Saturday, 27 April 2013

Kennon Road

Kennon Road

              Kennon Road is one of three winding roads that lead to Baguio City. The other two are Marcos Highway and Naguilian Road.  Kennon Road is the shortest route as it covers a distance of only 34 kilometers starting from Saitan, Rosario, La Union. The road is well paved but has sharp curves and steep ascent, making it one of the most treacherous roads in the country. There are stunning views along the way.

             Kennon Road has road markers like Camp 1, Camp 2 up to Camp 8. Camp 1 is in the low lying area where the original road builders of Kennon started to pitch camp and began digging. As the work progressed, they began ascending and pitched camp in another area which they called Camp 2.  Until they finished working on the road at Camp 8 which was already a part of the City. It took years to complete this ambitious project which was headed by an American engineer named Colonel Lyman Kennon. Many lives were lost, mostly foreign workers, during its construction.

             Kennon Road was designed and constructed in such a way that it followed the course or the flow of the enchanted Bued River.  The workers stayed close to the river.This project was on the high priority list of the Americans as they earmarked a staggering amount for its construction. They wanted the shortest road possible that would connect the lowlands to their dream City in the highlands.

             Kennon Road became the most preferred road to Baguio. With buses, trucks, vans and other types of vehicles traversing this mountain road, the structure and base weakened as a result of wear and tear. Add to this the fact that there were mining quarries near Kennon Road. When a killer quake hit Baguio City in 1990, Kennon Road was devastated.  

             Kennon Road was closed and rehabilitated.  It reopened to traffic many months after, with trucks and buses prohibited from using the zigzag road. Rehabiltation of Kennon is ongoing. Weak structures are fortified, dangerous cliffs are provided with concrete barriers. The surrounding areas are now greener and cleaner. There is a toll fee of P15. Why not make it P50 for maintenance expenses?  Kennon Road is slowly reclaiming its much vaunted reputation as the premier highway to the City of Pines.

           Umaykayon ! Sumang-at kayon idiay Baguio ! Itattan !  

                                                                                                             - Konted

View of the zigzag road at Kennon Road View Point. From Rosario, La Union, Kennon Road covers a distance of 34 kms.  Photo taken on April 17, 2013.
The Lion's Head at Camp 6, Kennon Road. After the Lion's Head, there is a steep ascent followed by a sharp, narrow curve.  Vehicles going down, as a general rule, give way to those going up.
The Lion's Head is a pet project of the Lion's Club of Baguio City.  It was unveiled in 1971.
Motorists stop for a while and take souvenir photos. 
While an armored vehicle is parked near the Lion's Head, two enterprising Taho vendors seize the moment.
The Lion's Head is newly painted in brown and gold.  It is a top tourist attraction along Kennon Road.
There are souvenir shops near the Lion's Head.  You have to bargain with the stall owners.

Key chains for P 10 each

Tourists do their last-minute buying spree at the stalls near the Lion's Head.

A wide variety of souvenir items for sale such as the Everlasting, sling shots. ukelele, etc.

You see this hanging at front doors of houses.

A wood carving priced at P700

Baguio City is known for fine woodcarvings.

Baguio & Benguet boast of highly skilled wood carvers.

More Baguio wood carvings.

Made of Kamagong

Indispensable in housekeeping

Assorted jams and brittles

Baguio oldtimer Peter Mabanta knows the sharp curves and dangerous points of Kennon Road.

There are 3 steel bridges throughout Kennon Road.

Kennon Road follows the course of the Bued River.

Tollgate at Camp 1.

Kennon Road in the 80s. A Pantranco bus trails three other vehicles while negotiating a bend.

Old photo shows an old BAL bus overtaking a Chevy Belair.  Trucks and buses are no longer allowed to use Kennon Road.

An old Dangwa Tranco bus.  (Google file)

Vintage vehicles on their way up to Baguio City.  Kennon Road was then known as Benguet Road. (G file)

Old Pantranco bus refuels at an old Shell gasoline station in Sison, Pangasinan before traversing Kennon Road.  There is still a Shell gas station in Sison, Pangasinan today.(G file)

Former colleagues pose for souvenir photos during a rare get2gether. They all worked with a big mining firm at Camp 6, Kennon Road.

One more time !
Participants to an annual sportsfest sponsored by a big mining company march through Kennon Road.  Photo taken in the 80s.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Baguio Cathedral

Baguio Cathedral
              Atop a hill near the uppermost part of Session Road is a cathedral easily identified by its twin spires and beautiful architectural design.  Most people refer to it as Baguio Cathedral but, in reality, it is named Our Lady Of Atonement Cathedral. Atonement means making up for sins or lapses committed.

              Baguio Cathedral is painted in old rose color with the steeples in stronger brown shade. As one makes his ascent towards the main gate at the Cathedral Loop, its magnificent structure imposes itself from a distance.  With a wide open space, fresh cool air blows from all sides of the church.

              As the Cathedral is strategically positioned, church goers get the chance to have a panoramic view of the city proper, specifically busy Session Road, the public market, City Hall and Burnham Park. A stone's throw away is the Baguio Post Office. Several steps away is the common bus terminal at Governor Pack St.

               Baguio Cathedral was built in 1936 by the Belgian Fathers.  It served as an evacuation center during WWII. Numerous weddings have been solemnized in this beautiful church.  It can accommodate about 800 church goers. In juxtaposition to the church is the official residence of the head of the Diocese of Baguio.

              On regular days, there is a mass early in the morning and another one in the afternoon.  On Holidays and Sundays, mass is held every hour in the morning starting at 6a.m.and at 5 oçlock and 6oçlock in the afternoon. On these days, the church is filled to the rafters. 

              While others make a beeline for the communion aisle, some are busy taking photos of the church's facade and the beautiful surroundings. The Cathedral itself is a top tourist attraction. And it is one of the most photographed structures in the City of Pines. Most likely, church visitors have with them a rosary, a stampita and a digicam to take photos.  Click, click, click.


The Cathedral's entrance at the Cathedral Loop

A man-made mini waterfall with a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus.
The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ was the supreme divine act of atonement.  It was an act of redemption for the sins of mankind. To Christ's right hand is Mother Mary and to His left is St.John the Evangelist.

About the Crucifixion of Christ

The magnificent structure of the Baguio Cathedral. Its actual name is The Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral. Noticeable are the two spires.

Visitors posing for pictures. Baguio Cathedral is one of the most photographed structures in Baguio City.

The Ten Commandments in tablet form. "Thy will be done" is a commitment on the part of the faithful to follow God's commandments.

Logo of the Diocese of Baguio. Baguio Cathedral is under its fold.

More picture taking at the church's front yard

About The Baguio Cathedral

Another stern reminder

Dipping your two fingers into the holy water and making the sign of the cross

The Cathedral's interior

Stained-glass windows

The confessional at one side of the church

Stations of the Cross

The Main Altar

Statue of The Our Lady of Atonement. In background are two biblical heroines, Esther and Judith.

Near the side entrance of the Cathedral

The Cathedral's balcony

Right flank of the Cathedral with ample parking slots

The Bishop's residence adjacent to the Cathedral

Rosaries, small statues and other religious items for sale near the main gate.