Baguio City, Phil.
Baguio City – 100 Years in the Making
The City of Baguio (Ilokano: Ciudad ti Baguio; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Baguio) is a highly urbanized city in northern Luzon in the Philippines. Baguio City was established by Americans in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village known as Kafagway. Baguio City was designated by the Philippine Commission as the Summer Capital of the Philippines on June 1, 1903 and incorporated as a city by the Philippine Assembly on September 1, 1909. Baguio is the seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region. The name of the city is derived from the word bagiw
in Ibaloi, the indigenous language of the Benguet Region, meaning
‘moss’. The city is at an altitude of approximately 1500 meters (5100
ft) in a moist tropical pine forest conducive to the growth of mossy
plants and orchids.
The City of Baguio will be celebrating its Centennial on September
1, 2009. The celebrations will mark the first 100 years of the Baguio
City Charter, which was authored by former Philippines Supreme Court
Justice George A. Malcolm
Baguio City is located some 1,500 meters 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 kilometers. 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 kilometers from East to West and
7.2 kilometers from North to South.
The city of is known for its mild climate. It is because of this that Baguio is nicknamed the “Summer Capital of the Philippines”.
Owing to its high elevation, the temperature in the city is 8 degrees
Celsius lower compared to the average temperature of the rest of the
country. Average temperature ranges from 15 to 23 degrees Celsius. It
is usually lower during the late and early months of the year. The
lowest recorded temperature was 6.3 degrees Celsius on January 18,
1961. This is in contrast to the all-time high of 30.4 degrees Celsius
recorded on March 15, 1988 during the 1988 El Nino season. Baguio seldom exceeds 26 degrees Celsius even during the warmest part of the year.
The city is home to people comming from other places. It became a
melting pot of cultures and traditions from all over the country. A
significat population of foreigners also contributed to the diversity
of the city’s colorful culture. The languages commonly spoken in Baguioare Kankana-ey, Ibaloi, Ilocano, Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, English, Chinese, and recently, Korean. Due to a significantly large number of Korean students comming to the city to study the English language,
several establishments were founded to accomodate their needs. Posters
and signs are sometimes printed with Korean translation. Several
restaurants also serve different types of local and foreign cousine.
Baguio’s youth majority in the population has given it a distinct
flavor different from those of other cities in the Philippines.
Although Baguio City 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 region around Baguio was first settled primarily by the Kankana-eys and the Ibalois. In the nearby town of La Trinidad, Spaniards established a commandante or military garrison, although Kafagway, as Baguio was once known, was barely touched. In 1901 Japanese and Filipino workers hired by the Americans built Kennon Road ,
the first road directly connecting Kafagway with the lowlands of
Pangasinan. Before this, the only road to Kafagway was Naguilian Road.
On September 1, 1909 Baguio was declared a chartered city. The famous
American architect Daniel Burnham, one of the earliest successful
modern city planners, laid a meticulous plan for the city in 1904. His
plan was, nevertheless, realized only to a small extent, primarily due
to growth of the city well beyond its initial planned population of
25,000 people . The Americans earlier declared Baguio the Summer Capital of the Philippines on July 1, 1903 and The American Residence
as the residence of the American governor-general to escape Manila’s
summer heat. They further developed Baguio, building parks and public
structures such as Wright Park in honor of Governor General Luke E. Wright, Burnham Park in honor of Baguio city planner Daniel Burnham, Governor Pack Road, and Session Road.
Baguio is well known as site of the surrender of General Tomoyuki Yamashita
and Vice Admiral Okochi. It is where they gave up the entire Imperial
Japanese Armed Forces to American authorities at the High
Commissioner’s Residence (now the United States Ambassador’s Residence)
in Camp John Hay on September 3, 1945, marking the end of World War II.
A strong earthquake
destroyed most of Baguio on July 16, 1990. The city was quickly
rebuilt, thanks to the aid of national government and various
international donors like Japan, Singapore and other neighboring
Around May 2003, a petition initiated by Dion Fernandez to declare
Baguio a heritage zone was circulated on the Internet and national
print media, gaining more than 10,000 signatures. The petition calls
upon unspecified officials to create the Zone prior to the Baguio
centennial in 2009. In May 2005, the Heritage Conservation Society(HCS)
submitted to the Baguio City Council a proposed Special Heritage Bill
drafted by HCS Trustee Ivan Henares. It has been approved on second
reading but is being opposed by a group of businessmen.
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.
Many Baguio artists used the context of cultural diversity of the Cordillera Region
to establish their work. Other notable Baguio City 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
The active student population in Baguio has also spawned various
interests in animation and digital arts, with most local artists
anonymously being hired in big-time production and advertising studios
in the Philippines and abroad.
Burnham Park .. named in honor of the famous American Architect Daniel Burnham