La Trinidad, Our Neighbor

Okay, let’s admit it. La Trinidad never got its fair share of recognition for being at the core of Baguio’s robust tourism industry. Without La Trinidad, Baguio won’t have its flaunted branding of Baguio flowers, Baguio vegetables and Baguio strawberries.

For these, and many other things, we are grateful to La Trinidad for unselfishly sharing its bounty and hospitality to Baguio and the rest of the Cordillera. In gratitude, the Joseph Digest team focused on La Trinidad in this issue to discover the municipality’s hidden treasures, and revel in its known ones. While we tried to schedule an appointment for interview with the officials of the municipality in order to ask them about their tourism programs, we were not fortunate enough to be shared a slice of their precious time. But we covered their Strawberry Festival anyway, in a very low key manner so we won’t be a distraction while documenting the event.

With the growing challenges it is facing today like any other urbanizing city in the world, La Trinidad seems to be on a verge of a change it hasn’t seen before. It has a changing demographics profile with the younger set having the majority number among its resident population. It is also confronted with a burgeoning “melting pot population” that attracts and breeds a culture different from the traditional ways of old folks in La Trinidad. Crime, incidents of violence, domestic abuse of women and children at home secondary to excessive liquor consumption are starting to rear their ugly heads in a once laid back town.
But short of being the gossiping neighbor who never sees his own dirt but only negatively comments about everything he sees with his neighbor, Baguio is not also immune to the risks of urbanization. In fact, it is faulted for flushing its wastes to the Balili River that winds through La Trinidad.
La Trinidad, while one or two steps away from Baguio through adjoining boundaries and 15 minutes away from Baguio on a traffic-jam free highway on a good day, has a distinct and unique culture. It is so different that one might think he has traveled through some time machine lapse once he gets there. But once familiar with the community, one finds a home, a family that one gets easily accepted to. A lot of Cordillerans feel more at home in La Trinidad than in Baguio.

It must be the gentle, Ibaloi mother culture of La Trinidad, strengthened all the more by the persevering, unified and industrious attitude of the Kankanaey settlers that make it so different and so beloved. These and some other things are what we like to discover in this issue of Joseph Digest.***

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