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Preservation of heritage trees in Baguio pushed

BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance mandating the preservation of century and heritage trees in the city.


The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that all trees identified to have lived for more than 100 years shall be declared as century trees. Important tree species which have not yet reached 100 years but are considered ecological, historically or cultural valuable or belonging to rare species, or are adjacent or near water source, spring or well and whose cutting or destruction will disrupt or destroy the water source, shall be declared as heritage trees and shall receive the same protection under the local legislative measure.

Under the proposal, the City Mayor shall create and establish a Special Technical Committee composed of the City Environment and Parks Management Officer (CEPMO), chairman of the City Council Committee on Health and Sanitation, Ecology and Environmental Protection, City Public Information Officer, City Budget Officer, president of the Liga ng mga Barangay, president of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation, and representatives from the Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM), Baguio Water District (BWD), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Alay sa Kalinisan Inc. and Department of Education (DepEd). CEPMO is the lead office to evaluate, determine and approve declaration of century and heritage trees.

Further, barangay officials, school authorities, non-government organizations and civil society organizations shall submit to the CEPMO a listing of prospective trees. The said office shall forward the list to the Special Technical Committee for confirmation, validation and approval.

Upon the declaration of a tree as a century tree or heritage tree, the ordinance states a metal plate or marker shall be issued and strapped to the tree for monitoring purposes, among others.

Yangot claimed each declared century and heritage tree shall be strapped with the use of an identity plate, and inscribed therein the needed information, particularly the name of the tree, specific and scientific; date of declaration; approximate age; tree registry number; and location of the tree and that the words, “The city government of Baguio declares this tree as a century and heritage green, and all citizens are enjoined to protect and preserve this tree as part of our natural treasure and patrimony.”

However, he noted that any century tree that has been identified and found to be inside a private lot shall be exempted from the declaration, unless covered by an agreement between the lot owner and the local government and barangay chairman stating, among others, that the private owner had voluntarily approved the tree to be declared as a century tree or heritage tree and that the tree shall be protected under the measure. Any person who will violate any provision of the ordinance shall, upon conviction, be subjected to a fine of P5,000 per violation, or imprisonment of 6 months or both upon the discretion of the court. If the violator is a juridical entity, the managing officers and other persons responsible for the violation shall be liable for the penalties. If the violator is an alien, he or she shall be subjected to national law and procedures on deportation after serving his or her sentence.

By Dexter A. See


Baguio Tourist Attractions

Marker of the Philippine Commission's First Session in Baguio

This is the site of the building where the members of the Philippine Commission met from April 22 to June 11, 1904 and officially initiated the use of Baguio as the Philippine Summer Capital. The Commission was composed of Governor General Luke Wright, president, and Commissioners Henry Ide, Dean C. Worcester, T Padre Tavera, Benito Legarda, Jose de Luzuriaga, James Smith and Cameron Forbes.

Kennon Road and its Builder

Tourist-Spots-in-BaguioNamed after Col. Lyman W. Kennon, who was the final builder of the famous Benguet road, with the help of the industrious Cordillerans and foreign workers. Kennon road is the shortest and the most scenic highway linking Baguio and the lowlands. The lion's head can be found along the way. Final construction of this road was finished in 1903. Col. L. Kennon first ascended to Baguio in 1905. Of the original workers, the Igorots and Japanese were admired for their trustworthiness and willingness to work. Kennon was closed to traffic after the July 16, 1990 earthquake. It is now open to light vehicles only.

