Bike rentals in Burnham Park have been part of so many childhood memories.
There are so many activities that you can do in Baguio City’s Burnham Park—you can boat, have a picnic or just stroll around. But perhaps one of the most popular recreations would be cycling within the bike park.
Bike rentals have been in this touristy place for a long time. Since it’s very affordable and you get to do it in the pleasant Baguio weather, it’s not surprising that this kind of business lasts long.
We were on a break from work when we met 69-year-old Sadcopen Borromeo, one of the oldest business owners in Burnham Park’s bike rental scene.
He started his bike rental business back in 1974—that’s 47 years ago—with only a few mountain bike units. Back then, he said that the business was fine except for thieves stealing his bicycles.
So he thought that being a concessionaire might not be for him so he tried his luck in different fields. He became a driver, security guard, hotel boy and waiter. Everything did not work out well and eventually he went back to bicycles.
“Rinevive ko itong bike rental after eleven years, iniwanan ko eh. May business permit pa ako na hindi ko binenta pero binayaran ko ‘yung mga back taxes para makabalik,” he said.
Among his batchmates in the bike rental business, it’s only Sadcopen who remains actively working in the park. To be fair, his energy doesn’t make him look like he’s turning 70.
“Namatay na kasi ‘yung mga kasama ko eh, meron pang buhay at may pwesto pero hindi na nagta-trabaho kasi 86 na siya at hindi na kaya,” he told us.
Asked why he still keeps on working, Sadcopen said that he still needs money for food and he wants to move instead of just doing nothing at home.
Sadly, business is not doing well right now due to the pandemic. It became a bit better when travel restrictions in Baguio City eased during the last quarter of 2020.
Bike owners in Burnham Park expect a lot of tourists now and in the coming months because this is their usual peak season. But it seems like business is going to be dry because of the rising Covid-19 cases and Baguio recently imposed strict entry for tourists again.
Currently, mostly locals cycle in Burnham Park. Some of them go there for fun while others learn biking, which is perfect because it’s very safe and ideal for lessons.
“Masaya ako kapag masaya ‘yung mga tao. Lagi silang nandito para mag-exercise at minsan nagpa-practice,” Sadcopen said. “‘Yung iba dinadagdagan pa ang oras nila.”
We joked with him, asking if he gives his customers free rides.
“Kapag libre…” he paused then laughed. “Mahirap kapag libre eh, hehehe.”
Go say hi to Sadcopen when you visit the bike rentals in Burnham Park soon. He owns stall #13 found in the dedicated lane for non-motorized wheeled vehicles.