Philippines A-Z: Baguio City

picture of dj smiling

Hello Everyone!

We finish our week with a trip to my favorite city in the entire Philippines. Baguio City- called the “City of Pines.”

OVERVIEW

picture of a map of the Philippines showing Baguio

Map of the Philippines showing Baguio

The name Baguio conjures, for both the international and domestic traveler, a highland retreat in the Grand Cordillera in Northern Luzon, with pine trees, crisp cold breezes and low verdant knolls and hillocks. Through the numerous decades Baguio has morphed from what was once a grassy marshland into one of the cleanest and greenest, most highly urbanized cities in the country. It has made its mark as a premiere tourist destination in the Northern part of the Philippines with its cool climate, foggy hills, panoramic views and lovely flowers. Being the ideal convergence zone of neighboring highland places, Baguio is the melting pot of different peoples and cultures and has boosted its ability to provide a center for education for its neighbors. Its rich culture and countless resources have lured numerous investments and business opportunities to the city.

HISTORY

The arrival of the Americans in the early 1900s spurred development in the City. The American Governor Luke E. Wright commissioned Architect Daniel H. Burnham, a prominent Urban Planner to develop a plan for a health resort where the American soldiers and civilian employees could find respite from the sweltering lowland heat. This plan, better known as the Burnham Plan greatly altered the original mountain settlement and provided the first physical framework plan for the City. It paved the way for rapid physical development, the undertones of which are still visible up this date.

picture of Baguio locals in native costumes

Baguio Locals in Native Costumes

The physical framework as embodied in the Burnham Plan integrates a road and park system into one. It envisioned evolving in a compact garden city for 25,000 to 30,000 people. Supporting this development plan was the enactment of a charter approved on September 1,1909 that provided administrative as well as managerial autonomy for the city. Soon after the city’s charter was enacted, scenic Kennon Road was opened to vehicular traffic. This triggered the mining boom in surrounding areas in the early to mid 1930’s. Baguio City was the service and operations center for the mining industry, and hence a direct beneficiary of the economic growth. The events of the Second World War stalled all development, leaving the city in total devastation. Fast placed development however ensued following the war years. Such development trends transformed the city into what it is today, a premier urban center north of Manila, performing a municipality of roles, as an educational, trade, tourism and administrative center.

GEOGRAPHY

Baguio City is approximately 250 kilometers north of Manila, situated in the Province of Benguet. The area of the city is 49 square kilometers enclosed in the perimeter of 30 kilometers. The developed portion of the city corresponds to the plateau that rises to an elevation of 1,400 meters. Most of it lies in the northern half of the city. The City is landlocked within the province of Benguet, thus bounding it on all sides by its different municipalities; on the North by the capital town of La Trinidad, on the East by Itogon and to the South and West by Tuba. With City Hall as reference point, it extends 8.2 kilometers from East to West and 7.2 kilometers from North to South. It has a perimeter of 30.98 kilometers. The City has twenty administrative districts among which its barangays are divided.

CLIMATE

Baguio is 8 degrees cooler on the average than any place in lowlands. When Manila sweats at 35 degrees centigrade or above, Baguio seldom exceeds 26 degrees centigrade at its warmest. Baguio is very wet during the Philippine rainy season, which is from June to October. It gets the biggest amount of rainfall in the country, twice the volume of rainfall in the country as compared to Manila. However from November to May, Baguio becomes a tropical paradise, a refreshing break from the hot and humid Philippine climate. Christmas season is when Baguio glows with the nippy winter air. In the summer month of March, April, May, Baguio lives up to its title as the “”Summer Capital of the Philippines when thousands of visitors from the lowlands and Manila take their annual exodus to the city to cool off. Casual clothing is recommended worn with jackets or sweaters in the late afternoons or evenings.

DEMOGRAPHICS

The city’s population as of May 2000 was placed at 250,000 persons. The projected population for the current year 2001 is 254,499 and is expected to further increase to reach 275,472 by 2005 and as little over the three hundred thousand mark, 303,540 by 2010. The city has a very young age structure as 65.5 percent of its total population is below thirty years old. Females comprise 51.3 percent of the population as against 48.7 percent for males. The household population comprises 98 percent of the total population or 245000 persons. With an average of 4.6 members per household, a total of 53,261 household are gleaned. During the peak of the annual tourist influx, particularly during the Lenten period, transients triple the population.

