CEPMO launches park bench, Book sharing drive

29 April 2021 – Bookshelves will be installed in public parks in Baguio for an outdoor reading experience as part of the “Parks for All” initiative of the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO).

The project is called “DIBSHI JEN DIBSHO”, an ibaloi term that translates to “A FREE BOOK” in the park.

CEMO Head Atty. Rhenan Diwas said the bench and bookshelves for this project are made from dead trees cut before, during or after typhoons.

Forestry personnel from CEPMO constructed the bark benches from indigenous material. Diwas said that while the design may be a simple bench – not as grandiose and extravagant as modern furniture – it speaks of Baguio people’s way of living that is distinctive of nature.

“The park bench has a little library where one could take a book, share a book and read a book,” Diwas said.

As head of CEPMO, Diwas said the project will be part of the efforts of his department in the development of public parks in Baguio.

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

The Dibshi Jen Dibsho project aims to bring back the culture of sharing through books.

Diwas said the books that were placed in the first bookshelf are from his personal collections and donations from Bookends bookstore owner Maricar Docyogen.

He said the rules are simple: anyone in the park can get a book from the bookshelves, read it or bring it home to read, and in return, share/donate so that others can have books to read too.

“Sharing is ingrained in Cordillera culture. Beyond material things, our elders usually share their knowledge and wisdom to the younger generations. 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. More than the book, you have shared the knowledge, the wisdom and the insights. Who knows, the book you shared today will make a difference in the life of another,” Diwas said.

The first bench and bookshelf set were installed at Burnham Park near the lake on Thursday, April 29. Three more sets will be added surrounding the lake and another at the Rose Garden once construction of the furniture is finished in the coming weeks.

CEPMO intends to place another bench and bookshelf at the Children’s Playground too with story books for parents to read and share with their youngsters.

“We hope to be able to install benches and bookshelves in all our public parks in three to four months,” Diwas said.

For those who would like to support the project and interested donors of books, visit the CEPMO during office hours or email cepmobaguio@gmail.com – Jessa P. Samidan