A Rainbow’s End
By: Odessa C. Belmonte
It was a humid morning when I decided to pack my travel accessories for a three-
day vacation in the city of pines. School vacation was almost over which meant the
city was not that overcrowded as expected. The temperature had already dropped a
little that time and though it was still summer, people flocked the Summer Capital of
the Philippines which is Baguio City. As always, Filipinos like me enjoy summer
more than any other season for two main reasons: it’s school vacation and the
beach. But that time, mine was quite different.
I went to Baguio in June with an unexpectant heart. The grip of vacation on me was
tighter than the previous ones. Perhaps, I was just escaping a stressful job and
simply looking for a stress-free spot. I chose Baguio hoping that those pines trees
could somehow ease the clutters away.
The city of Baguio, known for its cool and comforting climate all-year round, is also
popular for its scenic spots such as the Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Wright
Park and its vast strawberry fields in La Trinidad. Over the years, the popularity of
Baguio has never waned. And this is one of the main reasons why I always choose it
While in Baguio, strolling down Session Road in the late afternoon was my favorite part of my travel. Walking uphill that busy street one afternoon, a very interesting photograph in a local newspaper caught my attention. The caption said “The Colors of Stobosa”. Immediately, I asked one of the locals regarding the picture, and I was informed that it’s only 15 minutes away from the city center. Eager to see it for the first time, I headed to La Trinidad the next day.
A Gigantic Painting
Curiosity rose inside of me for I thought there was no such sight in Baguio since I had been to the city many times. True enough, I reached the place in more or less than 15 minutes by jeepney. Seeing it for the first time, I was struck in amazement. I crossed the street just to get a better view of it as well as to capture better shots. Looking at it was like staring at a huge and beautiful painting on a hill.
Later that day, I learned from that local newspaper that those concrete houses in the sitios of Stonehill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap (STOBOSA) in Balili, La Trinidad were painted in different colors as part of the DOT (Department of Tourism) project called “RevBloom” in order to boost tourism. The artwork was inspired by the favelas of Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
One Can Shine Again
The sight of Stobosa brought me a pinching, yet an important lesson as a traveler. In fact, due to commercialization or perhaps, poor urban planning, Benguet has degraded and deteriorated considerably. I silently blamed the local government whenever I looked at those clumped houses on the hills which almost resembled the smokey mountain in Quezon City. But when I saw the colors of Stobosa, I was reminded that a place can shine again no matter how unpleasant it has become.
The residents of Stobosa in La Trinidad, Benguet saw hope, and that compelled them to unite in beautifying their community. The result is truly amazing.
Of all the places I’ve been to, the village of Stobosa is the one that paved my understanding about what traveling really means. Yes, traveling is neither a lifestyle nor a way of life. Traveling is life itself. Either you embrace or drop it down, it’s your choice. Challenges come along the way, but still it is your choice whether you push through or turn back. And no matter how dull or dark the path had become, the colors are still bright at the rainbow’s end.