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City installs first “book bench” at Burnham park

COMMUNITY PANTRY FOR BOOK. City Environment and Parks Management Officer Rhenan Diwas reads at the proposed “dishi jen dibsho” which will be installed the city parks where one can grab a book and enjoy reading. The first one was established at the Burnham Lake and others to sprout including at the Rose Garden. Diwas said that he eyes the same to be installed at the Malcolm Square (People’s Park) and the Wright Park soon. PIO – Baguio Photo

The city has started the construction of mini-bookshelves at benches in some of the city parks with Baguio book lovers to assist.

“Dishi jen dibsho”, an Ibaloi for “a free book”, is a pet project of City Environment and Park Management Office head Rhenan Diwas where one can enjoy reading a book at the city parks.

Diwas, in his Facebook page, said “dibshi jen dibhso is my personal proposal of a park bench. Made from dead trees cut before, during or after typhoons, the park bench has a ‘little library’ where one could take a book, share a book and read a book.”

Diwas, who said the project is closest to his heart and which he will truly advocate to develop the parks, said the benches will be built at Malcolm Square (Peoples Park, Wright Park and the city’s heartland, Burnham Park beside the lake.

The first bench was installed at the Burnham Lake where three others will be placed soon including at the Rose Garden.

The installed bench has a shed and a cabinet where one can just “grab a book and read and share their books if they have.”

Diwas said: “Parks development, including its furniture must reveal the culture, traditions, values and norms of the community.”

He added: “When we speak of culturally-inspired projects, we don’t infuse culture simply by incorporating in the designs the patterns of weaving or symbols we see on artifacts to look like “culture- inspired”. Beyond the superficial, the object must have an intrinsic value.”

The lawyer, who was confirmed as head of the office this year, added that sharing “is ingrained in Cordillera culture.”

Diwas, an Ibaloi, said elders share not only material things but also “share their knowledge and wisdom to the younger generations.”

He further explained: “This little library is an avenue for everyone to share a book that you have read, especially those books which inspired, cultivated, or motivated you to achieve your goals or that helped you find peace of mind or contentment in life.”

The bench design is simple, because it is the “description of life among the Cordillerans.”

He explained: “In accessing resources and any material needs, the discipline is to get only what you need. Leave the rest for others or for future generations.”

This park bench, he said, is “made of indigenous material, may not be as grandiose and extravagant as others, but certainly, it speaks of our way of living.”

In choosing earth colors and green, the city offers a cool climate that speaks of rest and recuperation. It brings people closer to nature and breathe culture.

He is also asking Baguio people to share their books in the effort.

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