Upon entering the huge metal gates of Burnham Park, a festivity greets the visitor. In front of the stage, two native dancers, a man and woman, sway their bodies to the music of gongs and a log drum. And as the dancing goes on, three women are cooking foods on two large pots at the right side of the stage. From the looks of it, it appears that the women are cooking rice and sweet potatoes (camote). Close to where the three women are, not far behind the dancers and instrumentalists, two men roast a pig while another man keeps the fire ablaze by fixing the firewood in place. On the left side close to the dancers, three men (perhaps elders) are busy tasting the rice wine; one man sips from a cup, while another hands over a cup of wine to an elder. Oddly though, the celebration is soundless; a revelry in total silence.
Fittingly, at the middle section of the platform, a bust of a thickly mustached man atop a square-shaped upright pillar (perhaps 12 feet high) stands tall welcoming the visitors entering the gates. A plaque plastered on the column reads:
“Daniel Hudson Burnham
“A world renown American Architect from Chicago, United States of America, who at the turn of the 19th Century designed the land use patterns of the city of Baguio, specifically the city’s main park which bears his name – Burnham Park”
Visitors acknowledge Burnham’s greeting in many ways. There are those who, upon seeing the monument, would immediately take a photo of Burnham’s bust. Others would pose in front of the pillar and take pictures of themselves. Still, others would simply stop for a moment, gaze at Burnham, and descend the stairs leading to a flower garden. Very few would take time reading the commemorative dedicated to the man from whom the park was named.
This gated face of the park is the main entrance, although you can enter the park from many directions despite the fences surrounding the park. Behind the Burnham Monument is the renovated Rose Garden.
Entering through the gated face offers visitors a quick panorama of the Park. From afar, you can readily identify SM Baguio mall as it dominates the southeastern skyline of city. But besides the Rose Garden (with its “few” roses), there is not much to view. Trees are scattered all over the place. Their leafy crowns hide the Park’s other main attractions from plain view. These; however, create a sense of anticipation; an anticipation of what the Park has in store for its visitors.