SM City Baguio

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SM City Baguio
Sm baguio.jpg
SM Baguio in 2012
Location Luneta Hill, Upper Session Road, Baguio City, Benguet, Philippines
Opening date November 21, 2003
Developer SM Prime Holdings
Management SM Prime Holdings
Owner Henry Sy, Sr.
No. of stores and services 300+
No. of anchor tenants 15
Total retail floor area 107,841 m2 (1,160,790 sq ft)
No. of floors 6, including the basement parking
Parking 800
Website SM City Baguio Official Website
View of SM City Baguio from Burnham Park

SM City Baguio is an enclosed shopping mall in Baguio in the Philippines. At a floor area of 107,841 m2 (1,160,790 sq ft), it is the largest shopping mall in the whole North Luzon Region. The entire complex stands on a land area of 80,000 m2 (860,000 sq ft) on Luneta Hill on top of Session Road overlooking historic Burnham Park and opposite Baguio's City Hall which is situated on a northern hill.[1]

The mall was formally opened on November 21, 2003. It is also the first SM Supermall which does not use an air-conditioning system. The mall is the only SM Mall, other than the SM Mall of Asia, that make use of natural lighting and which does not have an air conditioned common area.[1][2] The site of the mall was once occupied by the Pines Hotel, which burned down.

Noteworthy events[edit]

On September 6, 2007, a mass wedding involving 56 couples was performed within the mall as part of a drive by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio to promote tourism in the city. At three tons, the cake baked for the event was described as the biggest one ever made in the country.[3]

In 2011 and 2012, controversy has arisen regarding the decision of the management to remove nearly 200 pine trees in order to make way for a parking lot, a move which generated protests online and on the site's premises. On April 10, 2012, the SM Group began removing some of the trees[4] but ceased after receiving a TEPO (Temporary Environmental Protection Order).[5]

On April 16, 2012, a multi-sectoral meeting was held this afternoon in the DILG office in camp crame chaired by DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo to discuss the concerns on the expansion of SM City Baguio, those present from the Government side were DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, Jr., DENR-CAR Clarence Baguilat, Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Baguio Representative Bernardo Vergara and Mr. Virgilio Bautista of the Baguio Regional Development Council. Mr. Hans T. Sy, President of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., Annie S. Garcia, President of SM Supermalls and Bien C. Mateo VP-Operations were in attendance representing SM City Baguio.

SM presented its expansion program showing the incorporation of environmental sustainability of the project, and the mitigating measures that the mall will do in order to compensate for the effect of transferring the affected trees. SM is not a member of the US Green Building Council, and SM City Baguio expansion project is officially not a LEED registered project, despite what SM says.

It was shared in the meeting that all the trees will be balled out and transferred to areas within the SM property and some to the designated area inside the DENR compound. The earth balling procedure was witnessed and supervised by DENR representatives and a forester from UP Los Baños.

Sec. Robredo proposed a joint inspection of the expansion area of SM by the combined group from the DENR, LGU, UP Los Baños Forestry, SM and the leaders of the opposing group.

UP Los Baños professor on Forestry Dr. Jose Sargento who monitored the procedures confirmed that no tree was cut. The trees were earth balled and replanted in the designated sites. It was done overnight following the directive of DENR foresters to capitalize on the soil moisture.

Secretary Ramon Paje told everyone that earth balling is an accepted procedure where the tree together with its root ball is carefully excavated, wrapped and transferred. There is also a need to prune the tree or cut some of its branches before balling it out to minimize the stress on the roots.

SM reiterated its commitment to comply with all the conditions set forth by the permits issued to them and also assured the body that it will respect any courts decision on the matter.[6]

Construction of Annex and Main Building Renovation[edit]

SM City Baguio is slated to construct the new annex and is scheduled for completion by 4Q 2012 or 2013 which is located at the western side of the mall., and also the Main Bldg. will be started to renovate, expand and scheduled to be completed by 2012 or 2013.[7][8][9]

Since then, up to the present, many people have protested to show their disapproval for the expansion of SM City Baguio. There have also been people showing support and been in favor of SM Baguio's expansion.

Within SM's right and ability to clear land for their expansion, SM went ahead to cut and transfer some 49 trees in the appointed lot on the nights of April 9 and 10, 2012.

President Benigno S. Aquino, Secretary Robredo of DILG convened a meeting at Camp Crame, Quezon City with the opposition in attendance. The President took note of the pros and cons for each side and felt that all that was needed was an inspection of the trees on Luneta Hill.

On April 18, 2012 Project Save 182 saw that 15 more of the naturally grown Benguet Pine Trees were haphazardly "balled" despite the TEPO still in full force. And once again, as in the first two nights of April 9 and 10, there were no DENR personnel to oversee the killing of the trees.

The ultimate prayer that the Temporary Environment Protection Order (TEPO) which was given on April 10, 2012 be a permanent one in the near future is the fervent desire of the people of Baguio.

With a battle cry "We need the trees, not a bigger mall!", PS 182 now pursues a boycott of the SM City in Baguio.

The Manila Standard published an article on December 15, 2012: "The regional trial court here dismissed two cases filed by the Cordillera Global Network involving Environment Secretary Ramon Paje Jr., Mayor Mauricio Domogan and SM retail giant and lifted the Temporary Environment Protection Order against the mall’s P1.2-billion expansion.

"In a decision dated Dec. 3, 2012, Branch Judge Antonio Esteves found no irregularity in the issuance of the amended Environmental Compliance Certificate, tree cutting and earthballing permits, building permit and zoning clearance.

"Lawyer Chryse Bautista, SM City Baguio counsel, welcomed the decision, noting that SM management would always abide by the law and guided by the authority of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other agencies."[10]

Project Save 192 with the people of Baguio City has brought the case to the Court of Appeals.

On November 21, 2013, an executive of SM City Baguio confirmed the mall management’s plans to redesign its expansion project to save more trees from being cut.[11]

In the mall’s ceremonial planting of its 50,000th tree in their Luneta Hill property, SM regional supervisor Cesar Bondoc said they are listening to the public clamor to save more trees.

The new details of the mall expansion surfaced at the SM Baguio expansion thread in, and one of the most notable changes is the removal of the proposed sky garden.[12]

See also[edit]


Preceded by
SM City Lucena
16th SM Supermall
Succeeded by
SM City Marilao