Baguio Latest News

Building the Baguio We Need

(PIA) -- Loud honking of horns, bumper-to-bumper cars, and long lines of seemingly still vehicles greet Baguio residents in going to work, school, or going back home.

 

Traffic is not an unusual scenario for the ordinary Filipino especially in busy cities like Metro Manila, Cebu, and Baguio. In fact, it has been an everyday experience, an everyday struggle, and an everyday display of unregulated urban growth.

Carrying Capacity Issue

Baguio City is the regional center of the Cordillera and an educational hub for Northern Luzon. Students, business people, and employees from the Cordillera provinces and neighboring municipalities reside, either permanently or transiently, in the city.

The 2015 Annual Report of the Commission on Population shows that Baguio City has a population of 345,366 with 1.61 percent annual population growth rate. Including the transient residents and tourists, the city’s population can play between 300,000 to 500,000 in a day.

In 2011, the number of registered vehicles in the city has also climbed up from 33, 394 to 35, 414 motor vehicles.

During a Sustainable Mobility Forum at the University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio on April 20, Master of Urban Development student Michelle Garcia shared that a person needs at least five square meters to move stress-free in a public space. Vehicles like cars require at least 12 sq.  m., 18 sq. m. for jeepneys, and 10 sq. m. for motorbikes.

Adding up the city and vehicle population, at least 1.7 million sq. m. is needed to move around the city stress- free. However, the total road network of the Central Business District (CBD) of the city is only 67, 500 sq. m. resulting to traffic and road congestion in the CBD.

Garcia said the city’s carrying capacity issue particularly traffic has caused the loss of at least P14.2 million   for business establishments in Session Road and P1.7 M for the city government.

Smarter Roads

With the number of available road network at constant and the population of people and vehicle in Baguio City increasing, the city government proposed a parking building project to decongest the CBD area of the city.

Business Process Analyst Joseph Claridades shared addressing the issue of congestion in the city needs an effective traffic scheme to smoothly move people around the area instead of building a parking podium that does not conform to regulatory guidelines and mandates of the local government unit.

Claridades explained that sustainable mobility, a concept which prioritizes people in coming up with road network plans, can be achieved in Baguio City through three stages.

The first stage aims to develop smarter roads through streamlining road networks thus, reducing delays for passengers.

Second is to move people smarter through delivering efficient jeepney and taxi processes to enable people to plan their day better.

Last is to provide standard bus line that provides alternative mode of transportation in the CBD.

The three stages to sustainable mobility in the city do not only address congestion in the CBD area but also benefit the environment through reducing vehicle use and fuel consumption.

Going Back to Basics

The Cordillera is popular for its thriving culture nurtured by the people who value their indigenous traditions.

UP Baguio Architect Aries Go emphasized that aside from indigenous dances, practices, and clothing, indigenous architecture and urban form in the Cordillera deserves more attention especially in solving the current issues on urban planning.

“We need to go back even further; the Burnham Park plan is not for Baguio.”

Go explained that the imperialistic nature of urban planning has moved us away from the indigenous urban form fitted for the Cordilleras. These indigenous architectures which include small “dap-ayan” or gathering places encourage social interaction and relaxation among people in the communities.

However, with the fast-paced urbanization of the city, public spaces are being replaced with towering buildings and hotels and people lost track of human interaction.

Go encouraged everyone to promote the importance of social interaction and a close-knit community, a characteristic which makes Baguio unique from other cities.

Starting with redesigning barangay halls to stimulate more interaction in the community,   Go urged that we must plan “not the Baguio we want, but the Baguio we need.” Jamie Joie Malingan (ALT/JPM- PIA CAR)

 

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.