Sunday, June 26, 2016

STOBOSA Hillside Homes Artwork Unveiled

It takes a village to create flowers.

Residential buildings in Sitio Stone Hill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap of Barangay Balili are transformed into a huge canvas to create a Favela-inspired mural masterpiece.

The place now calledSTOBOSA Hillside Homes Artwork was the largest community artwork in the country and the first in the Philippines. STOBOSA stands for the three sitios.
The project to paint 200 houses in an area of 18,000 square meters is a component of the Department of Tourism – Cordillera Administrative Region’s Rev-Bloom Urban Redevelopment Tourism project initiated by Director Marie Venus Tan.

It was made possible through a partnership with La Trinidad-LGU, Davies Paints, the Tam-awan Village Artists, and the Km.3, Balili Community. The mural was unveiled today, June 23, graced by Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr.

The design concept was created by Tam-awan artists Jordan Mangusan, GedAlangui, Clinton Anniversario and Jenny Lorenzo. The concept was inspired by the Favela murals initiated by artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahnin Rio de Janiero, Brazil where they transformed urban residences into a huge canvas of abstract paintings.
Davies Paints donated a total of 2800 gallons of primer and colored paints while La Trinidad LGU provided the scaffolding, brushes, rollers, paint thinners and other materials.

Johnlee Garcia, president of Davies paint, said that the company is grateful to be chosen as the partner in implementing the project.

“Davies has always been passionate about finding ways to help improve communities in whatever way we can and this project is a great opportunity to create a big impact in the area,” he said. “We’re proud to be a major part of this project and we plan to continue these efforts in the future.”
Ms. Gloria Agasen who presides for the women’s group the place was in charge with the actual implementation of the painting project whileCara Cosalan, wife of the incumbent Congressman of Benguet, provided the meals for volunteers.
Work for the project was started on January 18 with volunteers coming from different organizations and institutions. During the 80-day implementation, there are about 520 persons who worked coming from the residents, Boy Scout of the Phils. - Benguet Chapter, Benguet State University, King’s College, Baguio-Benguet photographers, Hikers,and Artists Club, Botiwtiw Women's Brigade and Organization and PNP-CAR Police Trainees.

DOT-CAR Director Tan said the project has encountered challenges like the skepticism of people.With the help of Tamawan Village artists in designing the murals, the projects was initiated. She said she gave full reign to the artist to do what they want with it.
Ms. Gloria Agasen also encountered challenges during the project’s implementation. She said the biggest challenge was a resident who changed his mind in the middle of the project even after acquiring several gallons of paint primers. His big house is the only one with a contradicting painting.

After 80 days, the actual number of houses painted is 180 with 1,000 gallons of primer paints used and 500 gallons of colored paints. There are still 1,300 unused paints for the continuation of the project.
Director Tan said work will continue after the unveiling. “More than the mural, more than the beautification, you will see the community has bonded together to spruce up their areas,” she said.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mt. Pulag - Grassland of the gods

Mt. Pulag is the third highest mountain in the Philippines with an elevation of 2,926.047 meters above sea level. It is the highest mountain in Luzon and the landscape of the surrounding provinces can be seen from the summit during the day. Lights in distant communities are visible at night. 

Its unique beauty with many characteristics that change as you reach higher elevation - from pine forest to mossy jungle, and finally the vast grasslands - has the locals calling it the "playground of the gods".

There are several routes to get there, from easy to hard trails. The easy route is via Ambangeg with class 1-2 trail and difficulty or 3/9, takes only 3 to 4 hours walk from the ranger station in Babadac to the camp site (4.9 kilometers). Then another hour hike along the grasslands to the summit (2.9 kilometers). The best time to be at the summit is at dawn when the valleys and smaller mountains around Pulag are covered with a sea of clouds, giving you the impression that you're on top of the world. This is the reason why Pulag is being promoted as "adventure above the clouds" by many travel outfits.

Ambangeg is the trail to take if you want to spend more time at the summit with lesser hours of hiking. The most difficult route is Akiki, with class 3 trail and difficulty of 7/9. Tawangan trail comes in second hardest, with class 3 trail and difficulty of 6/9.

Mount Pulag is not the highest but definitely one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the Philippines. A “must visit” on the list of many adventurers, and they were rarely disappointed.

What month is the best time to go there? Every month has its own traits to present to adventurers. As long as there is no typhoon, Pulag is always a great destination. However, during the rainy season, one must be more prepared with rain gears at it usually rains in the afternoon. Good sunrises sometimes are more elusive but some of the best can be seen during these seasons.

This writer has been going up with adventurers to Pulag 13 times (as of this writing) but never tire out in documenting the constantly changing charms of this grassland of the gods. Nothing is constant and what you will witness on your visit will never happen again.