Thursday, November 24, 2005


While I'm still hot on the topic regarding my love-hate relationship with SM and the cultural insensitivity of the Sy family (I name them point blank here because SM is still a family run entity without a board of directors to keep them in check), allow me to post these two photos. The top photo is a 1957 shot of the original Pines Hotel located at the top of Session Road. The bottom shot is the exact same spot today. In fairness, the hotel burned back in the 1980's and was not razed by the Sys. But nevertheless, I still cannot forgive them for not respecting the original spirit of the area. SM Baguio altered the character of this quiet mountain town beyond repair by building a gargantuan, energy sucking, commercial wasteland on the very peak of a town that was originally built for only 50,000 people. Some even blame SM for the city's string of bad luck and for it's meningoccocemia outbreak because of the strain that mall has put on the city's resources. It's all very nice inside for sure, but sadly, the garbage it spits out has to go somewhere. And believe me, it's not going down the mountain. And ignorance is no excuse, look how successful Greenbelt and Serendra have been in mixing new urbanism and commerce.

I've recently learned from Baguio friends that the mall is not doing well and it warms the cockles of my heart. I will even be so bold as to curse it so that it may close. Baguio's tourism industry will never recover while that behemoth looms over it (or at least until they do a major, MAJOR renovation).
Thank you Time Magazine, Manila Times and for the links.