In Japan, it’s sakura season once again. In the cities, the beauty this time brings is evident in urban gardens and parks especially designed to showcase such.
Similarly, in February, Baguio City celebrated the beginning of spring, panagbenga in the local dialect.
The celebration however needs to go beyond commercialism and one-off hurried planting of flowers in the downtown area into longer term preservation of green spaces where plants native to the City are grown and showcased.
Burnham Park, for instance, continues to deteriorate before our very eyes. Melvin Jones has turned into an eyesore with it’s seriously balding field which once was verdant and smelt of clean grass.
The funds derived from business activities during the Panagbenga festival should have, first and foremost, gone to green space preservation starting with Burnham Park and Melvin Jones
How many years has the festival been going on? The observation is that these years did not translate into improvements even to the downtown area. In fact, the area has become dirtier, darker (especially lower Session Road), smellier, browner/dustier.
‘Spring’ in the City is beginning to mean factory made that can be bought off store shelves and hung on posts when so desired; neglected, we consequently kill the season and its attendant natural process.