BAGUIO CITY – After years of neglect and deterioration, the famous Baguio Athletic Bowl is now being rehabilitated and its
once-dilapidated dirt oval has been replaced by tartan, a synthetic all-weather athletic track, and can already host regional, national and even track and field events.
“It’s a dream come true,” Baguio Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. said. Aliping was instrumental in getting an estimated P160-million funding for the rehabilitation and upkeep of the 1945-built athletic field’s 4-phase development that started more than a year ago.
The 8-track rubberized tartan is ready for discovering future track stars the likes of Lydia De Vega, Hector Begeo and Elma Muros who had their glory days running in the dirt track here. “It’s earlier deficiencies are going to be corrected,” Alexander Castaneda, public works district engineer for Baguio, said.
The decades of neglect of the 75-year old Athletic Bowl affected sports development in the city.
But with its continuing rehabilitation until 2017, the Athletic Bowl is expected to match national and even international standards and spur sports development here, according to Aliping..
Art Alimbuyao, director of the Baguio chapter of the Philippine Track and Field Association, confirmed that the deficiency of the
measurement of the track will be rectified by the private contractor doing the rehabilitation.
Alimbuyao, a former Gintong Alay long distance runner, officiated in the 5-K inaugural run on the tartan track Friday morning during its official public opening, where more than a hundred runners including multi-awarded international marathon runner Marcelo Bautista participated.
Bautista and the other runners showed admiration for the tartan track, dousing earlier fears that it would not be used for official track sports events despite its multi-million cost.
Several years ago, protests staged by residents foiled a supposed takeover of the Baguio Athletic Bowl by a Korean investor who had planned to develop and operate it for business purposes for at least 25 years. THOM F. PICANA/northboundasia.com