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Part 4 of the Libotero Baguio-Banaue Roadtrip series
Inaugurated only last year, this 30-ft. Rotary Wheel by the Rotary Club of Hundred Islands (RCHI) can’t be missed when passing through the Marcos Highway in Pugo, La Union.
From La Union Province, one can take any of the 3 major roads up to Baguio City. These are the Marcos Highway (now the Aspiras-Palispis Highway), Naguilian Road and Kennon Road.
During bitter and nasty weather conditions when Kennon Road is closed to vehicular traffic to avoid encounters with landslides, travellers can take the Aspiras Highway (formerly called Marcos Highway) in going up to Baguio City. By car, it takes about an hour to go through the whole 49.2-kilometer stretch from Agoo, La Union to Baguio.
It was only last year when I learned that Marcos Highway has been renamed into two: Jose Aspiras Highway for the Agoo, La Union to Benguet boundary stretch and Ben Palispis Highway for the Benguet boundary to Baguio City stretch. I was quite intrigued by the change of name. Why do we always change the names of just about everything? Upon further research, I learned that the act of renaming was done 10 years ago! Republic Act 8971 of October 21, 2000 states that: The Agoo-Tubao-Pugo section of the Agoo-Baguio Road situated in the Province of La Union, Region 1, is hereby named the Jose D. Aspiras Highway. The Benguet-Baguio City section of the same road beginning at the La Union-Benguet provincial boundary traversing the Province of Benguet and the City of Baguio in the Cordillera Region, is hereby named the Ben Palispis Highway.
Alright, so the highway has been renamed. But who are these people? I tried to google their names and here’s what I learned… From Wikipedia, Jose D. Aspiras was a Filipino politician. He was one of Ferdinand Marcos’s cabinet member, likewise, responsible of the creation of Agoo as a first class municipality. Meanwhile, Ben Palispis was a former governer of Benguet who was responsible for the attainment of the university status of the Baguio State University.
Okay, it seems that the name changes are relevant but I don’t think they’re necessary. Well, whatever, we can’t do anything but rant…
Hello Ben Palispis Highway! At 11:48am, we were already at the Benguet boundary – Baguio City stretch of the Marcos Highway, a.k.a. Ben Palispis Highway!
Uh-Oh! The weather condition seemed to be deteriorating…
11:56am… For optimistic peeps, clouds lingering low on the road can be a lovely sight, but for negative peeps, start worrying for zero visibility!
Nature calling while on the road? Not a problem!
12:09pm Heavy rain was about to pour… Visibility was very low, good thing this Honda City was ahead of us to give us the “guiding light”
About 10 kilometers before finally reaching Baguio City is a concrete tunnel which was constructed along a landslide prone stretch of the Marcos, err Ben Palispis Highway. In the photo above, you can clearly see the thick fog blanketing the tunnel. On clear weather conditions, one can see the wide expanse of green vegetation below and the South China Sea on the horizon.
…inside the tunnel
When we got past the tunnel, the driving conditions were better. Not much fog and much clearer views! Silver Swan welcomes us to Baguio City!
…another view of the tunnel
12:24pm, WELCOME TO BAGUIO CITY! Finally!
…the rolling hills of Baguio
(…to be continued)