SM Baguio Sky Garden: Were 60 Trees Worth it for the Extra Perspectives and Views?

by | Feb 11, 2024 | Lived Experiences, Popular Attractions | 0 comments

SM Baguio Sky Garden
When my sister and I just want to have some refreshing view of Baguio City where we do not need to go atop a mountain, we just head over to SM Baguio Skygarden. The first time we came here, it was so packed with families and tourists alike.

It’s the Panagbenga season again. We are expecting tourists to come and visit the SkyGarden. We were lucky enough to have partially seen the cultural dance by the performers. As expected, there were already guests sitting on the ground, taking their snacks, lovers having a date at the garden, while others were busy taking pictures.

But did you know that this vision almost never came to life? Read the rest of the article to learn more.

The Controversial Mall in Baguio City

SM Baguio Sky Garden

Was it just a few years ago when SM Mall was entrapped in a controversial dilemma with some environmentalists over the cutting down of 60 trees?

Here is an overview of the news by Sunstar:

The Sky Park at SM CITY Baguio is designed with a focus on tourism and eco-friendliness. Sunstar’s article tells the tale of the story.

Sunstar mentioned that in response to concerns about the tree cutting incident that garnered attention, SM Baguio clarified that the Sky Park project will bring various benefits to the city, including job creation, tourism promotion, and implement environmental considerations.

The article mentions that the supermall emphasised in a press release that they have obtained all required permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the City Government of Baguio, and other relevant agencies.

The statement highlighted that SM City Baguio’s Sky Park aimed to enhance the shopping and leisure experience for customers, create more business opportunities, and generate employment, particularly for qualified local residents. Additionally, that said that the mall will serve as an attraction for the growing number of tourists by incorporating “green architecture.”

While acknowledging the compromise on trees for the project, SM assured the public of their commitment to environmental preservation and protection.

The vision was that the expanded area of 68,123.75 square metres will feature eco-friendly facilities, including an underground rainwater harvesting facility with a capacity of 7,432.54 cubic metres, which will be utilised for mall operations and the city’s non-potable water supply.

The expansion will house a sewerage treatment plant (STP) below Basement 3, capable of treating at least 1,200 cubic metres of wastewater discharge per day, for non-potable uses.

To enhance energy efficiency, natural lighting and LED lights will be employed in certain areas of the building. The green walls of the expansion will feature live plants to improve air quality.

The third floor of the mall’s expansion will include a green space with a landscape area, park, and view deck. This area will incorporate green foliage and water features to mitigate the heat island effect and absorb rainwater.

An elevated garden of approximately 4,333 square metres will feature 53 species of trees and plants in pots, along with canopied walkways, ponds, and waterscapes.

Addressing concerns about parking, SM promised to establish 652 additional parking slots that will increase the mall’s capacity to around 1,419. Furthermore, pedestrian and vehicle entrances along Gov. Pack Road were in the pipeline to alleviate congestion on Session Road.

>> Please See Original Article Here <<

Several Years and Covid Later: Baguio SM City Story of a Mommy Vlogger and Blogger

A vlogger/blogger from Baguio City visited the Skygarden together with her kids during Covid season. You can tell from her video that she liked the Skygarden.

She asked her audience if it was worth it cutting down the 60 trees in exchange for the pushing through of the development of the mall. She got one response on that question. The commenter said “…it takes years to grow a big tree and only a few months to build a structural building.” However, since the mall was already built, she encouraged everyone to enjoy the place. She did follow through with a reminder though – to save trees before Baguio City gets really hot.

The mommy blogger/vlogger also briefly focused on one mountain hill in Baguio City, which she said, was once full of trees before, but is now home to several houses. You can tell that she was trying to tie this story as to why it was ok for that mountain not to get as much attention compared to where the SM Baguio City was built now.

She asked some of her children their thoughts on the venue. One of her Architecture student children said that the original perspective was not followed.

>>Watch Mommy’s Vlog Here<<

Local Culture and Art at the SM Baguio City Skygarden

The Skygarden is a venue that hosts local cultural shows during city holidays or festivals. But not only that. The mall is inviting people and are encouraging them to come visit so that that can create their own videos here.

Here is the mall’s promotional video: >> SM Baguio City’s promotional video here. <<

I did see many people taking videos and images at the Skygarden. We also took some ourselves. You can see some of them below.

Cultural Dancers at SM Baguio
SM Baguio Sky Garden
Sky Garden SM Baguio City
SM Baguio Sky Garden
SM Baguio Sky Garden

Other Things to Do at the SM Mall

If you want to shop, the mall has varied options. Here, you can see local brands like Human, Penshoppe, Bench, Vice Ganda and international brands like Mango, Joe Malone, Mac, Havaianas, H&M, Girbaud, and Fossil. There is also the SM Department Store for in-house labels and other brands. The mall also has a tech hub at the top floor near the cinemas.

For wine or dine options, there are also an array of food stalls, cafes, and restaurants to choose from. Either those, or you can just go to the mall’s food court.

Here are some Images of the mall stores to give you an idea on the things you can do.

McDonalds, Shakey's, Sizzling Plate and Other Stores at SM Baguio City
Adidas Store at SM Baguio
Stores & Other Establishments at SM Baguio
Food Court At SM Baguio
Branded Shops at SM Baguio

Is The SM City Skygarden the Best Garden Venue in Baguio City?

There are so many parks in Baguio City. After the city was open to the public after the lockdown period, we noticed that there were more developments going on. It’s really hard to choose which is the best one. But if you want something that has an aerial view of Baguio city, I would recommend going here with your loved ones or friends. Since it’s in a mall, it’s well maintained. But if you would rather be in a park with real live trees or plant, there’s Melvin Jones, Burnharm Park, Botanical Garden, or more.

If we cannot save the 60 trees, I do hope that there are tree planting efforts in the city that could replace the lost ones. As for the commenter about Baguio getting hotter, I couldn’t agree more. When we first came to experience Baguio City in college, it was much colder even during the summer months. I remember not being able to go out in Baguio City without my jacket before. You can literally see clouds come down in Session Road before even during summer months. But it could not only be a Baguio City problem. It could also be just global climate change.

In that respect, I feel the pain of the environmentalists. Some of them might have had memories of Baguio, even maybe past my 2007 memories, at the time when it really was much cooler than it is now. I recall being stuck at an aircon bus one time and commenting to my sister how it was “hot” even with the aircon on. The students next to us looked at one another and commented, “Is it hot? I don’t feel it,”said one of them. Well, my sis and I felt it. We didn’t reply. We just smiled at one another. We lived longer and have memories of an older Baguio City where fog in the summer season was so real.

Seeing the number of people who work there and the number of people visiting, the mall was right about job creation and about tourism. When the other mall was being built here way back then, I was interested as a teen about it. I preferred the arcade at the mall during that time compared to the parks ( well that was before modern development).

Setting aside the extra sentiments, Skygarden is a nice experience if you ask me. Whether the weather is hot or not, Baguio City’s Skygarden is more than welcome to give you a view of a nice city paradise from sunrise to sundown.

To learn more about the SM Skygarden and other mall updates, you can visit their FB page here: >> Official SM Baguio City Facebook Page <<

Author at SM Baguio

Author at SM Mall: Image by Leyn Pere


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