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Why No One Talks About Burnham Lake Anymore

Friday, July 14, 2017


Burnham Lake Defunct Fountain Days

BURNHAM LAKE

Where I live, an American architect and urban planner named Daniel Hudson Burnham laid the plans for Baguio City and built a man-made lake called Burnham Lake located at Burnham Park.



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Sunrise at Burnham Lake Baguio City Cordillera Administrative Region Philippines

Lots of fun-filled memories remind me of Burnham Lake as it served as my childhood playground. Burnham Lake started out in the early 50's-60's with just sailboats and there were only two boat rentals operators then.

Burnham Lake One Foggy Morning
When I started learning photography, Burnham Lake is a frequent destination especially during days when it gets foggy. The mix of the fog banks and light creates a mysterious ambiance. One of my favorite photography themes. 

Another Foggy Burnham Lake Cluster of Boats Baguio City Philippines

Moody Sunrise Morning Burnham Lake Baguio City Philippines
Burnham Lake is a perfect place for meditation as calm as the placid lake during early hours of the morning. 

Yellow Boats Burnham Lake Morning

Yellow Boat Burnham Lake Mornings

Burnham Lake Baguio City Cordillera Administrative Region Philippines



As I recall my parents related to me that my late uncle started his pioneering ride-a-boat business way back in the early 50-60's. It was his love for sailboats and throughout the years evolved into a showcase row boat rental line called the "Yellow Kingfisher Burnham Lake boats" as branded by my cousins. I quickly learned the skill of boat rowing as my cousins were my direct mentors. 


Boat Guide Fetches the Boat Burnham Lake Baguio City Cordillera Administrative Region Philippines
During my high school days when it was vacation time before the start of the school year, I remember helping out in my uncle's boat rental business. One has to report early around 6:00 a.m. and fetch the boats anchored in the middle of the lake. Pull all the boats at the dock, clean them by removing candy wrappers, peanut shells, using a small broom and a dust pan. Wipe the boat seats dry. The first prerequisite is my uncle/cousins require is that you have to be an intermediate-expert in rowing skills and punctuality and attendance at work is a must. The value for work is imbued to those who work at the dock.


Boat Guide Pulls  a Yellow Boat Burnham Lake Baguio City Cordillera Administrative Region Philippines


Boat Guide Burnham Lake Baguio City Philippines

Yellow Boats Burnham Lake One Morning
At present, the ride a boat rental business continuously provides livelihood of the people who work at the lake. The boat operators started only with just two however throughout the years it grew to around five boat operators. The thriving business in one way or another gives fun/happiness to local people/tourists of who find time to experience riding the different boats of Burnham Lake.
Burnham Lake Boating Maintenance Livelihood

Boat operators offer different forms of local livelihood:

  • Boat guides/rowers; and
  • Boat cashier.
Boat maintenance like painting, boat repairs are done by the boat operators/owners themselves or have it subcontracted.
The Dredging of Burnham Lake 2013 Baguio City Cordillera Administrative Region PhilippinesI took this photo 05 January 2013, the lake was totally drained and dredging work started.

The lake was heavily silted and the City Government of Baguio implemented a large-scale project to rehabilitate the lake which involved: 

  • Total lake water drainage and replacement;
  • Soil dredging/excavation; 
  • Repair and cementing of retaining walls;
  • Repair the boat docks; 
  • Etc.
Muddy Bottom The Dredging of Burnham Lake 2013 Baguio City Cordillera Administrative Region Philippines

How about the Muddy Lake Bottom The Walling Infra Burnham Lake 2013 Baguio City Cordillera Administrative Region Philippines
This was the status of work completed on 24 January 2013 as repair of the docks is being undertaken.

Fresh Water Filling Up Burnham Lake Baguio City Philippines
On 27 January 2013, Burnham Lake was being filled up with fresh water via motorized pumps. 

First Yellow Boat Ride Clients Burnham Lake Being Filled with Fresh Water Baguio City Philippines
As Burnham Lake receives an infusion of fresh clear water, tourists take their first boat ride experience.    


Yellow Boats First to Service Boat Rides Burnham Lake Fresh Water Refill Baguio City Philippines
It was the Yellow "Kingfisher" Burnham Lake boats who were able to provide boat ride service during the fresh water refill of Burnham Lake.
Swan Lake Burnham Lake morning


Burnham Lake went back to operation on  27 January 2013 However, after a few months, something happened with the lake water as it turned from clear to a dark cocoa/chocolate color.
Burnham Lake Dusk Baguio City Cordillera Administrative Region Philippines
A typical end of the day scene at Burnham Lake. Boat rentals cease when it gets dark in the evening. Boating at night is prohibited.

Swan Boats Foggy Burnham Lake Baguio City Cordillera Administrative Region Philippines

One Foggy Burnham Lake Baguio City Cordillera Administrative Region Philippines

Burnham Lake Defunct Fountain Days

I do hope to see the good old days when Burnham Lake Park Management operated its massive fountain spout which when lighted at night changes colors. 


I also hope that our City Government will look into an operationalization of a comprehensive modern lake fountain cum automated lighting system and also get experts involved in the management of the lake bed and make immediate interventions to restore the acceptable water quality of the lake to harbor healthy aquatic plant and freshwater fish life and make the lake more attractive/enjoyable for tourists/visitors/locals aside from the existing rent a boat rides.

xxx


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