Only three kilometers from Baguio City is the majestic Valley of Colors in La Trinidad. Vibrant and colorful yet this community has a hidden image according to the locals.
The sun hid its face behind the clouds after we visited the Strawberry Farms of La Trinidad, Benguet offering a soft light which painted the whole municipality. After taking a quick brunch in Calajo Restaurant, we rode a jeep and visited a previously ordinary place turned into a majestic work of art known as the “Valley of Colors” or “Stobosa Mural”.
The Valley of Colors
These clusters of colorful hillside homes were inspired from the Favela Painting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is composed of three communities, Stonehill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap, thus named as the Stobosa Mural. This was spearheaded by the local government as part of their project in boosting tourism in the area. It was a collaborative effort from its leaders to its people and their teamwork is amazing in creating such marvelous work of art.
The community is separated by the Balili River and a hanging bridge is present connecting the neighborhood to Halsema Highway. Although it was cloudy that day, we still appreciated the saturated colors of this hillside community.
The Hidden Image
Though I was astonished in this colorful place, I was wondering about the meaning of these hues to the people living in the area. I met lola (a respectful term for an old lady or grandmother in Filipino) in the community, greeted her with a warm smile and asked about the meaning behind this Valley of Colors. She said that this cluster of beautiful houses is a gargantuan painting depicting a sunflower surrounded with different abstract art. It’s a reflection of the famous Panagbenga Flower Festival in Baguio City celebrated annually in February. Although we can’t appreciate the overall picture of the mural since we were viewing it at a low angle, lola said that we should use an eroplano (airplane) to view the whole painting above. I think she’s referring to a drone camera when she mentioned eroplano.
The sunflower image is quite subtle and I wish we have a drone so we can further appreciate this community at a higher angle. We tried climbing the neighborhood parallel to Stobosa but it is filled with private residential homes and we didn’t want to trespass their properties.
Overall, the Valley of Colors is truly amazing. This was an ordinary place before, boring and gray. With the initiatives from their leaders and eagerness of the people, they were able to create such marvelous artwork produced by the power of bayanihan (a Filipino custom which means communal work).
Stobosa Mural – Valley of Colors
The location of Valley of Colors (Stobosa Mural) in Google Maps is inaccurate. The best map marker available is the Tribune reflected in the map above and it is the exact location of the hanging bridge connecting Halsema Highway to the three communities mentioned above.