SOCIO-CULTURAL FEATURES

picture of downtown Baguio City on Sessions Road

Downtown Baguio City on Sessions Road

Ilocano is the predominant dialect in the city. The national language, Filipino, is of course spoken by almost everyone. English is widely spoken and understood. It is the medium of instruction in all public and private schools. Most newspaper and magazines are printed in this language and the English-speaking traveler would not encounter any communication problems. Religiosity is a basic socio-cultural characteristic that makes the Filipino character distinct and unique as manifested likewise by Baguio residents. Over the years, the number of religious sects in the City has been increasing. The three most dominant are Roman Catholics to which 80.4 percent of the population belong, followed by the Episcopalian Church with 5.8 percent and the Iglesia ni Cristo with 3.5 percent membership. The remaining 10.3 percent distributed among other religious sects.

EDUCATION

The present system of social services delivery in the city is relatively well established considering the prominence as the Center of Education in the North.

Summary of enrollment by level – The total enrollees for the city in the school year 2004-2005 were 136,393 students indicating a 2.82 percent increase. Of this total 38.8 percent were enrolled in the public school.

picture of St. Louis University in Baguio City

St. Louis University in Baguio City

Performance indicators: public elementary & secondary level – Participation rates from the elementary level posted a negative growth of 5.24 percent because they prefer to study in their respective provinces rather in Baguio although they were born here. On the other hand, participation rate for the secondary level slightly increased by 0.26 percent.

Teacher-public/classes ratio – Baguio City public elementary and secondary schools are well provided with both classrooms and teachers, as indicated by its teacher-pupil and teacher-classes ratios of 1:40 and 1:44 for the elementary level and 1:32 and 1:62 for the secondary level for school year 2003-2004.

Total enrollment by major courses – There was 5.49 percent decline/increase in tertiary enrollment during the period. Most of the enrollees are Medical and Allied where 38.95 percent enrolled, followed by Business Administration and Related with 13.34 percent. Trade, Craft and Industrial had the least with 0.008 percent.

Number of graduates by courses – Of the 65,914 enrollees in the city for academic year 2003-2004, only 8,871 students or 13.46 percent finished their chosen courses. Majority or 23.41 percent finish Medical and Allied courses; this is mainly due to the good chances of employment abroad. This also attests that local graduates are highly preferred and thus competitive in the labor market.

Non-formal education sector performance – The number of technical-vocational graduates which include school-based program (formal, non-degree and short term courses) posted a two digit decrease of 36.76 and 69.97 percent. However, community-based training program increased by 374.94 percent over the previous year. On the other hand, there were 15 participating companies and 417 graduates for entrepreneur based program.

For the number of persons assessed and certified, a total of 829 or 80.61 percent were assessed, out of which 474 or 132.35 percent were certified showing an increase over the previous year.

For walk-in clients, out of 16 who submitted themselves for assessing, 4 were certified which is down by 69.81 and 87.1 percent respectively.

In the conduct of entrepreneurship development training, 161 have successfully finished or 906.25 percent over the previous year.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Baguio City is now gaining prominence as a regional center for health services in the Cordilleras. The presence of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center as the only tertiary health facility in the area complimented by the modern specialized facilities and services of the private sector greatly enhances the city’s capability in the delivery of health services.

The presence of a well-placed and community based has prevented the incidence of epidemics and unwarranted breakouts for the past two decades. The health situation in the city can be described as satisfactory. The local health personnel through 8 District Health Centers, 8 Sub-District Health Centers and a Main Health Center ably sustain this. However, while the present systems are functional, foresight in programming available resources as well as expanding the coverage of health services becomes imperative to meet the needs of a rapidly increasing population. Growing concern is becoming evident in the areas of urban housing and sustaining public safety and protection. The city being a high migration area faces problems on squatting due to in-migration. The peace and order situation is generally satisfactory and under in public safety and protection proved to be very effective. This approach involves in different barangays in surveillance, intelligence and crime prevention activities. Premised on the concept of police-community partnership, the implementation of the system is assisted by the 8 police sub-stations or Bababayan Centers strategically located in various parts of the city.

