June 28, 2017

Why Baguio? Allow Me To Count The 13 Reasons Why!

My tenure here in Baguio City was born out of necessity. I wasn't born here. I wasn't raised here. The only reason I packed my bags right out of high school and headed over to this city is to pursue an accounting degree at the Saint Louis University. It's not exactly what I wanted to do but it was necessary. It's the best school in town, that's what my parents said. So off I went. Sixteen years later, I'm still here. The luster and vibrancy of the city may have endured a dent or two during the years but the magic remains intact. It's still the same city I learned to love and admire for nearly two decades.

Most of the people I've met here have come and go. They moved away looking for what they deem as "greener pastures". When they ask me why I choose to stay, I always tell them the same thing: "My green pasture is right here." And if they query me to elaborate, I would rattle off most if not all of the following reasons:

1. I belong here, culturally speaking. One of the great things about Baguio City is that a huge chunk of its population are Igorots like me. That said, I never feel out of place here. Kailyans, kabsats, and padles are everywhere.

2. I like all things cold. I was born and raised in a cold province (Mt. Province). So when I got here in Baguio City, I quickly blended in. I like the cold beer. I like wearing leather jackets. I like putting on those ubiquitous bonnets. I like things cold, really.

3. I feel safer. Baguio City is one of the safest urban centers in the country. That's a fact backed up by statistics. Of course, crimes do happen but these usually occur in hotspots within the city. Avoid these hotspots and you avoid being a victim of a crime.

4. I need a steady supply of pinikpikan and tapuy. This is the Igorot in me talking. Drinking rice wine and eating pinikpikan is a very important aspect of the Cordilleran lifestyle. I want to keep that lifestyle. And the only way to do that is to choose to stay here.

5. I find it easier to talk to people. People here are nice, hospitable, and very accommodating. They are polite and they are more than willing to help you in times of need.

6. I don't like crowds. Thick crowds are a rarity in Baguio City. Crowds in the city only become unmanageable during events and festivals (i.e. Panagbenga Festival, weekend holidays). Other than these times, Baguio is fairly spacious and free from suffocating crowds.

7. I have everything I need. Whether you're looking for the latest Apple gadget or the most recent John Grisham release, Baguio City has you covered.

8. I need less to survive. The cost of living here in Baguio City is much lower compared to other major Philippine cities. Groceries, utilities, and accommodation are much, much cheaper.

9. I want to be near the mountains because I'm an avid hiker. I make it a point to climb at least two mountains every month. I can only achieve this if I'm based in Baguio City which serves as the access point to popular hiking sites in Benguet and Mt. Province.
Daniel Feliciano / The Cordilleran Sun
10. I'm enjoying the resurgence of the city's art community. Visual art is a passion of mine so I love the fact that artists and art enthusiasts in the city are banding together to show off their work. In any given week, there are two or three ongoing art exhibits in the city. Not bad for a small urban center like Baguio.

11. I love the city's population diversity. Baguio City is a melting pot of various cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. Just take a stroll along Session Road. You'll meet everyone there: Koreans, Middle Easterners, Africans, Papua New Guineans, etc.

12. I like to live in a city that respects its humble beginnings as a natural haven. This means that everything from commercial establishments to residential buildings must have the initiative of developing settings that play very well into Baguio City's status as a mountain city or as a getaway city. Leading this pack of residential developers is Moldex Residences Baguio with its European Alps-inspired buildings. Moldex Residences has come up with concepts and ideas that create harmony between the city's unique beauty and modern design.

13. I feel a certain kind of pride in calling myself a taga-Baguio. I can't quite describe it but there's this almost inherent pride in me when introducing myself to new acquaintances as a taga-Baguio.

In a nutshell, I will always be a taga-Baguio.

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