Baguio City is one of the most sought after tourist destination in the Philippines. Located in the Northern part of the country in the region of Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), it is unique for its cool climate. It is dubbed as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, but did you know that it wasn’t always like that? During the Spanish era, what we know now as Baguio is a mountainous area where Ibalois and Kankanaeys live. The Spaniards led several groups in the mountains to conquer the people, however, most attempts failed. It was during the American period that place was named as Baguio derived from the Ibaloi word "bag-iw." Bag-iw refers to a moss that can be found everywhere during that time. It was also in this period that Baguio became the vacation place for American military. Those wounded from the war were placed in Baguio to recuperate. The cold climate of Baguio was also proven to help heal the wounded and homesick soldiers as it mimics America's climate. The US government would also come up in Baguio during summer when the heat in the lowland is unbearable.
The city was patterned after America's Washington D.C. by the American urban planner Daniel Burnham. Some even calls Baguio as the "Little America." Because of the strong US force residing in Baguio at that time, it wasn’t spared from the wraths of the war. Baguio experienced carpet-bombings that destroyed most of the city. After the war, it was restored again and most of its restorations remains until today.
Baguio is also famous for being the educational center of Northern Luzon. It houses some of the most prestigious universities like University of the Philippines, University of Cordillera, University of Baguio, and Saint Louis University. Every year, hundreds and thousands of incoming college students come up in Baguio to enter the universities. Baguio serves as the second home for these students. This proves how the people and the city alike hospitably embraces the guests and selflessly shares the wonders of their city to lowlanders.
Baguio City is a place where culture continuously clashes. It is not just a place where the Burnham Park is located or the Mansion or the Wright Park. More than becoming a tourist destination, Baguio should be respected as a city that continuously traverses the challenges of a changing community.
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