Baguio Latest News

2 Cordillerans named to Charter review body

BAGUIO CITY  – President Rodrigo R. Duterte fulfilled one of his promises during a meeting with cordillera leaders in the Palace last July when he appointed two full-blooded Cordillerans to be part of the 25-member Consultative Committee that serve as the advisory body in the drafting of a new Charter for the planned shift to federal form of government.


President Duterte named Dr. Virgilio Castillo Bautista, former president of the University of Baguio (UB) and former private sector representative of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera, and Lawrence Wacnang, former Kalinga congressman, as part of the 19 members who were named to comprise the 25-member advisory body.

Last July 18, 2017, the President assured Cordillera leaders that he will include two Cordillerans in the 25-member Consultative Committee that will serve as an advisory body in the drafting of a new Charter to advance the government’s planned shift to federal form of government so that issues and concerns emanating from the region will be properly ventilated in the said body.

However, Cordillerans are still awaiting one of the President’s commitment during the said first-ever meeting with Cordillera leaders that he will certify House Bill (HB) 5343 or the bill that seeks to establish an autonomous region in the Cordillera as a priority administration legislation side by side with the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Bautista, who was surprised over the appointment, expressed his gratitude to the President and those who bestowed their support to him for the new job that will surely entail enormous workload because of the need to conduct the needed consultations around the country to achieve the best for the planned shift to federal form.

“I was surprised upon learning about the appointment because I did not expect to be part of the committee which is composed of seasoned constitutionalists. I have to do a lot of research before the release of our appointment papers and before we will be asked to report for work,” Bautista stressed in a telephone interview.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, who chairs the RDC-CAR, expressed his gratitude to the President for fulfilling one of his previous promises so that the Cordillerans will have the chance to raise their issues and concerns to the proper forum which will be in the Consultative Committee.

The local chief executive stated that while it is true that the appointment of 2 Cordillerans to the Consultative Committee is a welcome development for Cordillerans, it is unfortunate that there are some groups in the region who are trying to derail the gains of the region’s renewed quest for regional autonomy considering that the RDC-Car already embraced autonomy towards federalism as its overarching goal to guarantee better development opportunities for the region.

He underscored that once the Palace will be tempted to act on the proposed reactivation of the Cordillera bodies by personalities with questionable track records, the quest for the establishment of an autonomous region will surely be derailed and once the Cordillera will be included as part of the proposed North Luzon Federal State, the situation will probably worst than when the local governments in the region were parts of Regions I and II.

Domogan appealed to the President not to be misled by purported federalism advocates from the region because their primordial interest is to advance their own personal and political interests and not the overall concern of Cordillerans which is the realization of the region’s autonomous status since autonomy is seen as the one that will move the people out from the shackles of poverty because the regional government will be able to maximize the utilization of the region’s resources with lesser restraint from outside forces.

According to him, even federalism experts who studied the proposed autonomy bill of the Cordillera have concluded that the proposed bill is far more less controversial compared to the BBL, thus, it should not suffer from constitutional issues.

He emphasized that the RDC-CAR is supportive of the administration’s planned shift to federal form of government but the autonomous region of the Cordillera must first be in place to allow the regional government to have a leverage in negotiating with the federal state that will be established on its existence as a special autonomous region within the federal state or an independent federal state with equalizing provisions to be able to get substantial support from the national government and other developed regions in the country.



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.