Baguio Latest News

Rehab of Baguio Convention Center underway

BAGUIO CITY – The City Tourism office confirmed that the proposed rehabilitation of the city-owned Baguio Convention Center is underway to make it as one the premier government convention facilities in the city.

 

City Tourism Office officer-in-charge Jose Marie Rivera, who was one of the guests during the monthly City Hall Hour press briefing held at the Baguio City multipurpose hall Tuesday, said the contractor of the project already started earthmoving activities aside from having removed the bleachers and the carpet of the main convention hall in preparation for the rehabilitation project.

The 40-year old convention facility was a recipient of a P180 million funding support from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the implementation of the initial rehabilitation works to improve the state of the city-owned premier convention center which the local government was able to acquire from the State-run Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

Rivera disclosed that based on the project plans and specifications which is also available in their temporary office under the bleachers of the Baguio Athletic Bowl, the initial rehabilitation project will be completed by February next year, thus, the need for those interested to use the facility to consider using other public and private convention areas in the different parts of the city.

He added the City Tourism office currently provides assistance to those individuals and groups wanting to hold various activities in the city by referring them to barangays with covered courts and other available public gathering areas aside from recommending the conduct of their desired activities in private function halls or in hotels within the city.

It can be recalled that the design for the rehabilitation of the city’s premier convention facility was a consolidated effort of designers and urban planners from both the government and the private sector who volunteered their time, effort and resources to beat the prescribed deadline imposed on them prior to the conduct of the public bidding for the project late last year.

The fund for the initial rehabilitation of the convention center was a commitment of some public works officials who are close friends of some department heads of the local government.

In 2012, the local government acquired the property from the GSIS after it was able to fully pay its balance of over P250 million that was sourced from available local funds.

Part of the funds that was used to purchase the facility came from the share of the city from the lease rentals of the John hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) in the amount of P50 million which was used as the city’s downpayment for the acquisition of the facility in 2004 through a tripartite agreement among the city, GSIS and the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

Included in the planned rehabilitation is the proposed increase in the seating capacity of the convention center apart from the inclusion of state-of-the-art units of equipment to make the facility at par with other convention centers in the different parts of the country.

The convention center was constructed by the Ministry of Human Settlements headed by former First lady and now Ilocos Norte 2nd district Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos for the world championship match between Anatoly Karpov and Victor Korchnoi. 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.