In Baguio, bonfires and Christmas trees sometimes go together

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines –  Baguio unveiled its newest Christmas tree Tuesday morning, December 4, and a chill of nervousness and humor filled the air. 

On the rotunda above Session Road were a trio of flat green felt pine tree-shaped Christmas trees. 

Huge Christmas balls embedded into the trees gave them a 3-D feel. 

The reactions on Facebook were fast and unanimous. Most paired the Christmas trees with the iconic Royal Pine car freshener. 

Some quipped that the air along that area was fresher now. 

And then came the reminder on how anonymous Baguio resident critics demonstrate their sentiments regarding Christmas decors they don't necessarily  agree with: they burn them. 

Last year, artist Maela Jose erected her Christmas tree using her signature tinatik design on a huge piece of cloth. It looked like a very colorful slightly opened umbrella. It has Jose’s tinatik – tina (dye) and tiktik (tattoo) – or  Cordillera motifs or bulul and tattoo designs on a dyed spectrum. 

Unfortunately, some residents could not grasp Jose’s vision and days before Christmas, some drunk pranksters decided to burn the tree. It was partially burned and Jose decided to take out her tree. 

It has since been displayed on a wall of a local mall and recently, on the ceiling of Diplomat Hotel during last month’s Enta-cool Festival. 

In January 2017, another prankster totally razed the Christmas tree at Burnham Park. That tree was composed of branches and twigs hammered together and painted white. It burned rapidly. 

This year, residents say that the Christmas tree at Burnham Park was the better tree, similar to the hobbit house-turned-condominium. 

The Christmas tableau at People’s Park was also more engaging this year, with small Cordillera houses and Christmas lights outlining Cordillera dancers. 

But the past Christmas trees at the Upper Session Road rotunda were hits-and-misses. The 2017 version was a hit with huge colorful Christmas balls. The year before that was a miss with the white and green tree similar to a huge DIY styrofoam frame. One time it was like a huge Lazy Susan, and another, a green tree like several hula hoops. –