Baguio, officially the City of Baguio (Filipino: Lungsod ng Baguio; Ilokano: Ciudad ti Baguio; Ibaloi:Ciudad ni Bagiw) and often referred to as Baguio City, is a highly urbanized city located in the province of Benguet in northern Luzon island of the Philippines. The city has become the center of business and commerce as well as the center of education in the entire Northern Luzon thereby becoming the seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region (C.A.R.). According to the 2010 census, Baguio City has a population of 318,676.
Baguio City was established by the Americans as a hill station in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village known as Kafagway. It was the United States' only hill station in Asia. The name of the city is derived from the Ibaloi word bagiw meaning 'moss.' The Ibaloi is the indigenous language in the Benguet Region,. The city is situated at an altitude of approximately 1,540 meters (5,050 feet) in theLuzon tropical pine forests ecoregion conducive for the growth of mossy plants and orchids.
Because of its cool climate, Baguio City was designated by the Philippine Commission as the "Summer Capital" of the Philippines on June 1, 1903 wherein the government was transferred to city to escape the lowland heat during summer. It was incorporated as a chartered city by thePhilippine Assembly on September 1, 1909, as authored by former Philippines Supreme Court Justice George A. Malcolm. The City of Baguio celebrated its Centennial on September 1, 2009.
|City of Baguio
(From top, left to right): Panagbenga Park, Wright Park, Baguio City Hall, SM City Baguio, Baguio Cathedral,Session Road, Burnham Park Lake
|Nickname(s): Summer Capital of the Philippines
City of Pines
Benguet Province map locating Baguio
Baguio City is located some 5,050 feet above sea level, nestled within the Cordillera Central mountain range in northern Luzon. The city is enclosed by the province of Benguet. It covers a small area of 57.5 square kilometres (22.2 sq mi). Most of the developed part of the city is built on uneven, hilly terrain of the northern section. When Daniel Burnham plotted the plans for the city, he made the City Hall as a reference point where the city limits extend 8.2 kilometres (5.1 mi) from east to west and 7.2 kilometres (4.5 mi) from north to2 south. It is the highest major Philippine city in terms of elevation. Andy Chen wrote about the Geography of Baguio in 1910.
The majority of the people are Roman Catholics. Other religious groups include are the Episcopal Church,Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehovah's Witnesses, United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP),Jesus Is Lord Church (JIL), Jesus Miracle Crusade (JMC), The United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Churches, Baptist and Bible Fundamental churches. There is a significant number of Muslims consisting of different ethnicities and nationalities. The largest Masjid (Mosque) in the locality is Masjid Al-Maarif. It is well known for being one of the centers of Islamic Studies in the Philippines.
The economy of Baguio is centered on tourism and its educational institutions, of which it has at least eight colleges and universities, as well as a plethora of trade and technical schools. Based on the latest census done in 2007, almost half of the city's population are students, many of whom come from nearby provinces, with numerous foreign students to add to the diversity.
Another key source of income for Baguio is its position as the commercial hub for the province of Benguet. Many of the agricultural and mining goods produced in Benguet pass through Baguio for processing, sale or further distribution to the "lowlands."
Tourism is one of Baguio's main industries due to its weather and history. During the year end holidays some people from the lowlands prefer spending their vacation in Baguio, to experience cold temperatures they rarely have in their home provinces. Also, during summer, especially during Holy Week, tourists from all over the country flock to the city. During this time, the total number of people in the city doubles. To accommodate all these people there are more than 80 hotels and inns available. Local festivities such as the Panagbenga Festival also attract both local and foreign tourists. Baguio City is the lone Philippine destination in the 2011 TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Destinations Awards, Asia category, with the city being among the top 25 destinations in Asia.
Loakan Airport is the lone airport serving the general area of Baguio. The airport is classified as a trunkline airport, or a major commercial domestic airport, by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, a body of the Department of Transportation and Communications that is responsible for the operations of not only this airport but also of all other airports in the Philippines except the major international airports. It is about 10 minutes by car from the city center going south. Due to the limited length of the runway which is 1,802 meters or 5,912 feet, it is restricted to commuter size aircraft. This perhaps contributed to the city's declining competitiveness against other medium-sized cities around the country. The airport is used primarily by helicopters, turbo-prop and piston engine aircraft, although on rare occasion light business jets (LBJ) have flown into the airport.
