Wanted: Baguio ‘Witches’
With the recent death of Cecile Afable at 95, if not the oldest editor in the country then the one who held a weekly column the longest (her “In and Out of Baguio” in the Baguio Midland Courier ran continuously from 1946 until June 2012), Baguio City has only one of the famous “Three Witches” left.
Leonora San Agustin, the country’s first woman chemical engineer and curator of the Baguio Museum, (aka “The Witch of Jungletown”) died in November last year after a lingering illness. Afable (aka “The Witch of Padre Burgos”) died on June 12.
Virginia de Guia, the city’s only woman mayor and former movie actress, (aka “The Witch of General Lim”) is the only one left, so the vacancies for two new witches had been announced.
Formal designation: “The Wayward Sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the Sea and Land … (Shakespeare, Macbeth)” also “Those pesky women who get in the way of overdevelopment of Baguio.”
Age: 80 and above. Ageism has nothing to do with it but in this job, it is a must that the witch should have seen Baguio in its youth. No amount of watching old movies on Baguio or downloading old photographs can qualify one for this. One should know what it feels like to walk in Burnham Park in the morning and step on the frosted meadows.
One should have been used to seeing fireflies and May beetles, as well as welcoming the monkeys coming down on buses as they passed by a zigzag road. When one hears the 6 p.m. Angelus, his or her first impulse is to just freeze and pray for blessings, as residents did decades ago. One remembers that time when everyone older was called either “Uncle” or “Auntie.”
Hometown: One should spend at least half a century in Baguio. Those who went abroad and returned like they know everything wrong with Baguio and can cure it, please pack your brooms and don’t come back. You can, however, bring along the special “Baguio” brooms, which we all know come from La Union or Nueva Vizcaya.
1. One should know how to mobilize the people.
2. One should laugh like a true-blue witch and know how to hold her drink. Humor is very important. One must laugh at the graves of your enemies and lovers.
3. One heart should be in the right place: carved inside the pine trees.
4. One should be very intelligent. So intelligent you can beat men in the battle of wits with a single repartee. So intelligent one can beat the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in a college debate.
5. As the Witch of Padre Burgos loved to say, one must be the “bestest.” No ifs and buts.
6. One’s children should be as good as you. But not better.
7. Dancing skills highly required. Not only in ballroom dancing but in the various indigenous dances.
8. One must be a connoisseur of the arts. One must write well.
9. One must have balls in a manner of speaking. One must face off with the mayor and not budge an inch. One must be willing to lead protest rallies and tell police officers, “I used to kick the butts of your fathers who were also policemen.”
10. Leadership and negotiation skills required. Leadership and management trainings in Harvard, AIM, etc. will never be accepted. One must have the mark of a leader on the day you were born.
11. Of course, one must know how to brew (intrigues, development plans, backroom politics), cast a spell and make Baguio a better place than when you left.
Hurry! Submit application now. Know where to submit it. Those who will submit theirs at the Baguio City Hall will be immediately disqualified.
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