The Office of the City Social Welfare and Development Officer served a total of 23,742 clients, 3.82 percent higher than last year. Children were the largest group served comprising 37.21 percent of the total; Followed by the Family Heads & Other Needy Adults (FHONA) with 36.30 percent. The third top clientele includes elderly representing 9.53 percent while the youth group comes in fourth with 7.80 percent share of the total clientele served. Temporary shelter and protective custody were provided to 614 individuals. Majority of the clients included children and stranded clients.

ENVIRONMENT

The City’s main attraction is still its natural bounties of cool climate, panoramic vistas, its pine forests and generally clean environs. Today, it still boasts of 5 forest reserves with a total area of 434.77 hectares. Three of these areas are watersheds that serve as sources of the City’s water supply.

picture of the Lion Head on Kennon Road, Baguio City

Lion Head on Kennon Road, Baguio City

Of the City’s total land area, only 467.5 hectares (8.1 percent) still have old growths of pine while 1,137.5 hectares (19.8 percent) have production pine stands and 122.5 hectares (2.1 hectares) are brush lands. The remaining area of 4,021.1905 hectares making up 70.0 percent of the total comprises the developed portion.

There are five major creeks/waterways that serve as a natural drains leading to the lowlands. These continue to serve as sources for irrigation of cultural lands along its banks. There are also nine major springs that continue to supply water in various areas of the city, mostly those that have not been reached by or cannot be served by the water system. The overall water consumption expanded by 3.05 percent over the previous year, contributing to thee increase is the presence of metered deep wells (private wells) wherein volume of production is being paid to Baguio Water District. Continuing efforts to conserve the environment through public and private sector partnerships are being embarked upon. The City has initiated and persistently implemented its solid and liquid waste management program. The Baguio Sewage Treatment Plant, the only one of its kind in the country, now operates at percent of its rated capacity. The city is currently implementing a citywide installation of secondary bilateral inlet pipes to enable majority of the city to gain access to the services of the treatment plant.

Solid Waste Management now covers 98percent of the total 128 barangays. Most of the City’s total households or 99 percent are served regularly. The average solid waste density per kilograms per cubic meter is 300. The volume of waste collected decreased by 0.31 percent. This is attributed to the proliferation of ambulant scavengers who roam around the City pulling out recyclable materials from piles of solid wastes before the regular collection. The facility is now operating at 103.97 percent rated capacity more than last year’s level of 93.32 percent. Its performance continue to improve with 90.04 and 91.11 percent reduction rate of biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand compared to the allowable standard of 85 percent.

The average Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) in micro gram per normal cubic meter is 200 in 2003 and 198 in 2004, taking into account the air quality of the surrounding areas of the Central Business Areas which are still within the fair to good condition since Baguio City has a good to fair air quality. The Ambient Air Quality (AAQ) Standard is pegged at 230 TSP.

PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE AND UTILITIES

The city is accessible through three (3) national roads namely: Quirino Highway (Naguilian Road), Kennon Road and Marcos Highway. Air travel is also available through its airport located at Loakan Barangay. Flights are available daily through the Asian Spirit and Air Philippines. The city has a road network of 315.867 kilometers for its circulation system. Majority or 90 percent of these are paved with either concrete or asphalt. Communication facilities are adequate. These include print, broadcast, postal and telephone services operated by the government as well as the private sector. All the 129 barangays are energized thru a system managed by the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO), through only 95 percent of the city’s total households are powered, but service area expansion is ongoing.

There was also a 4.14 percent growth in the over-all number of concessionaires served due to the increase in industrial because of the new application of service connections of Baguio Ice Plant and BCI Lime Kiln. However, a 3.29 percent was noted for military.

Comments

  1. avatar Deana Fiedtkou says:

    I don’t agree with everything in this blog post, but you do make some very good points. Im very interested in this topic and I myself do alot of research as well. Either way it was a well thoughtout and nice read so I figured I would leave you a comment. Feel free to check out my website sometime and let me know what you think.

  2. Thanks for your visit Deana and your comments. Have you ever visited Baguio? Your Friend, DJ

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