Baguio City

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This is about a city in the Philippines. Please see Baguio (disambiguation) for references to this name.
City of Baguio
Landmarks
[[Image:{{{landmarkfile}}}|250px]]
Seal
Ph seal baguio.png
Location
Ph locator benguet baguio.png
Government
Region Cordillera Administrative Region
Province
Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. (2007-2010)
Barangays 129
Website www.baguio.gov.ph
Physical characteristics
Area 57.5 km²
Population
Total (2000) 252,386
Density 5,151/km²


Baguio City is a 1st class highly urbanized city in northern Luzon known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Situated on the southwestern point of the Cordillera Mountains, Baguio was originally a part of Benguet before it became an independent chartered city. Due to the city's climate, the President of the Philippines used to administer the country from Baguio during summer.

Contents

History

Baguio was originally inhabited by different ethnic groups that contributed to its rich culture, which has also been influenced by Spanish, Japanese and American colonization.

The Spaniards arrived in the area in 1572, when Juan de Salcedo conducted a number of expeditions in the mountains of Benguet, followed by Don Q.M. Quirante in 1694. The area was finally conquered in 1846 by Commandante de Galvey, who established a military garrison or commandancia on flat terrain north of Baguio. The commandancia was named La Trinidad after Galvey's wife. Later, the Spaniards established thirty-one rancherias (settlements) outward from the fort. The Spaniards brought not only cultural and religious legacy but also agricultural development. The colonizers introduced arabica coffee, which is grown in the area as kapeng Benguet (Benguet coffee) up to the present.

When the Americans arrived in the area, the site of the present Baguio City was still an Ibaloi village called Kafagway. The Americans made the area accessible by carving out the mountainsides along the Bued River Canyon and constructing Kennon Road, which connected Kafagway to the lowlands. In 1900, the Americans established their civil government in the area with H. Phelps Whitmarsh as the first governor of Benguet, of which Kafagway was then the capital. The place was later renamed Baguio.

The Americans planned Baguio as an agricultural recreational facility. The city was designed by American architect and urban planner Daniel H. Burnham, who had also planned Manila's Roxas Boulevard and “Chicago's One Magnificent Mile.” Mines were built in the mountains surrounding the area, and in 1903, Camp John Hay was created as a recreation area for the U.S. Armed Forces.

On 9 September 1909, Baguio was declared an urbanized city as well as the "Summer Capital of the Philippines.” A landmark known as the “Mansion” was made the residence of the American governor-general during the summer to escape Manila's heat, a tradition continued by the Presidents of the Philippines. Additionally, the Philippine Commission also built a number of legislative buildings in which to conduct their summer sessions, along what is now known as Session Road. The Philippine Government then conducted its business in Baguio City during the summer, a tradition that is continued today only by the Philippine Supreme Court. However, most of the prime property in Baguio is still owned and operated by the Philippine government up to the present, including the Cabinet Hill, Engineer's Hill, Supreme Court Compound, Court of Appeals Compound and the COMELEC Compound. The Japanese bombed Baguio on 8 December 1941 and occupied it by December 27, using Camp John Hay as their headquarters.

On 3 September 1945, General Tomoyuki Yamashita formally surrendered to the Americans at the US Ambassador's residence in Camp John Hay. After his surrender, Manila, Baguio and the remaining provinces immediately began rehabilitation.

The Philippines was granted independence in 1946, with Camp John Hay remaining as an American base in Baguio as per the RP-US Bases Agreement. The camp was finally ceded to the Philippines on 1 July 1991 together with the remaining US military bases in the country. In 1997, a private firm was granted a long-term lease under a contract for developing the area.

Baguio is currently the seat of administration of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), comprised of Baguio City, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao and Mountain Province.

Topography and climate

Baguio City occupies about 57 square kilometers of mountainous land about 1,524 meters (almost 5000 feet) above sea level. Due to its high altitude and moist tropical landscape, the area used to be covered by mossy plants. The name Baguio is said to be derived from the Ibaloi word, bagiw (lit. “moss”).Although the weather in Baguio still follows the typical Philippine seasons: dry (summer) from October to May; and wet from June to September, the combination of the geography and flora makes Baguio eight degrees cooler in any month compared to areas in the Philippine lowlands. Thus, the average temperature ranges from 15 to 26˚C, and drops to 8˚C from December to early February.The lowest temperature recorded was 6.27˚C, on 18 January 1961.

However, this climate has disadvantages during the afternoon and the rainy season. Baguio can get very foggy and damp and it is known to have the heaviest volume of rainfall in the country. (4.77 meters in July 1927). The heavy rains usually limit the number of airplane flights to one during the morning and cause a large number of landslides in some areas.

Tourism

Baguio remains the Summer Capital of the Philippines and a favorite haven of local tourists, balikbayans (expatriates), and foreign tourists. Baguio is also dubbed "Convention City" as it has several edifices erected for the purpose of hosting conventions and conferences.

Festivals

Panagbenga, the Baguio Flower Festival, began in 1994 and is celebrated every last weekend of February when all of the flowers are at full bloom. The streets are often filled with a parade of floats, bands, street dancers and guests. Various competitions, exhibits and flea markets provide a variety of activities for visitors and residents.

The annual Philippine Military Academy Homecoming is also held every second week of February. It is graced by parades, programs and exclusive balls in honor of the PMA cadets and alumni.

Baguio also experiences an influx of visitors during Holy Week, which usually signals the summer vacation in the Philippines. Business firms and civic organizations see this period as an opportune time to hold activities and events.

The Baguio Foundation Day, held every first day of September, celebrates the establishment of Baguio as a chartered city and the Summer Capital of the Philippines on 1 September 1909. Cultural presentations, activities, parades, exhibitions, and other activities highlight this event. The Baguio Arts Festival was first organized in 1989 by the Baguio Arts Guild to promote the province as a venue for art and artists. The Art Fest is a celebration filled with exhibitions by visual, performing, and ethnic artists in such mediums as photography, film, video, sculpture, drama, music, poetry reading, modern dance,and folk dance.

The Fil-Am Golf Tournament begins in the middle of November and ends in early December, attended by hundreds of golfers. The playoff, held at Camp John Hay and Baguio Country Club, is a widely covered event in the sporting world.

Silahis ng Pasko features Christmas activities geared for children, including carol competitions, a Share-a-Toy event, and sports competitions.



Education

As the population increases, the demand for schools and universities also increases. Baguio thus has many educational institutions, including the following:

Foreign students have also begun to choose Baguio as a primary spot in getting their degrees. Thus, Korean-English schools and tutorial centers proliferate, contributing a huge chunk of the city's income.

Manufacturing, Export Zone and BPOs

Baguio is home to numerous garments factories, due to the establishment of the Baguio Export Processing Zone Authority. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies, including call centers, have also established offices in the city.

Agricultural, Ethnic and Other Food Products

The climate of Baguio is conducive to the production of highland vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, cabbage and the popular Baguio beans. The products from the various provinces in the Cordillera area are sold in bulk in the La Trinidad Valley and then retailed at the Baguio central market. Agricultural produce are also brought to provinces south of Baguio and Metro Manila. The Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad produces strawberries sold in Baguio City, as well as in Manila and other provinces. Visitors to the farm can pick strawberries together with the farmers. Baguio also produces preserved sweets, including strawberry jam, as well as fresh and dried flowers, including the “everlasting” flowers. Baguio is also widely known for the native wood carvings, some of them several feet high, and woven products popular even abroad as souvenir items. One of the most popular wood figurines sold in Baguio is the “barrel man.” The “walis tambo” or “soft broom” is also a popular product.

References

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