Aquino finally comes out and hangs out at Baguio’s Wright Park

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President Benigno Aquino III hands P500 to “pony boy” Melchor Baraquio, who rents out horses at Wright Park in Baguio City, as payment for a horse that Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras rode on Thursday afternoon. EV ESPIRITU/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

BAGUIO CITY- Baguio residents’ indifference to celebrities has been good for the summer capital’s Yuletide visitors, like President Benigno Aquino III.

The President had kept his distance from reporters and the public after arriving here on Wednesday afternoon, police said.

After resting at the Mansion House, Aquino was seen in public having dinner at a Japanese restaurant in the Baguio Country Club on Wednesday night, accompanied by Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

But at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, without any announcement, Aquino stepped out of the gates of the Mansion, mingled with tourists and then walked towards nearby Wright Park, a popular spot for horseback riding among tourists and locals.

He was again accompanied by Almendras and Gazmin.

Almendras and female television news reporters rode on horses while the President looked on. Aquino himself paid horse owner Melchor Baraquio P500 for one of the horses.

Baraquio said the horses are usually rented out for P200 each for a 30-minute ride, but Almendras and the reporters just had their pictures taken with the horses.

The President spent 30 minutes at the park, looking at souvenir items on display at Wright Park’s curio shops and allowed tourists to have their pictures taken with him.

“I think nabawasan natin ang stress level ng buong Gabinete ng naandito ako (I think we managed to reduce the stress-level of the whole Cabinet during my stay here)…. I think I will be back in the office on the 29th,” Aquino told reporters.

“So iyong mga hindi nag-file ng leave, magkikita kami (Those who didn’t file their leave, we will meet) on the 29th. Sana naman (I hope) there’s no [reason] for me to call on the Cabinet to handle anything,” he said.

Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong, Cordillera police director, said top police officials have been deployed to keep the President secure, but the job has been easy so far because Aquino had kept a very low profile until Thursday.

The President, he said, has no fixed schedule so policemen should be always on their toes.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan has yet to meet with the President, according to his aides. Baguio Bishop Carlito Cenzon said he has not scheduled a meeting with Aquino.

To the Baguio public, what draws attention are the security personnel, policemen and television news teams tailing Aquino.

Many of these media personnel from Metro Manila and presidential aides spent the holidays away from their families to follow the President.

Apart from securing the President, local policemen are also busy ensuring the safety of Baguio’s holiday visitors.

City tourism officials have yet to provide figures, but tourists flocked to the summer capital during the Christmas break, crowding local destinations like Burnham Park, Camp John Hay, Mines View Park and Wright Park.

Many of these visitors stayed longer, drawn to the nippy weather as temperature plunged to 11 degrees Celsius on Christmas Eve.

On Thursday, however, the temperature was recorded at a warmer 13.6 degrees Celsius.

Letty Dispo, weather specialist at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said Baguio temperatures started to climb steadily since Christmas Day, when the mercury registered 12.5 degrees Celsius.

American Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. has also been seen around town. On Thursday, he had lunch with his family at Casa Vallejo’s Hill Station.

Thomas hosted a Christmas thanksgiving at the US Ambassador’s residence in Camp John Hay here last week.

While visiting the Philippine Military Academy last week, Thomas described 2012 as a year of cooperation between the Philippines and United States, which helped each other cope with their respective calamities and tragedies. Typhoon “Pablo” struck parts of Mindanao and the Visayas on Dec. 4, leaving more than 1,000 people dead.

On Oct. 29, Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast of the US, including New York City, killing 149 people and leaving neighborhoods stranded for days with no power, food or fuel.

“We have been able to show our oneness. The Philippines gave assistance to victims of Hurricane Sandy and for that we are deeply grateful. Right now, our USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the US military are providing assistance to victims of Typhoon Pablo, working shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and NGOs (nongovernment organizations),” Thomas said. Vincent Cabreza, Gobleth Moulic, Desiree Caluza and Frank Cimatu, Inquirer Northern Luzon

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • turbogirl9

    better to be REST IN PEACE.

    • rayingga

       ikaw ang dapat na ma rest in peace

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/KCCZPQATUI5WCVB7B2NRF4G2YM pete

      gloria, go to hell!!!

    • Sarkasmos

       Paskong Pasko, bitter ka. Ang pangit ang ugali lalong pumapangit. 

    • Observer_din

      sama nama ng loob me ke PNOY, bakit isa ka ba sa naturbo niya ng makapuwesto na siya?? hehehe

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/XY4AW6ZJBAPIJ33L7KX6M3IOQI c

       tsk tsk…di ka yata naturuan ng magulang mo ng GMRC

      • http://twitter.com/akongednamzug akongednamzug

        Bad Manners and Wrong Conduct ang itinuro sa kanya. 

      • Observer_din

        isa ka pa, di mo ba naiintindihan, maraming ibig sabihin ang naturbo?di pa pwedeng nasibak sya sa puuwesto ng makaupo si PNOY? o madumi lang masyado utak mo? di ka yata naturuan ng magulang mo na wag maging malisyoso… tsk.. tsk.. tsk…

      • Observer_din

        sorry, i na-misread ko reply,,, my apologies

      • Observer_din

        what? di mo ba naiintindihan, maraming ibig sabihin ang naturbo?di pa pwedeng nasibak sya sa puuwesto ng makaupo si PNOY? o madumi lang masyado utak mo? di ka yata naturuan ng magulang mo na wag maging malisyoso… tsk.. tsk.. tsk…

      • Observer_din

        sorry, i na-misread ko reply,,, my apologies

  • indiots

    wow… bigat talaga ni idol…

  • http://twitter.com/akongednamzug akongednamzug

    Turbogirl9, you are heavily bombarded. Lumaban ka. O baka naman you are resting in peace, which you said is better.

  • boybakal

    Aquino finally comes out and hangs out at Baguio’s Wright Park…

    The President is really Man of the People.
    He can easily adjust to the surroundings and co mingle with them, in this case Igorots Baguio people.
    It would have been more fitting, if Pnoy comes out in G string of Bahag at least in na in.
    Maputi kaya ang pwet ni Pnoy, kaya ayaw mag G String.

  • boybakal

     Almendras and female television news reporters Rode on Horses while the President looked on…

    Poor Horse or Donkey, sa laki at taba ni Almendras, palagay bali ang likod ng kabayo, lugi pa sa P500 pesos na bayad.
    Bata lang ang sumasakay, sinakyan ng elepante.

  • Your_King

    Baguio must be nice this time of year. I wonder how it is in the south where typhoon ‘Pablo’ kicked the crap out of millions of Filipinos? I bet Aquino has no idea. He’s been in Baguio longer than he was where ‘Pablo’ hit.

  • Vincent Tuason

    never a fan of PNoy, but hey, he’s our president and he deserves  some furlough to rest and recreate. 

  • disqusted0fu

    Aquino is finally done hibernating. now he’s ready to do his duties (photo-ops). after this, back to attacking his political enemies.

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