turnover of stalls at baguio city market, photo by volts gabrillo

Resilience Proven Yet Again; Baguio Endures Due to Bayanihan Spirit

The fire might have razed properties into ashes but it rekindled Baguio people’s bayanihan spirit. The catastrophic incident was reported to have affected about 1,700 out of the 3,900 market vendors.

People were in awe upon learning of the ongoing fire that broke out on the night of March 11. On the ground, vendors desperately scramble to retrieve their belongings to safety as stretched-thin firefighters rushed to put out the blaze. It took about 5 painstaking hours for the firefighters to declare ‘fire out’.

The conflagration resulted to around P24 million worth of damages. It was fortunate, as reported, that nobody was hurt or died during the nightmarish ordeal. However, the early morning light revealed the heartbreaking damage.

Immediate aid and cash assistance were distributed to the affected vendors. Due to proper data collection conducted several months prior, identification of beneficiaries was a little bit easier and distribution became more efficient. Overall, the entirety of the city market conducted business as usual.

Recognizing the urgency for the vendors to get back on their feet, Mayor Benjie issued a tall order for market cleanup that must be completed within a week. Local government agencies initially jumped into the fray. Afterwards, call for volunteers for the cleanup drive was answered by various groups. Also at ground zero was the mayor who took part with these brave souls hands-on. Makeshift stalls were being set up simultaneously along Hilltop and Kayang Street to accommodate some of the displaced vendors.

A simple turnover of newly-constructed makeshift stalls to the displaced vendors happened today, March 20. Mayor Benjie appreciated the private and business sectors that stepped up to provide a direly needed helping hand — used sacks to contain debris; meals, snacks and refreshments; construction materials; lending of heavy equipment; and monetary donations.

The Baguio City Public Market is gradually getting back to its operational normalcy. The bayanihan spirit is alive thus allowing Baguio to withstand painful setbacks. Time and again, Baguio has displayed its resolve and resilience.