Baguio Info
Baguio City

The City of Baguio is a 1st class highly urbanized city in northern Luzon in the Philippines. Baguio City was established by Americans in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village known as Kafagway. Baguio City was designated by the Philippine Commission as the Summer Capital of the Philippines on June 1, 1903 and incorporated as a city by the Philippine Assembly on September 1, 1909. There is a presidential mansion, as well as supreme court and legislative offices in Baguio. Baguio is the seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region. The name of the city is derived from the word bagiw in Ibaloi, the indigenous language of the Benguet Region, meaning 'moss'. The city is at an altitude of approximately 1500 meters (5100 ft) in a moist tropical pine forest conducive to the growth of mossy plants and orchids.

According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 252,386 in 52,302 households.


The three main access roads leading to Baguio from the lowlands are Kennon Road, Marcos Highway, and Naguilian Highway. Kennon Road starts from Rosario, La Union and winds through a narrow, steep valley. This is the fastest route to Baguio but is dangerous, with landslides during the rainy season. Marcos Highway, which starts from Agoo, La Union, and Naguilian Highway, which starts from Bauang, La Union, are longer routes but are safer than Kennon Road and are the preferred routes for coaches, buses and lorries. Due to Baguio's Indepence in 1909, Baguio is not a part of the Benguet province. Though geographically speaking it's located in Benguet, Baguio is a charter city and is said to be the 7th province in the Cordillera Region.


Air transport

Loakan Airport in Baguio is about 20 minutes by car south of the city. Because of the length of the runway, commercial jet aircraft are not able to use the airport. The airport is only used by propeller-driven aircraft. Currently, Asian Spirit flies Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday to and from Manila, a 50 minute flight. Flights to Baguio are scheduled only in the morning, as visibility approaches zero in afternoons when fog starts to form.

Land transport

It takes an average of six hours to travel the 250 km distance between Manila and Baguio by way of Kennon Road. It is about fifteen minutes longer through the Marcos Highway and could take three more hours when going through Naguilian Road, which is the usual route for travellers from the North. Kennon Road is occasionally blocked by landslides during the rainy season and the same problem occurs on the other two access roads. The route to Baguio through Kennon Road is as scenic as it is dangerous. There is another access to Baguio from Aritao in the province of Nueva Vizcaya but this is less traveled, the road is not well maintained, and public transportation through this route is not as regular. Another road, Halsema Road (also known as "Mountain Trail") leads north through the mountainous portion of the Cordillera Autonomous Region. It starts at the northern border of Baguio, in the Municipality of La Trinidad (Trinidad Valley).

There are several bus lines linking Baguio with Manila and Central Luzon, and provinces such as Pangasinan, La Union, and those in the Ilocos region. Most transportation companies also offer express and air-conditioned buses at a much higher fare, though some minibuses offer cheaper fares.

Bus services that ply Baguio include Philippine Rabbit, Dangwa Tranco, Dagupan Bus, Victory Liner, Partas, Genesis, Saulog Transit, Viron Transit, and Greenland, as well as minibuses that come from other provinces.



The primary economy of Baguio City is its educational centers of which it has in excess of seven colleges and universities as well as a plethora of trade and technical schools. Estimates are that these schools compose in excess of one hundred thousand students.

The secondary source of income for the residents is its character as the commercial hub in the province of Benguet. Many of the agricultural and mining goods produced in Benguet goes to Baguio City for central distribution.

The city is also a major retail center for the Cordilleras and the Ilocos provinces, with shoppers from the provinces coming to the city to take advantage of the diversity of competitively priced commercial products on sale, most of which are only available in Manila. Despite the city's small size, there are numerous shopping centers and malls in the business district catering to the growing commercial activity in Baguio. These are the SM City Baguio mall, Baguio Centermall, Cooyeesan Hotel Plaza, Abanao Square, Maharlika Livelihood Center, and Porta Vaga mall.

The areas of Session Road, Harrison Road, Magsaysay Avenue and Abanao Street comprise the trade center of the city. It is in these areas where commercial and business structures abound. First class movie houses, hotels, restaurants, department stores, and shopping centers are found in this downtown area. Shopping at the famous city market offers one a wide array of locally sourced goods and products, from colorful woven fabrics and strung beads to primitive wood carvings, cut flowers, strawberries and vegetables. (Strawberries and string beans - known as 'Baguio beans' across the Philippines - are shipped to major urban markets.)

