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Baguio Then & Now 2015 - 2016



An exhibition of aerials, panoramic views and re-photography, is now open at the Sanctuary Gallery, Maryknoll Eco-Sanctuary (MES). Featured in the exhibition are early Baguio photographs culled from various archival sources and private collections and re-photographs by Baguio photographers. Together, these images present a continuing documentation of the city’s cultural and physical landscape. The exhibition curated by Erlyn Ruth Alcantara is open to the public and will run until January 23, 2016.


This exhibition was first held in December 2007 at the Gallery, SM City Baguio and in March 2009, was shown at the University of the Philippines Baguio. In celebration of Baguio's centenary, the exhibition opened with additional photographs in September 2009 at the Maryknoll Eco-Sanctuary. Several images first appeared in an early version of the show, Baguio 1900-2001: a photographic environmental history first held at the Sanctuary Gallery in September 2001. This year's show opened as one of exhibitions at MES at the beginning of the annual of Climate Change Consciousness Week held every November. Baguio Then & Now 2015 includes photography from elevated views using drone-mounted cameras.


A term used in early environmental studies, re-photography is a 'then and now' visual record. Photographs taken during an earlier period are used as reference to shoot present-day images from an approximate or similar angle. While the challenge of re-photography is to take the same or approximate angle, it is not confined to a literal 'then and now.' A re-photograph can have, as its points of reference, the context of the subject.


It is the juxtaposition of beauty and loss that makes 'then and now' images quite powerful. Here, photographers play the important task of “turning the lens into a mirror." This re-photography exhibition aims to bring forth insight and focused reflection, meaningful enough to take viewers beyond nostalgia and towards a new understanding of the responsibility we all must bear to care for and heal Baguio's environment. As Pope Francis appeals in Laudato Si', “We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world...”


Viewed individually or collectively, these photographs document change and loss. These reflect how we engage our environment or push our resources to the limits. On the other hand, these also reveal some changeless qualities of a peoples' spirit and of classic Baguio landscapes or vantages which

many would like to remember as home. (E.R. Alcantara)

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These photographs of the City Hall are part of the exhibition, BAGUIO Then& Now, aerials, panoramic views, and re-photography at the Sanctuary Gallery, Maryknoll Eco-Sanctuary, #25 Campo Sioco, Baguio City. The exhibition curated by Erlyn Ruth Alcantara is open to the public and will run until January 23, 2016. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For inquiries call tel. #424-5745.

City Hall, ca. 1925 (Ben Cabrera collection) Built in 1911, the City Hall was designed with some resemblance to the elegant European half-timber architectural style. At the center of the building was a porch where one could view Burnham Park and the Government Center directly across the valley. This building burned to the ground during the carpet bombing of the city in 1945.

City Hall, Nov. 2015 (Elicon Consul photograph) Post-war City Hall, an all-new reinforced concrete structure was inaugurated in 1950. The middle stairs made of Baguio stones that were part of the original landscape were dismantled in September 2015 and replaced with concrete. A stage and mini-museum at the top of the stairs is now being built. In addition, a perimeter fence now under construction is a controversial project that had national agencies like the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Historical Commission of the Phil (NHCP) weighing in on the issue of cultural and institutional heritage. (ERA) FOR COMMUNITY CALENDAR: BAGUIO Then & Now: aerials, panoramic views, and re-photography at the Sanctuary Gallery, Maryknoll Eco-Sanctuary, #25 Campo Sioco, until January 23, 2016. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For inquiries, email: mesbaguio@gmail.com or tel. #424-5745.


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