Baguio City: The New Korean Province?
By : Angela Malidem, Northern Dispatch, Bulatlat
12 September 2006 | 10:41 AM
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) — “Anyung Ha Seyo”.meaning “good day” in Korean, is fast becoming the new catch phrase of the local people of Baguio. This is the result of the rapid growth of the Korean population in the city.
Rewind six to seven years ago. I recall that back then, one can count the Korean nationals roaming the streets of Baguio. The only known Korean establishment was the Gin Go Gae, a Korean restaurant.
There was a beauty parlor along Mabini Street owned by a seemingly lonely middle-aged Korean lady, where other Koreans regularly had their hair done. Almost all of them went out of the shop with curly hair of brownish red color.
back when i was living there, i only knew like five koreans. one was a boy who asked my cousin out, another was a guy from Church, whose mom always made us Kim Chee, another was a kid i used to play with during choir meetings. the other two were transfer students at my school. there are always alot of Chinese and Taiwanese, but the fact that there are news articles springing up about this Korean influx feels unusual and puzzling to me--Baguio is such a small town to be getting so much attention for this; especially a trivial thing such as this! ah! of all things...putting aside this seemingly strange influx (in my mind it still is) other matters such as, how can Baguio change in such a small amount of time? i thought i didn't mind it so much at first, but my cousin writes about these changes all the time in her letters (it's so much more crowded, there are more malls, it's more polluted, changes in the local bureaucracy are often dissapointing and the demographics are changing rapidly). how can any of these things be called progress? where is the so-called "economic boom" in the new malls and big businesses?...
i am complaining about useless things but how come they feel important to me now?
do i squeal more than i did before about these things? or is it, i'm actually squealing?
back to the main subject of this post however, one big question on my mind is how the koreans are becoming integrated into baguio, and yes in a larger picture, philippine culture. what are the good effects? i'm NOT just talking economic advantages that may have helped our economy a small step further due to korean business and trade--but on a personal level with our culture, what kind of exchange is being made? do we really get along? please don't take this personally if you are korean, or have had good experiences with koreans (as i have had the pleasure of), but i feel this influx is and will continue to incur cultural clashes (work ethic, disposition, etc.). personally, truthfully, as a baguioian, what do you think?