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From the Author

Let us pause for a while and take a peek at the fascinating wonders of nature, the majesty and the glory of God's creation and the spectacle of human engineering. Unfortunately, I cannot go to these places in as much as I want to so, I’m just taking this virtual expedition. I hope you can join me in this online adventure.

-Arnel S. Oroceo, the Author

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Baguio City: Philippines' Summer Capital

The Philippines is going through a period of dry spell. Scientists call it “El Niño”, which means that there will be a hot, dry climate all over the archipelago. We cannot blame some people who look for at least a temporary relief from the scorching heat by going to cooler places where they can spend even just a short vacation.

With or without El Niño, a famous destination during the stretch of the summer months is Baguio City, which makes it the summer capital of the Philippines as thousands seek to take refuge in the cool city. Experts say that Baguio is 8 degrees cooler than the lowland on the average and seldom goes beyond 26 degrees. In fact, the SM Mall in Baguio City is the only mall in the country that does not have an air conditioning facility.

Baguio City is in the province of Benguet in Northern Philippines, which is part of the Cordillera Administrative Region. It is about a six-hour travel from Manila on land. Its name comes from the Ibaloi (native language in Benguet region) word meaning "moss". Perhaps, because of its trees and vegetation. It is famous for vegetable and strawberry farms.

Historically, the development of Baguio City began in the early 1900’s during the American occupation of the Philippines. The American Governor Luke E. Wright commissioned the renowned urban planner Architect Daniel Hudson Burnham for the improvement of the city as a health resort for American soldiers and civilian employees, better known as the Burnham Plan.

The plan dramatically changed the entire mountain range and caused a rapid physical development. The plan had put together a road and a park system for a garden city that could accommodate about 25,000 to 30,000 people. The government that time enacted a charter authored by former Philippines Supreme Court Justice George A. Malcolm, that was in September 1, 1909, which supported the development plan and gave administrative autonomy to the city.

When the famous Kennon Road became open to traffic, almost immediately after the enactment of the charter, it prompted the progress of the mining industry up to mid 1930’s. It had made Baguio City the service and operations center for the rapidly growing industry which caused a fast-paced economic growth in the city.

The Second World War however, impeded all the development and almost left it in total destruction. However, soon after the war, developments proceeded rapidly.

Today, Baguio City has become a highly urbanized city known for its universities, businesses and tourism spots.

Images courtesy of:
2010 Google Map

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