MANILA - After 23 years, the first McDonald's branch in the country's summer capital will be closing its doors.
According to Michael Del Rosario, owner of the McDonald's branch at Session Road, Baguio City, they have to close the fastfood outlet because its lease contract is expiring.
In an open letter published on Sun.Star Baguio, Del Rosario said they opened McDonald's Session on March 26, 1991, just a year after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit Baguio City.
Del Rosario recalled that the quake put the project in limbo as people from Baguio were leaving for Manila in fear for their safety.
"Naturally, construction of the McDo building stopped. The project was in limbo. If native-born Baguio people would give up on Baguio, who else would come and invest in our city? Thus, after a few months, our family decided to pursue the project and convince Mr. George Yang (McDonald’s Philippines chairman and owner) about it," said Del Rosario who was 37 years old at the time the McDo Session was opened.
"Sadly, after 23 years of operation, with a lease contract expiring, but with lots of good memories, we will close our doors on Monday, June 16, 2014," he said.
Baguio residents who grew up with McDo Session Road also recalled their fondest memories of the fastfood chain.
"Dito 'yung first date namin tapos ngayon, may anak na kami, so nakakalungkot," said customer Rachel Balderanas.
Concepcion Olimpo told TV Patrol that her son was a working student at McDo Session.
"Dito siya first nagtrabaho, working student siya noon. Dito rin niya na-meet 'yung girlfriend niya na asawa na niya ngayon," she said.
Lolo Nonel Liwas, meanwhile, said he the fastfood chain was his "tambayan" for more than 16 years.
"Kasi ang pastime namin, from the church every morning, after 6:30 a.m., nandito na ako," he said.
Social media users also shared photos of McDo session after they wrote on its "Memory Wall."
As a sign of gratitude, McDo Session Road treated its customers with an eat-all-you-can breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Tuesday.
It will also hand out free McDonald's souvenirs for its first 500 customers on June 15, 2014.