Baguio is also home to one of the country's most profitable Philippine Economic Zone Authority areas (PEZA), called the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ), located in the southern part of the city between the Camp John Hay leisure resort and the Philippine Military Academy. Firms located in the BCEZ mostly produce and export knitted clothing, transistors, small components for vehicles, electronics and other computer parts. Notable firms include Texas Instruments Philippines, MOOG, and Sitel. Recently, there has been an influx of call centers in the city with American companies outsourcing their technical support facilities in the country.

Tourism is one of Baguio's main industries. Commonly, overseas visitors pass through Baguio, while Filipinos make it a destination.

Education and culture

Baguio is a university town. It is the center of education in the entire North Luzon. There are eight major institutions of higher education in Baguio City, one of which (the University of the Philippines) is regarded as the country's premiere institution of higher learning and research.

Around two hundred fifty kilometers north of Manila lies Baguio City, known to be the "Summer Capital of the Philippines" that enjoys temperate climate all year round. From a village resort established by the Americans, Baguio has become the Northern Philippines' center of business and commerce as well as the center of education. Saint Louis University has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the City into a center for learning in the North. Today, SLU is the largest university north of Manila with about 20,000 university students in its campus located in the heart of the City. Its reputation for excellence attracts students and scholars not only from the Philippines but from other countries as well. It has sustained itself throughout the past ninety years to become one of the top centers of academic excellence in the Philippines that meet international standards in tertiary education. Most of its programs, from the elementary to the graduate level, have received the highest level of accreditation in the country. SLU is centrally situated in a six-hectare campus in the heart of Baguio City and has more than 30 buildings. It has become the venue for seminars, various fora, and other special events of the public and private sectors in the Cordillera, in addition to the everyday conduct of student life in the University. It has welcomed within its walls an eclectic mix of various cultures, traditions, beliefs and nationalities.

The languages spoken in Baguio are Kankana-ey, Ibaloi, English, Ilocano, Tagalog, Chinese.

Baguio's youth majority in the population has given it a distinct flavor different from those of other cities in the Philippines.


The region around Baguio was first settled by the Cordilleranos, primarily the Kankane-y, Ibaloi, and Itogon tribes. In nearby La Trinidad, Spaniards established a commandante or military garrison, although Kafagway, as Baguio was once known, was barely touched. In 1901 Americans in an engineering built Kennon Road, the first road directly connecting Kafagway with the lowlands of Pangasinan. Before this, the only road to Kafagway was ≈Naguilian Road, now known as the Quirino Highway. In September 1, 1909 Baguio was declared a chartered city. It was planned according to the American architect Burnham, but his plan was used only to a small extent, primarily due to the hilly terrain. Americans declared Baguio the Summer Capital of the Philippines and The Mansion as the residence of the American governor-general to escape Manila's Summer heat. Americans further developed Baguio, building parks and public structures such as Wright Park, Burnham Park, Governor Pack Road, Session Road, Assumption Road.

Baguio is also best known as the surrender venue of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and Vice Admiral Okochi, where they also gave up the entire Imperial Japanese Armed Forces to American authorities at the High Commissioner's Residence in Camp John Hay on September 3, 1945, marking the beginning of the end of World War II.

With Philippine independence in 1946, Americans settled in the city and English became the primary lingua franca. Ilocanos joined the Cordilleranos in Baguio, and the population of Americans, Dutch, Belgians, and Germans soared. Baguio was relatively quiet from 1946 to July 16, 1990, when an earthquake destroyed most of Baguio. The city was quickly rebuilt.

Around May 2003, a petition initiated by Dion Fernandez to declare Baguio a heritage zone was circulated on the Internet and national print media, gaining more than 10,000 signatures. The petition calls upon unspecified officials to create the Zone prior to the Baguio centennial in 2009. In May 2005, the Heritage Conservation Society submitted to the Baguio City Council a proposed Special Heritage Bill drafted by HCS Trustee Ivan Henares. It has been approved on second reading but is being opposed by a group of businessmen.

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