Diplomat Hotel on Dominican Hill

diplomatIn May 1911, the councils of the Province of the Dominican Order voted to construct a vacation house in Baguio on a 17-hectare property they had acquired when the American authorities were encouraging people to come here. Actual work started in 1913 under Fr. Roque Ruano and the building was inaugurated on May 23, 1925. To take advantage of the tax exemptions a school called Collegio del Santissimo Rosario was opened in June 1915 but due to the very small enrollment the school closed in 1917, reverting the building to the original vacation house. During WWII refugees first occupied it. Later the Japanese Army Liberation Forces had to bomb out the refugees from the buildings. The five hits left very extensive damage and for a time it was left unrepaired. Reconstruction was started in 1947 and completed in 1948 with most of its pre-war grandeur and beauty restored. In 1973, Diplomat Hotels, Inc. acquired ownership, remodeled the interior into a 33-bedroom hotel with modern facilities, but retained the unique and distinct personality of the Dominican Hill. In the 80's the hotel ceased operations due to the death of one of its majority stockholders. Plans are underway to develop this historical religious landmark into a tourist resort.

Philippine Military Academy

PMAThe Philippine Commission promulgated Act No. 175, which became the basis for the creation of the Philippine Constabulary in August 8, 1905. The school for the officers of the constabulary was first located in Sta. Lucia Barracks in Manila. Later in 1908, it was relocated in Baguio on the site known as Constabulary Hill later renamed Camp Henry T. Allen, in honor of the first chief of the Philippine Constabulary. With the passage of the Jones Law, the school was later changed to "Academy for Officers of the Philippine Constabulary" with a two-year curriculum. In 1908, the course was raised to collegiate level and later lengthened to three years with class 1938 as having the last graduates of that course. When the commonwealth government was established in 1935, the Philippine Military Academy was created in place of the Philippine Constabulary Academy. Under the National Defense Act, the PMA was authorized to maintain cadet strength of 350. Because of increased population, the academy transferred to Teachers Camp in June 1936 where it remained until WWII broke out. After the war the PMA headquarters was temporarily relocated at Camp Murphy and later at Alabang, while Camp Allen was being rehabilitated. Since May 1950 the Philippine Military Academy has found its permanent home at Fort del Pilar, Loakan, Baguio City.

The Mansion

The-Mansion-Baguio-CityThis imposing and majestic mansion has a long list of Filipino Presidents and American governor-generals. It has elegantly structured building and guesthouse. Its gate is patterned after that of London's Buckingham Palace. The Mansion has also been the site of several international conferences and a working office of the President of the Philippines during his visits to the City.

Camp John Hay

camp-john-hay-amphitheaterThis former American recreational facility is currently undergoing development as a world class resort. As of March 27, 1999, the golf course was completed and is now open, The skating rink, picnic area, and the mini golf course at the Scout Hill area are likewise open.

Asin Hot Spring

Located 16 kilometers northwest of Baguio, the resort's main feature is a swimming pool surrounded by thermal springs, lush vegetation and several hanging bridges. It is an ideal respite. This is now eyed to be redeveloped into a tourism resort along with the adjoining tourist attractions of Tuba and Baguio.

Bell Church

The-Bell-Church-of-Baguio-CityThis cluster of temples is located on the border of Baguio City and Trinidad Valley. Its exotic oriental architecture, pagodas roof, ornate gateway, dragon ornaments and Buddha - guarded windows gaze from atop a hill. The Bell Temple priest practices a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity. One may even try having his fortune told.

Burnham Park

Burnham-Park-BaguioIt is the oldest of all Baguio parks. One can unwind from the tension of the day-to-day bustle by biking, skating or simply reflecting on the day's experiences amid a soothing garden backdrop of colorful flowers. It is thickly wooded and is a great place to have picnics and concerts. There are tennis and basketball courts, a football field, athletic oval and an orchidarium.

Mines View Park

Mines-View-Park-Baguio-CityAppropriately named for its breathtaking view of Benguet's mountain ranges where gold, silver and other ores were once quarried. There are souvenir shops around the park offering such items as woodcarvings, woven cloth, ashtrays, shell products and other curio items.

Wright Park

It is sometimes mistakenly called "Ride Park" by some that identify this pine tree park reserve for kiddy horse rides. A long stairway leads to the "Pool of the Pines", a 100 meter long pool of water lined on both sides by the famous Baguio towering pine.