The country’s Summer capital, Baguio City is situated 1,500 meters above sea level and is one of the few places in the Philippines with a cool climate. It’s always eight degrees cooler in Baguio than in lowlands.
Baguio was developed during the early 1900s by American colonial officials who sought for a cool mountain retreat away from the heat of Manila. One little known fact is that the original city plan was modelled by architech Daniel Burnham after that Washington D.C. Its name derives from bagyiw, an Ibaloi word for a moss that grew in the mountains’ damp, swampy areas.
Burnham Park at the center of the city has pine trees, flower gardens and a mammade lagoon. The famous City market offers a bewildering array of fresh fruits ad vegetables, notably strawberries. Other specialities are fruit preserves and peanut brittle. Maharlika Center specialize in various arts and crafts along with antiques. Baguio Cathedral and Lourdes Grotto are the City’s chief religious landmarks. The Mansion House is the summer residence of the President of the Philippines, with its gates patterned after those of Burckingham Palace. Camp John Hay is former US military facility that’s now an upmarket vacation resort.
Mines View Park and Dominican Hill are the city’s best known view points, while Wright Park offers pony rides. Adjacent Baguio Botanical Park has souvenir stalls and upland replica houses. An entire set of houses were found along Asin Road, while weaves and silverwork are sold at Easter Weaving School and St. Louis School silver shop.
Baguio is the gateway to the wonders of Northern Luzon: the calm beaches of La Union; the fabled Hundred Islands of Pangasinan; the world famous Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao; the ancient churches, Spanish influenced houses, historical and cultural relics of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, the Kabayan of the tribes of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, and Abra.
Geography of Baguio
Baguio City, approximately 250 kilometers north of Manila, is situated in the heart of the Province of Benguet. The area of the city is 49 square kilometers enclosed in a perimeter of 30.6 kilometers. The developed portion of the city is a plateau that rises to an elevation of 1,400 meters. Most of it lies on the northern half of the city.
About half the area of the city has a slope of 25% or more.
Political Subdivision of Baguio
A popularly elected Mayor heads the city government of Baguio. He is assisted by the Vice-Mayor and a 12-man legislative council called the Sangguniang Panglunsod.
Climate of Baguio
Baguio is 8 degrees cooler on any month on the average than any place in the lowlands. The temperature seldom exceeds 26° centigrade at its warmest, and the lowest reading was 6.3° centigrade, recorded in January 18, 1961.
Baguio is very wet during the rainy season which is from June to October. The recorded heaviest volume of rainfall measured 9,038.3mm.
Population of Baguio
The population of the city as of 1995 was 226,883. The youth constitute nearly half of the population. During the peak of the annual tourist influx, particularly during the Lenten period, transients triple the population.
Baguio’s Language / Dialect
English is widely spoken and understood. It is the medium of instruction in all public and private schools. The national language, Filipino, is spoken by everyone. Ilocano is also spoken by almost everybody.
Major Industries in Baguio
The three dominant industries in the city are tourism, education, and integrated circuits. Texas Instruments initiated the Export Processing Zone. Today, they export six hundred million dollars of products annually.