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Your guide to food, places, experiences

Smart digital tools to boost Antique tourism, communication efforts

With its cerulean waters surrounding stretches of white sandbars, majestic nature trails harboring rare flower species, and sites honoring a not too distant historical event, Antique has piqued the interest…

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Anini-y

There is a simple explanation as to why this town is called Anini-y. Back when it was newly settled in the mid-15th century, people saw that the place was irrigated…

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Experience Antique, where mountains meet sea

Welcome to Antique! The homeland of the Antiqueños is a rustic idyll of pristine islands, hot and cold springs, ancient churches and ruins, scenic beaches, and wooded mountain trails. It…

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Taiwan Guide: Places, food, experiences in the ‘beautiful island’

Taiwan wasn’t high in my list of must-visit places, but two trips later and it had become one of my favorite destinations. The capital Taipei was bustling without being chaotic,…

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Dapitan celebrates Kinabayo Festival

Street dancing, a music festival, and a motocross with live band are just among the activities lined up by the Dapitan City Government for the Kinabayo Festival 2017. Held annually…

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App offers tips, guide to Baguio visitors

People travelling to Baguio for the annual Panagbenga festivities now have a mobile app to turn to for quick answers to questions like where to stay, what to eat and…

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People travelling to Baguio for the annual Panagbenga festivities now have a mobile app to turn to for quick answers to questions like where to stay, what to eat and how to get around during the much anticipated flower festival.

Developed by Cebu-based startup InnoPub Media in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), the Baguio Guide app is a reliable and handy tool, especially for first timers in Baguio City.

“With the Baguio Guide app, people can plan ahead their itinerary, accommodation and travel plans, and other activities they want to do in Baguio. It’s like a virtual tour guide that can help them maximize their stay in Baguio as they participate in the flower festival,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto.

Baguio Guide

Developed by Cebu-based startup InnoPub Media in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc., the Baguio Guide app is a reliable and handy tool, especially for first timers in Baguio City.

Must-try, must-visit

Apart from the section about the Panagbenga festival, the app also features helpful information about the city. Articles on must-try food and must-visit places in Baguio, as well as the Department of Tourism-accredited tour guides and tour operators are also listed in the guide.

One interesting feature of the app is the “tap to call” feature allowing users to call phone numbers in the app with just a click. It has a directory of important contact numbers of hospitals, emergency units, and police stations.

The app also provides location data. Some places featured in the guide are GPS-tagged with a “check location” link. With a single tap, the app will suggest routes and directions to the desired destinations via the GPS guide system of the users’ devices.

“The Baguio Guide is a useful resource to tourists because it is on a device that people take with them wherever they go: the phone,” said InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag. InnoPub recently released a new version of the guide for Android users.

Panagbenga livestreaming

Smart, in partnership with Sun.Star Baguio, will also make available the live streaming of Panagbenga activities through the Baguio Guide app, from Feb. 28 to March 1.

The Baguio Guide app may be downloaded for free at Google Play Store and Windows Store.

The development of tourism e-guides is part of Smart’s digital inclusion advocacy, which aims to include more Filipinos in the digital conversation by making information available and accessible through the use of mobile and web technologies.

Aside from Baguio Guide, Smart and InnoPub also developed tourism guide apps for Iloilo City, Sta. Barbara (a town in Iloilo), Cebu City and Cebu municipalities namely: Samboan, Boljoon, Carcar, and Argao. Smart and InnoPub also developed the Sinulog Guide last year. Its 2015 version released last month generated around 2,500 downloads, and positive feedback from users.

In addition to the apps, Smart and InnoPub also deploy interactive tourism markers that, when scanned or tapped with a phone, trigger the download of tourism and historical information about that certain place or structure. The interactive markers are currently installed in various heritage and tourist spots in Baguio, Cebu and Iloilo.

DOWNLOAD BAGUIO GUIDE

Baguio GuideGet a guide to Baguio City in your phone or tablet by downloading our free Baguio Guide from the Google Play Store or Windows Phone Store. The app is a comprehensive guide to the Philippines’ summer capital, listing things to do and places to stay or go to. It also contains a portable directory of important contact numbers and DOT-accredited establishments.

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Fantasyland attracts visitors to Dapitan

Dapitan is a relatively small city in the province of Zamboanga del Norte but its amusement park Fantasyland can rival any of the big ones in the Philippines. Fantasyland is…

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Dapitan is a relatively small city in the province of Zamboanga del Norte but its amusement park Fantasyland can rival any of the big ones in the Philippines. Fantasyland is inside a three-hectare commercial complex named Gloria de Dapitan and located within the Dapitan City center, particularly along Sunset Boulevard.

