HARRISON ROAD

Baguio folks go on a parade twice a year, once during Baguio Day, which is September 1, and 2nd during Independence Day on June 12th. Schools, government offices, civic organizations, businesses and barangays participate in these events. The caravan assembles atop Session Road marches down the road, turn right at Magsaysay Avenue until the intersection at Bonifacio Street then turn back. The final stretch will be Harrison Road until it turns towards Burnham Park where the group assembles at the Melvin Jones Grandstand for the day's program.

Harrison road stretches up where it connects to Loakan Road and ends as it intersects with Magsaysay Avenue. At the top of Harrison Road is the Government Center where the Baguio Convention Center is. Big events planned whether they are international, national or local use this center as its venue. Pine stands fill its landscape. At the right side of the road, facing the Baguio Convention Center is the Court of Appeals Building. While I have stayed in Baguio since I was wearing short pants, I only came to visit that Courthouse once during the celebrated trial of Vincent Crisologo in the Bantay, Ilocos Sur case. I was in high school then. In front of the Baguio Convention Center is the UP at Baguio College Campus. I would often go up the campus to accompany my sister home. She was teaching then before she decided to join the nunnery.

From the UP campus as you go down the road, you will notice an open space to your left, beautifully landscaped with sunflowers, dragon snappers, daisies in bloom in rows of flower boxes that lead to an amphitheater. This is the Sunshine Park. The opposite side of this park is the West Side slope of Luneta Hill where the old Pines Hotel stood. This road at this point intersects with Governor Pack Road. At the hub, just below Sunshine Park is the Department of Tourism Office Complex. In front of it at the left corner of Harrison and Governor Pack Road is the Baguio City High School. I remember when I was in high school, how often I would go to this school so I could walk my girl friend home.

At the opposite side is Baguio Colleges Foundation. Further down as you pass the school, a terraced structure which serves as the facade of the COMELEC office. The opposite side is open space, the West Side of Burnham Park. You will see an old con set hut below a reminder of the old auditorium building used by Baguio folks for social gatherings. Adjacent to the COMELEC building is a space where previously the old BIBAK dormitory stood. This had been replaced by a new concrete structure that became the Cordillera Administrative Region building. Right beside it is a vacant lot that functions as a parking lot for dump trucks that haul gravel and sand to construction sites in the city. This property belongs to SSS and its future office location.

Adjacent to this lot is the Petron Station of Dangwa, which I understand had been sold to a new owner. An island lies in front of the station, which was turned into a veteran's park where names of World War 11 veterans have been carved on its walls. Following this island is Chinese Patriotic School. I wondered why a friend of mine enrolled his son at this school. I had to ask because my curiosity was killing me and he said when his son graduates, he will have a greater advantage in the job market just by learning the language. Now that was real foresight.

After Chinese School is a small food concessionaire which has become the current hangout of some contractors. They talk business in between gulps of Ginebra San Miguel smuggled in sprite bottles and pulutan. And then following it is a shopping arcade where AVIS Rent A Car and DHL is located. A computer store and some brick a brac shops occupy the upper floor of this building. PAL also maintains an office at this building. The following block is where the ZigZag hotel is. Then a beer joint, which is owned by the owner of Chaparral Disco at Marcos Highway, occupies the next space. The Red Cross Office and then the YWCA building follow this. The Bank of PI occupies the end of the block.

The next block is a vacant lot, which may have a new building by now. Previously, this area was were the Muslims in Baguio were selling their wares. Then the Tan's of Benguet Lumber who now owns the place bought it. Adjacent to this lot is Baguio's finest Chinese Restaurant, the Rose Bowl. Whenever we have guests, we often bring them to this restaurant. They serve the best chow-mien, the pata tim garnished with spinach, steamed or fried lapu-lapu with tausi or sweet & sour sauce and shanghai fried rice. You can have a fruit tray of tropical fruits in season as appetizer. For the regulars, they offer lunch plates like Lion's Rice presumably for Lions Club members or Icard's Rice a concoction of one Baguio personality.

At the corner is another Tiong San Shopping Center. Adjacent to this new building following the road towards Session Road is the newly constructed Prudential Bank building which presumably is completed by now. The right side of Harrison Road opposite the whole block from Chinese School to the Tiong San Building is an open field which is part of Burnham Park at the center of which is Melvin Jones Grandstand. This is the place, which at most times is used as a soccer field; on certain occasions as Parade Ground or demonstration area. It became the Tent City after the great earthquake of 1990 were people of Baguio rendered homeless by the disaster temporarily took shelter. That was a day to remember.

P.Q.B. January 2, 1999
matapat@yahoo.com


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