Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve heard the news about SM cutting trees in Baguio and the public outcry to stop what they are doing. This had become a sad week for me, because those trees that I used to enjoy seeing when I was little will soon be gone.
I’ve always loved watching the sun do peak-a-boo with me under a tall pine tree full of leaves. It is one of the most peaceful and memorable experiences I’ve ever had. With big entrepreneurs wanting to make money out of their pine-tree lots, they blindly decide to trade-in those magnificent tall trees for the money.
But of course, these living things aren’t just around for the show. I don’t think I have to spell out the reasons here why trees are so beneficial.
When I was young I used to cover myself with layers of blanket during the colder months. I used to snuggle up closely to my mother, and she would hug, comfort me, just anything that she could provide to keep me warm. It used to be so hard to get out in bed every morning.
Our relative-visitors would travel from the lowlands and stay up to a week because they simply loved the weather up here. They often came during the summer months because Baguio stayed cool.
Famous personalities at that time used to come up to Baguio. They even bought their own plots and built their own summer houses and we, Baguio residents, could point out that particular house or mansion where they built that up. Boracay was even a relatively unknown holiday destination until the 90s.
I never remembered Baguio as the hot sweaty place as it is right now during the summer months. I even worry about my laptop melting down under the intense heat!
Find it hard to believe that? Most of the municipalities around Baguio remained cool because these they still have those centuries-old trees. Park along the curvy highways of Naguilian, Kennon, Marcos Highway and Ambuklao Roads and feel that for yourself. Many of these roads are even lower in elevation than Baguio itself.
Over a few decades, the cold climate in Baguio during the summer had become such a thing in the past. Electric fans became a common appliance in many homes and offices. Baguio had attracted more people: settlers from the lowlands, small and big businesses, students and still, tourists.
Along with more people are more cars, more buildings, more houses and more jobs. Over time, trees have to be cut down or earth balled. Unfortunately, according to foresters, earth balled mature trees have lesser chance of survival. Baguio citizens witnessed this when Camp John Hay was sold to a private developer.
No amount of tree saplings could substitute having mature centuries-old trees that survived the World War II around town. A green-environment friendly parking lot with a roof garden that SM wants won’t hold trees that need so much soil to hold on to. Their reason of decongesting the city traffic and parking lot is in no way a justifiable reason for the loss of these mature trees! We need more trees within the city, not plant more trees outside of the cityscape!
My kid has never experienced Baguio as a cool climate in the summer months as I did. She constantly complained about the hot summer weather. She finds it hard to believe that Baguio had cool summers when I was her age. She had never tried enjoying an entire day playing with schoolmates in the Camp John Hay scouting area and the sleepy hollow, which used to be open areas to the public. Now the loss of trees within the cityscape because of SM’s cause will now be something in her past.