The three main access roads leading to Baguio from the lowlands are Kennon Road, Aspiras-Palispis Highway (previously known as Marcos Highway) and Naguilian Road, also known as Quirino Highway. Kennon Road starts at Rosario, La Union and winds upwards through a narrow, steep valley. This is often the fastest route to Baguio but it is particularly perilous, with landslides during the rainy season and sharp dropoffs, some without guardrails. The Aspiras Highway, which starts in Agoo, La Union and connects to Palispis Highway, at the boundary of Benguet and La Union Provinces, and Naguilian Road, which starts in Bauang, La Union, are both longer routes but are much safer than Kennon Road especially during rainy season, and are the preferred routes for coaches, buses, lorries (trucks) and by more conservative car drivers.
It takes about six hours to travel the approximately 250 km (155 mi) distance between Manila and Baguio City by way of Kennon Road. It is about fifteen to thirty minutes longer through the Aspiras-Palispis Highway, and could take three more hours if going up from Manila via Naguilian Road—which is the usual route for travelers from the Northern areas of Luzon such as Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and northern La Union province.
There is another access to Baguio from Aritao in the province of Nueva Vizcaya passing through Itogon, Benguet but this is less traveled, the road is not well maintained, and public transportation through this route is not as regular. It is particularly difficult during rainy periods. Another road, Halsema Highway (also known as "Mountain Trail") leads North through the mountainous portion of the Cordillera Autonomous Region. It starts at the northern border of Baguio City, in the Municipality of La Trinidad (Trinidad Valley). This highway offers some extraordinary scenery, coupled with some sheer drops of hundreds of feet in some sparsely populated areas. Drivers should be well-versed in Cordillera-style mountainous driving, as this road has, on very rare occasions, experienced sleet / freezing rain conditions as one proceeds North toward Sagada, Mountain Province.
There are several bus lines linking Baguio with Manila and Central Luzon, and provinces such as Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Quezon, La Union, and those in the Ilocos regions. Most transportation companies also offer express and air-conditioned buses at a higher fare, although some "aircon" minibuses offer cheaper fares. Bus services that operate in Baguio include Victory Liner, Partas, GV Florida Transport, Philippine Rabbit,Viron Transit, Dangwa Tranco, Genesis Transport, Saulog Transit Inc., Dagupan Bus Co., Amianan Bus Line, Baguio Bus Line, Eso Nice Transport Corporation and many smaller feeder mini-buses.
The city is home to many
immigrants from other parts of the country. A significant population of foreigners also contributed to the diversity of the city's colorful culture. The languages commonly spoken in Baguio are Kankana-ey, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Tagalog, English,Chinese. Several establishments were founded to accommodate their needs. Posters and signages are sometimes printed with Korean translation. Several restaurants also serve different types of local and foreign cuisine.
Baguio's youth majority in the population has given it a distinct flavor different from those of other cities in the Philippines. Although Baguio is very modern nowadays, Panagbenga Festival, the annual Flower Festival, is celebrated each February to showcase Baguio's rich cultural heritage, its appreciation of the environment, and inclination towards the arts.
The city became a haven for many Filipino artists in the 1970s-1990s. Drawn by the cool climate and low cost of living, artists such as Ben Cabrera(now a National Artist) and filmmaker Butch Perez relocated to the city. At the same time, locals such as mixed-media artist Santiago Bose and filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik were also establishing work in the city. Even today, artists like painters and sculptors from all over the country are drawn to the Baguio Arts Festival which is held annually.
Many Baguio artists used the context of cultural diversity of the Cordillera Region to establish their work. Other notable Baguio artists include Narda Capuyan (weaving), Kawayan de Guia (painting), Kigao (sculpture), Willy Magtibay, Peter Pinder (fiber glass sculpture, painting, mixed media), Art Tibaldo (mixed media-visual arts) and Franklin Cimatu (poetry.) The active student population in Baguio has also spawned various interests in animation and digital arts, with several local artists doing work for large production and advertising agencies in the Philippines and abroad.
Fort Gregorio del Pilar