Most kids half my age in Manila probably won't understand why Baguio City holds a special place in my heart. This is probably because most of them didn't see Baguio City when vestiges of its glorious past were still prominent.
Apart from being almost unbearably cold at night and early in the morning, Baguio City twenty 30 years ago still had the smell of pine -- an endemic species of pine that can be found all over Benguet -- and a distinct feel about it that is unlike any other place in the Philippines.
Much of that feel has been replaced with the dirty, sooty feel that prevails in any congested city in the Philippines.
The buildings that you see in this vintage photograph of Session Road are almost all run-down and some have been turned into Ukay-Ukay bazaars while others have been boarded up or turned into shops of one sort or another. The road is almost always crammed with jeepneys, FX taxis, and cars.
Recently, Filipinos online have been ranting about SM balling up pine trees on session road. But I think all the fuss about the trees are just way too late because all the pine trees that used to grow on mountain tops surrounding Baguio City have already been chopped down a long time ago.
From where I am seeing things, all this "environmental" online lobbying seems funny -- just as a bald man ruing the loss of his last few hair follicles would be funny.