Skip to main content »
Igorotage

Baguio's Iron Lady: A Story of Love, Advocacy, and Dismay.

She did not hesitate to convey her disappointment over politicians and individuals who show lack of sincere affection and concern towards Baguio.

via igorotage.com

Cecilia Elena Cariño Afable, known to many Baguio folks as "Auntie Cecile", was born on Nov. 11, 1918 to the humble family of Josefa Cariño and Teruji Okubo, a Japanese carpenter who came to Baguio to help build Kennon Road. Her mother was the daughter of the great Ibaloi chieftain and local hero, Mateo Cariño. Auntie Cecile was the only girl of five children of Josefa. Her two brothers were Policarpio and Bernardo, both deceased, and her half-brothers were Oseo and Sinai Hamada from Josefa's earlier marriage to the late Reukitse Hamada.

A couple of years after the end of WWII, Cecile and her brothers, Sinai and Oseo, established the Baguio Midland Courier which was to become the most widely read and distributed local newspaper in the City and its neighboring municipalities to date.Her passion for writing found its home in her column, "In and Out of Baguio", which gained popularity for her uncompromising, straightforward, and oftentimes tough commentaries on individuals and institutions that are supposed to be working for solutions on problems besetting the city and the country, but fail to do so.

Kathleen Okubo, Cecile's niece, said her aunt's advocacies on various issues like the environment, culture, and education, reflected very well in her column.

Auntie Cecile's deep love of her Ibaloi heritage and her unyielding stance against corruption are the cornerstones of her advocacy. According to one of Baguio Midland's article, "Hers was a tongue as sharp as razor, in as far as her opinion pieces are concerned, and she showed her anger against those who would stifle education and information dissemination to the local people".

She did not hesitate to convey her disappointment over politicians and individuals who show lack of sincere affection and concern towards Baguio, the land of her forefathers.

Having heard some of her lengthy speeches in clan reunions and other gatherings, I can clearly remember how she manages to effortlessly dazzle the audience with Ibaloi narratives and other stories passed on by the elders. Her dismay over the seeming descent of Baguio into an unrecognizable ruin was also apparent in both her talks and writings. Her final Courier column on June 10, 2012 strongly displayed her displeasure in what the summer capital had become.

She wrote: "Baguio, the dream city, is truly a flat tire city that never was or is loved. We call it the squatters' city."

Aunty Cecile's bandwagon with two more true-blue dyed in the wool Baguio girls - Leonora San Agustin and former city mayor Virginia de Guia - was solidified in the aftermath of the 1990 killer quake when they fought and advocated for a better Baguio, one that is free from urban decay. They were known for doing 3-woman rallies for their causes. "Holding protest placards, they once picketed an intersection of Marcos Highway to oppose a plan to build a flyover there. They lost that fight when the government proceeded with the project.

Stories about their quixotic drive to stop Baguio's "uglification" have not been told until today, years after their deaths", according to an article by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The women had been vocal critics of government projects that alter the city landscape, earning them the moniker "Three Witches," which they gladly embraced.

In the celebration of Women's Month, may Auntie Cecile's legacy live on in the hearts of those who truly love Baguio -Those who genuinely work and fight to protect the City from impending "uglification". May the bravery and resolve of the "Three Witches" serve as an inspiration for the people to defend Baguio's beauty and heritage from those who feign concern in the guise of economic advantage.

Let the Baguio Iron Lady's dream of a better Baguio be heard in the issue of modernization and development. As she once did, let us advocate for more environmental-friendly and culturally sensitive alternatives to save Baguio from further devastation.

(Originally published @ gpabela.com for women's month 2021)



Sharing is caring, kailian!

We do hope you find something great in this story. If you find this helpful, please do share it with the people you care about.


Igorotage is a social networking site — all contents are user-generated. The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Igorotage.

Except as otherwise noted, the content of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Comments

Sign in to share your thoughts. No account yet?

Igorot lady tops December 2022 Criminology Licensure Exams

Narcilisa Ponase Talipnao, Igorot from Atok, Benguet, tops December 2022 Criminologist Licensure Examination.

Jan 19 · 1 min read
3 Igorot Commando Among the SAF Team Who Championed the Panthers Challenge 2022

3 Igorot SAF from Sadanga, Mt. Prov. and Itogon, Benguet are among the member of SAF-Seaborne who championed the Panthers Competition Challenge 2022.

Dec 8, 2022 · 2 min read
HAILED FROM IFUGAO PROVINCE IS A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE TO REACH THE NATIONAL ECHELON

EPITOME OF PUBLIC SERVICE ACCLAIMED TO THE NATIONAL LEVEL!

Nov 5, 2022 · 1 min read
Igorot ranks 3rd in Officer Candidate Course 56-2022

2LT Brent Alawas, Igorot from Mountain Province, ranks 3rd in the Officer Candidate Course Class 56 IKARIGATAK 2022.

Oct 22, 2022 · 1 min read
Cordilleran tops Army Officer Candidate Course 56-2022

2LT Jerald Garcia, a Cordilleran from Baguio City, is Top 1 of the Philippine Army Officer Candidate Course (OCC) Class 56 "Ikarigatak" 2022.

Oct 20, 2022 · 1 min read
Kalinga Teacher is Top 3 in Public Safety Basic Recruit Course

PAT Revelyn Gay A. Dawing, a proud Kalinga Teacher-Police Officer, graduated Top 3 of the Public Safety Basic Recruit Course RTC3 Class 2021-02.

Oct 19, 2022 · 2 min read
Igorota Elite Ultramarathoner wins Gold in 50K Borneo Trail Classic 2022

Sandi Mechi Abahan, Igorota Elite Ultramarathoner, named female champion in the 50K Borneo Trail Classic of the Spartan Trail World Championship.

Oct 16, 2022 · 2 min read
Maynah Josephine Lourellen Borja Erece: Genius, Beauty, Grace, Gifted and extremely Talented

An embodiment of genius, book author, musical stage producer, actress, scholar, a martial artist, ballerina and contemporary dance choreographer.

Oct 10, 2022 · 1 min read
4 Isadanga Cops Awarded the Medalya ng Kadakilaan for Busting 7.7M Worth of Drug Trafficking

Be warned, Isadanga and the PNP do not compromise with people who use illegal drugs as their bread and butter while destroying the lives of others.

Oct 5, 2022 · 2 min read
Short film created by an Igorota wins International Awards

A short film co-written, produced, and starring Joyce Lao, an Igorot woman, received multiple awards from prestigious film festivals this year.

Sep 30, 2022 · 5 min read
What to learn next?

You might also like to read more related articles filed under People — or jump to a random article!

People Surprise me