Baguio residents pounced on the recent confession of actor Paolo Contis that he went to Baguio to sort out his marriage woes, making memes for admitting that he brought “a friend.”
One meme called Baguio City, “The Friendship Capital of the Philippines” while another mentioned the “Baguio curse” of ending relationships. Others featured pictures of Contis in Baguio.
Contis had said that when his long-time partner LJ Reyes went to the United States, he decided to go to Baguio for some soul-searching. (READ: Paolo Contis speaks up on breakup with LJ Reyes)
“Naging insensitive ako about the possible effects ng issue and I invited Yen for a day para may makausap since malapit lang siya sa North din. She went there as a friend," he explained.
(I became insensitive aboutthe possible effects of the issue and I invited Yen for a day so that I can talk to someone since she was near the North. She went there as a friend.)
Yen is Yen Santos, his co-starr in the movie, A Faraway Land, although he said that there was nothing to it.
Contis' comment even prompted Baguio's City Environment and Parks Management Office to post its own meme.
City Environment and Parks Management Office
A restaurant in nearby La Trinidad and a Philippine travel community web platform were among those that also posted memes on the actors' remarks.
Baguio, despite the memes, can no longer afford to welcome “friends” coming into the city because of the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that they have been turning away about 50 to 70 visitors a day from its borders after it made its COVID protocol much stricter.
Magalong said the most common reasons for entry refusal were the lack of proper documents and the non-essential purpose of travel.
From August 1 to 21, a total of 377 tourists were sent home for incomplete travel requirements, while 14 were apprehended for presenting fake documents.
Border rule implementation was tightened as early as July to address gaps in drop-and-go and passing-through travels, and later as part of the contingency measures against the more dangerous COVID-19 Delta variant.
Magalong specifically ordered stricter monitoring of all entrances to bar residents in areas placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from coming to the city to the extent of using fabricated travel documents to skirt the city’s entry requirements.
He urged personnel manning checkpoints and triages to be vigilant and discerning in their scrutiny of travel documents including vaccination cards, identification.