Gloria de Dapitan Fantasyland

The entrance to the Gloria de Dapitan Fantasyland is like that of a castle, with its high walls, towers, and cone spires.

Its version of the roller coaster called Zimmerman is an open carriage ride on a track that rises, plunges, hurtles sideways, and goes upside down.

Although the ride ticket entitles guests to two circuits, I managed to handle only one round.

Fantasyland rides

There are tamer rides for the children and the faint-hearted like the merry-go-round, bumper cars, go karts, water adventure, and ferris wheel.

Fantasyland rides

A space shuttle, roller coaster, and ferris wheel are among Fantasyland’s amusement rides.

We were able to avail ourselves of a promo during our visit in April 2014 and our P500 ticket came bundled with entrances to five Fantasy Land attractions plus a zipline ride at the Dakak Park and Beach Resort.

The Dapitan City amusement park also has 5D theater where you get to experience the thrill of harrowing rides while sitting on comfortable seats, tummy churning swing called Spanish Galleon, 100-meter Sky Drop, twisting and turning Python Coaster, and a Horror House.

Nessi Coaster

The Nessi Coaster is a tamer version of Fantasyland’s Zimmerman.

There are also fantasy characters like dwarves, elves, storybook prince and princess, among others.

Horror house

The horror house is a scary tour of a dark narrow twisting labyrinth decorated with coffins, gravestones, cobwebs, evil-looking dolls, bloodied furniture, hanging bodies complete with actors playing classic horror roles of ghosts, vampires, zombies, and other monsters.

Horror House

Fantasyland’s horror house is not for the faint of heart.

There is a storyline to the tour. One of the characters guides guests by acting as someone asking for help in looking for her sister who is lost inside the house.

Shortly before park closing time, local dancers perform acrobatic feats on stage to entertain visitors.

Other tourist sites nearby: Don’t miss the Punto del Embarcado de Rizal, which is where Jose Rizal first set foot in Dapitan when he was brought there to serve his four-year exile, the public plaza he helped design and the relief map of Mindanao he created as teaching aid, and the Spanish period St. James the Greater Church.

Other Dapitan attractions:

* Rizal Shrine, a 16-hectare estate that used to belong to national hero Jose Rizal
* Dapitan River Cruise
* Dakak Park and Beach Resort

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16 places you should visit in Baguio

Its mountainous terrain and strategic location within the Cordillera mountain range give Baguio City the advantages of a cool temperature and scenic views. The city has an abundance of forest…

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Its mountainous terrain and strategic location within the Cordillera mountain range give Baguio City the advantages of a cool temperature and scenic views.

The city has an abundance of forest reserves, parks, and pine trees, and the high elevation provides many places – from the city center to the outskirts – with sweeping vistas.

Aside from its unique mix of natural and historical attractions, a combination of cultures that incorporates Spanish, American, and native Ibaloi and Cordilleran tribal influences gives the city a unique socio-cultural flavor.

As a retail and urban hub, Baguio boasts of an economic zone and a technology enclave as well as a number of stores carrying imported and top brands.

Co-existing with these establishments are souvenir and other shops selling goods distinctly Baguio such as strawberry products, knitted wear, woodcraft, and silver jewelries.

Baguio center attractions

Within the Baguio central business district are several spots identified as tourist draws by the City Government. They are of walking distance from many Baguio accommodation establishments and include parks, shopping areas, and historical monuments.

1. City Hall building

Baguio City Hall

The Baguio City Hall building was built in 1949-1950.

Your tour within the city center should start at City Hall. This current building, constructed in 1949-1950, replaced the one built in 1910 during the term of E.W. Reynolds, first city mayor, hat was destroyed during World War II in 1945.

To get more details about this building, such as how to get there or its GPS coordinates, and the other sites in the list, download the Baguio Guide from the Google Play Store.

2. Burnham Park

Burnham Park

Man-made lake at Burnham Park.

One of the interesting nature spots in Baguio is an urban park named after the American architect, Daniel H. Burnham, who laid plans for the city in the 1900’s. The park is a sprawling green space encompassing 32 hectares right in the city center. It is just a few minutes walk from City Hall.

The Baguio Guide app provides a list of the different activities you can do in Burnham Park.

3. Baguio Cathedral

Baguio Cathedral

The Baguio Cathedral is one of the most photographed buildings in the city.

Standing on a hill originally referred to as “Kampo” by the native Ibalois, the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral depicts Gothic architectural influences in its twin spires, stained glass, and rose windows.

