An 18-year old’s thoughts on SMDC cutting down so many Pine trees in Baguio City

I have so many unposted photos from my travels up North back in December and a lot of them were taken in Baguio and I think now is the right time to post some of them. Ive been coming to Baguio every year of my life because it’s so close to my province, La Union. I used to live there for about a few weeks to a month for summer vacation because we had a house up in the mountain.

I remember waking up in the morning and just sipping from a hot cup of Swiss Miss looking at the breathtaking view of the sunrise. The way the sun’s rays highlighted the pine trees was just so beautiful. I used to not like the beach (scary sea, sharks, annoying sand, etc.) so I always loved going up North to Baguio because it had an entirely different view and atmosphere.

It broke my heart when I first learned about the construction of SM City Baguio years ago. My family and I were all, quite violently, against it. It not only cut down the trees but it also caused so many big ukay ukay stores and local stores to close because of the SM department store and the mainstream fastfood chains and more known restaurants conveniently located in the mall.

The wonderfully simple city of Baguio suddenly had a disturbing urbanized feel. It used to be a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila and promoted a simple countryside lifestyle but then there was this huge ugly SM mall that was built right in the heart of Baguio near the iconic Session Road. Heck, even Session Road is losing its old character and is slowly transforming into just another busy street filled with shops that could be easily found anywhere in Manila.

 It would’ve been great if SM designed the mall to suit Baguio. I don’t know if SM is stupid but what they just did is make it air condition-free thinking that’s the only thing they should do to come off as environment-friendly. I’ve only visited the mall twice and swore to never step in it again.

They should stop trying to ‘beautify’ Baguio by putting up more big ugly establishments such as huge malls. Baguio does not need a big slab of cement on its mountains. Why not build more family parks or renovate existing ones? Last time I checked Mine’s View Park hardly gave a view of the mountains, now you could only see roofs of the hundreds of houses that were built. Instead of building ‘artificial’ attractions why don’t they show the real beauty Baguio has to offer? Such a shame how the local government of Baguio allowed this to happen.

[above are photos of the view you’ll encounter while going up Kennon Road leading to Baguio City]

I‘d just like to clarify that I’m just an 18-year old who has an opinion on this issue. I may not have all the facts –I actually hate publishing my writing online because I know I am terrible at it– but I’m just speaking from my heartI know they’re not building a mall but a condominium but if they couldn’t build a mall that was Baguio-friendly how could they build an environment-friendly condominium? High-rise establishments are, in my opinion, certainly not needed up in the mountains. Go to other countries and see how they developed their cities even the countryside, you’ll see how they incorporate the beauty of nature into their designs. Baguio is very dear to me, it’s my other home and I just don’t want it to become another ugly polluted city like many cities in Metro Manila.

Hopefully this time SMDC will try to make the lot a suitable establishment in Baguio. But seeing how many of these beautiful trees (that take so many years to grow!) are being cut down, I really doubt it.

 **this is how I came across the issue:**

*some shots were taken with film


8 thoughts on “An 18-year old’s thoughts on SMDC cutting down so many Pine trees in Baguio City

  1. It’s annoying that some people on Facebook are actually okay with this, saying that it’ll give job opportunities to people and it’s time to think about practicality. Pretty bull if you ask me. They’re not even thinking of the environmental impacts that SMDC will be causing. All I can think of is more landslides in the Baguio area due to this 😐

    • Very true. As Ive said in my post, this mall expansion thing they’re doing will destroy small businesses in Baguio city. Not creating opportunities for the local people. It’s not practical at all. It’s so easy for people to voice out such supporting opinions on this matter when they haven’t even experienced the simple Baguio lifestyle years ago, how great it was living in such a clean and green city. It was full of life that it promoted more tourism, creating more jobs. Actually you don’t even have to have stepped foot in Baguio to know how important this issue is. Common sense, it’s what a lot of people are lacking. Ignorance is clouding so many Filipino minds today, unfortunately.

      I appreciate your comment by the way! 🙂

    • AND the jobs that will be “provided” by SM will just be contractual. People don’t know how dirty SM can be. For a filthy rich company, they give out such low wages not even enough to feed a family. Henry Sy, to me, is so merciless. He has so much to give but he’d rather receive more than what he’s willing to give out of charity.

  2. I’m a local of benguet and most of us like baguio better than before, i was not excited when they opened SM. I also hate to make comments on this things but my childhood tells me about how i loved the pine trees and i want to voice this thing out, and i hate the artificial smell of pine tree on car air freshener (it makes me puke, all the more that it say “pine tree”)…i don’t want to blame SM much about this coz they are like other BIG companies making profit, i hate them because they are just like that… i want them to be different to give respect to what people of Baguio wishes…but thats just what i want…and i’m a product of the school who cut 300 trees to put up their buildings in bakakeng, and i’m ashamed i did not do anything because i did not know and i might not have done anything but protest thru coments like this…its just that the issue with SM cutting trees is growing that make me more irritated not to avoid knowing…pls give respect if not to the people but atleast for the environment. SM looks better covered with trees just the way you are… PS i dont like your designs, its all artificial…and… hope MOA does not sink any further…

    • Thank you so much for this comment. This touched my heart because you’re a local of Benguet. Sm and the local gov should stop making money off things they shouldn’t. So many things are getting affected. 😦

  3. Your right in some of your points and observations,however, let me just remind you that SM is not only the one who cut trees to pave way for buildings, etc. There are other establishments, and well, illegal settlers who cut down trees just to squat. View from the Session Road is an ugly mountain full of shanties. So yeah, Baguio is now filthy, highly urbanized, but not necessarily because of SM alone. Sad to say, it’s also because of some of the people there. Don’t put all the blame to SM. LGU and the people of Baguio are also accountable. Can you see how filthy Baguio is now? I believe it’s not because of SM, right? Who put up and allowed shanties to be built in the mountain instead of trees? Certainly not SM! So you see, putting all the blame to SM is unfair. Let me just make it clear that I’m not siding with SM regarding this issue, I just want to point out that we must not be prejudiced, if we want to blame SM, blame everyone, because everyone is involve when it comes to environmental issue. I’ve been to Baguio several times since early 90’s and I know how beautiful Baguio was, especially Burnham Park with the abundance of big flowers and green grass, sadly, it all changed. I don’t know what happened or who to blame, maybe mass tourism changed Baguio or whatever. I’m just thankful that SM will plant 50,000 pine tree saplings in exchange of the 182 earth-balled trees. That’s a lot for the future generation. And I hope Baguio people will also help plant more trees and take care of them. If only they could plant trees along Session Road. =/

    • Thank you for your comment on this issue! I know SM isn’t the only one responsible for the environment that is why I addressed the Baguio Local Gov as well. But we can’t ignore the fact that SM is one of the biggest, if not most, companies in the Philippines. They still have Corporate Social Responsibility. And planting 50,000 more trees as a compensation still isnt good for the environment. SM Baguio already has a weak foundation and uprooting the trees will make it weaker. It’s nature’s way of telling them that they shouldn’t build anything on there in the first place. People blame SM as well as the local gov because they have the means to help the environment, yet they choose to damage it even further. It’s all about money for their own benefit. 😦

  4. The redevelopment of SM Baguio has become widely publicized and not a lot of things have been shared regarding SM’s fair share of good deeds. I hope I can help by sharing this article

    We all care about the environment bu doesn’t mean we should disregard facts just because we like to believe the worst in people, and in this case, in SM. I hope I can help informing people better. please share. Thank you!

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