate from the detailed brush strokes of the artists. This has become a fresh trend in this street that used to be the jeepney loading and unloading stop of residents en route to Camp 7 and those areas. The smelly and sooty walls of the buildings were repainted and offered as canvas to the artists who presented this theme that jives with Baguio as a creative city. I am glad for the owners who saw beyond “POST NO BILL” and invested in the talents that abound in the young artists of this city.
For now, one cannot say that this collection of works will be immortalized because the walls will need a new coat of paint in a few years. But those who have the images on digital file will be able to refresh memories, just like Facebook, which is reminding you of your postings of the past decade.
Children in the city hardly know the ‘kadang-kadang’ and the gadgets do not include sack races among the game applications, those definitions of fun in the far-flung areas are not the same in the urban setting. Lifestyles and lifeways are changing rapidly, the newsstands will soon be obliterated by digital editions, the taho vendor will be overtaken by the milkteas, the ‘sorbetes’ or ice cream vendor cannot be sustained by the rising prices, and the mime no longer amusing.
Cheers! The city center has become a wonderful place to walk through. Take the time to enjoy this before the new normal rushes us back into mundane routines that make us blind, mute, and deaf to the joys of life.

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