If you were a former resident of Baguio or just had a chance to visit the city, you must have walked up and down Session Road. And it is very unlikely that you didn't get a chance to do this ... and when was the last time you had a chance to do it anyway? If it was more than three or five years ago, probably you will notice that although Session Road still has the same number of traffic lanes and its sidewalks are still of the same width and length, a number of new stores and other business establishments are now found along this road. Unlike the busy streets in the Kowloon side of Hong Kong and in other big cities in America or Europe, there are no billboards found around Baguio. You will however find many residents and visitors still enjoying their climb up and down Session Road.
Session Road is not only the main thoroughfare of the city but it is also the center of Baguio's commercial district. This is where you will find department stores, banks, a movie house, and bazaars. There are also some hotels, bakeries, restaurants, newspaper stands, bookstores, boutiques, cafes, and studios along Session Road. And just like the City of Manila and the other cities in the country, there are also sidewalk vendors and in some corners, blind beggars, including pickpockets and cellphone snatchers which you have to look out for.
Local residents, students in the different schools and universities in the city and visitors alike spend most of their free time just going up and down Session Road. I used to do this myself when I was still in Baguio ... and so did my wife and 5 kids. Session Road is a place to go window shopping, looking at people, or just taking a leisurely walk during a cool and quite afternoon or evening. And now that the SM Megamall has just opened at the upper end of Session Road where Pines Hotel used to be located, people will surely be walking up and down the entire length of this road.
During my recent visit to Baguio in October of 2003, not only did I try to walk up and down Session Road, I also asked to be driven in a van along this thoroughfare for a number of times ... and I did take a number of photographs which I hope will show you what Session Road is like now. Here's hoping you will enjoy viewing the 42 photographs shown below.
[ Click on a "thumbnail image" to view the photo in a larger size format ]
When I was still a resident of Baguio in the 1960's and 1970's, the Angelus (a Catholic devotion in honor of Annunciation and Incarnation) was always observed in the evening at 6:00 o'clock. A loud continuous siren is heard all over the city to remind everyone about it and pray the Angelus. It was at this time that all vehicles plying the city streets would come to a full stop, even in the middle of the road. Similarly, people out in the streets would also stop and bow their heads in prayer and then greet each other "good evening" at the end of the siren blast. This custom was probably only unique in Baguio City and not similarly observed in other parts of the country or perhaps even anywhere else in the world. During my recent visits to Baguio, I was saddened to learn that this practice was nolonger observed. I heard that efforts were made to revive it, however the evening Angelus in Baguio now appears to be just a thing of the past. The traditions and ways of people have indeed changed.
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