>> Monday, December 24, 2007

Keeping up with yuletide wishes

Someone waxed nostalgic with a “You’re from Baguio If…” list posted on the internet. He or she rattled off boyhood and girlhood experiences when we were newsboys, bootblacks or mbulant sweepstakes ticket sellers. That was when we climbed guavas, fashioned out tops and slingshots, feasted on pancakes by the Hangar Market, walked to and from school in the rainand settled our differences though fisticuffs at Mount. Mary’s

That was when we would earn hard and save some for a ticket to “The Sound of usic” at Pines Theatre or a double feature re-run of cowboy classics at Aurora Theatre.

Some of my boyhood buddies at Pacdal still serve as caddies at the Baguio Country Club. These days, I now and then relieve my itch to re-live my pony boy days with a gallop around the Wright Park oval. (The bridle path used to be the most spacious school playgrounduntil the most misplaced tree-planting idea swelled and turned it into an obstruction forest).

So much for nostalgia over a time when we knew almost everybody we’d meet along Session Road. Baguio is no longer one neighborhood but 128 barangays. To wish for the old Baguio to return is to ask for the moon.

Still, I get the cue from the “You’re from Baguio if” list. There are specific things I still hope can be done to restore order and ease up day-to-day living in a city that “just growed and growed”. For one, I wish Piltel, our phone company, would restore its sense of order missing on its wires and its messy directory. Its 2006-07 phone book has “Agrarian Reform” first, followed by “Finance Department” and then “DENR-EMB”. “Agriculture Department” is curiously way, way down the list, after “Department of Agriculture”, “Philippine Veterans Affairs Office” and “COMELEC”, in that disorder.

I wish our two cable television companies can give us our due by not splitting Discovery Channel” for Mountainview and “National Geographic” for Skycable. As gift to subscribers, can they also replace those foreign-language channels with English-speaking newsanchors and movie characters so we won’t have to pay for what we can’t understand and, herefore, don’t watch?

Can some establishments give us back our sidewalks and alleys? This may be quite personal, for my elder brother Joe who gets snagged by parked cars jutting out into the sidewalk on his way to and from work. Still, some of our kids also walk to school, too, as those in Mabini Elementary.

Will commercial giants bring down their billboards before someone starts a consumers’ rally to boycott their products and services?

Okay, I do sound angry, but I’m not. It’s Christmas, remember? As war hero, former OIC-mayor and police chief Ping Paraan used to say: “I’m not angry; I’m just stressing a point.”

It’s anti-infrastructure and realty development, but I wish subdivision developers stop buying remaining open spaces and pinestands so their target buyers – rich people from Metro-Manila an elsewhere who are dying to have a piece of Baguio – won’t put the blame solelyon us residents for the lost scent of pine.

I wish we stop cementing our grounds to the point rains can no longer seep into the ground to recharge our water tables.

I wish Shell, the oil company, will replenish its outlets with those best-selling red Ferrari car models so I can buy some. Not for me, but for my grandsons Lukie and Dylan. And for other kids out there.
Whatever. I wish fellow Baguio boys Freddie de Guzman, Irwin Ilustre, Emil Ruff, Carlos Anton, Joel Aliping, Peter and Eva Fianza and other Samaritans and their families the best of health and the blessings of the yuletide. A prosperous New Year, too, to that generousIbaloi woman and her daughter in Kentucky, Conrad and Pilar Marzan, Nikolas, Mike and Juliet Santos and Mika,.the folksingers here and in California, Manong Swanny Dicang, Peter and Eva Fianza, the families of Per Erickson, Edmund Bugnosen, Henry Gano, Estong Pooten, Gerry Gawidan, my children Beng, Boogie and Lovelyn, their mother Becca, my mother-in-law and you.

I wish for better memory so I won’t have to keep on giving away my cheap cellphones without my knowledge and consent. Or to risk tempting the finder to throw it back to my face for its worth.
I wish that pickpocket who rode a jeep from the hospital can find a more worthwhile job than trying and failing to wriggle out my wallet containing a few pesos intended for medicines.

I wish I’d hit the lotto jackpot and share that scheming member of Fagin’s gang part of my winnings. And then bring along Jerry Mayona and March Fianza to carry my luggage in a tour around the world. Or win in jueteng with regularity every 15 days even without betting on any number combination. I wish the draws aren’t rigged and that they restore the old 1-37 system instead of 1-38, which is a patented scheme.

For one getting old, I guess I’m wishing too much. Still, I know you’d also wish some of these things if you grew up in Baguio. After all, the Baguio boy (or girl) is marked by his/her sense of fair play.(e-mail: for comments).


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