The structure also has a distinctive pink color. It was built in phases starting in 1920 not by the Spaniards by a Catholic Mission established by missionaries of the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (CICM) from Belgium in 1907.

4. Baguio City Public Market

Baguio public market

Strawberries are sold cheaply and in abundance at the Abanao Market, also known as the Baguio City Public Market.

Baguio is known for its strawberries and in no other area in the city is this fruit sold cheaply and in abundance than in the public market.

Also called Abanao Market, it is located at the foot of Session Road along Magsaysay Avenue.

Other tourist draws

Trips to other attractions take more time because they’re located some distance from the city’s nucleus. Such trips need to be planned and the route plotted ahead of time especially since Baguio has a lot of one way streets.

5. Baguio Botanical Garden

Baguio Botanical Garden

The Baguio Botanical Garden features a wide variety of plants.

Take a stroll along the winding trails and stone steps of the Baguio Botanical Garden. It has a wide range of flowering, herbal, and decorative plants interspersed with pine trees. Some plants are even for sale.

The garden’s main entrance is along Leonard Wood Road, between the Teacher’s Camp and Pacdal Circle. It had been in the past been called Igorot Village, Imelda Park, and Centennial Park. Within the huge park are relics from its Igorot Village days, such as tribal huts and sculptures.

There are pocket gardens within the park dedicated to Baguio’s sister cities. There is a network of Japanese tunnels as well. The Baguio Botanical Garden is just a kilometer away from the city center.

6. Mines View Park

Mines View Park

Mines View Park is a top tourist attraction in Baguio,

No other spot encapsulates the city’s breathtaking scenery better than Mines View Park.

The park, located in the outskirts of Baguio, offers a wide and clear view of Benguet’s mountain ranges where gold, silver, and other ores were once mined, hence its name.

Souvenir items and other Baguio products are sold in the area. Silver jewelry, which the city is known for, is sold at the Ibay’s and Pilak branches in Mines View.

7. Camp John Hay

camp john hay

The world-class golf course at Camp John Hay.

Camp John Hay has often been referred to as the “little Baguio” with Baguio City. The urban design for Baguio created by American architect Daniel H. Burnham in the 1900’s was for a community with a population expected to reach but not breach 25,000.

Some 100 years later, the city’s population has grown to over 10 times more. There are more people, houses, and cars on the road.

Camp John Hay offers a picture of Baguio City as it used to be. More information about Camp John Hay and the things you shouldn’t miss in the mountain resort can be found at the Baguio Guide mobile app that’s offered for free download in the Google Play Store.

8. Wright Park

Visitors may ride any  of the horses at Wright Park.

Visitors may ride any of the horses at Wright Park.

A favorite of kids and adults alike in Baguio is Wright Park where an organization of pony boys offers horseback rides. It is located northeast of the city center.

From the horseback riding area, a stone stairway leads to the “Pool of the Pines,” a quiet stretch with a 100-meter long shallow and narrow pool lined on both sides by Baguio’s towering pines.

The park is named after Luke Edward Wright, American governor-general of the Philippines (1904-1906).

9. The Mansion

Built in 1908, The Mansion on Leonard Wood Road housed a succession of American governor-generals. It is located just across Wright Park.

It is now utilized as the official residence of the Philippine President in the summer capital. The Baguio Guide app contains more information about this Baguio attraction such as where they got the inspiration for its wrought iron gates.

10. Philippine Military Academy

PMA Baguio

War relics and memorabilia displayed at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) grounds.

This premier military institution has its beginnings in Spanish colonial times. Established in the 19th century, it became the venue for the training for sons of soldiers and those aspiring for higher military positions.

Don’t forget to check out the Philippine Military Academy museum, which displays memorabilia related to the development of the academy. PMA allows visitors a peek into a typical cadet room at the museum.

11. Tam-Awan Village

Tam-awan Village

Tam-awan Village features Tribal icons and dwelling huts.

Set on a rolling slope along Lt. G. Tacay Road, Tam-Awan Village promotes and preserves tribal and indigenous cultures and practices.

It offers accommodations in authentic dwelling places of Benguet’s different tribes. The village features seven Ifugao and two Kalinga huts made of indigenous materials.

Following the trail within the village’s mountainous terrain will lead guests to great views of the surrounding environs. The West Philippine Sea sunset, on a clear day, may be viewed from the area.

Lodging and entrance fees provided in the free Baguio Guide mobile app that’s available for download at the Google Play Store.

12. BenCab Museum

National artist Benedicto Cabrera displays his collection of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture at the BenCab Museum.

Located along Km. 6 Asin Road, Cabrera’s museum also features works of rising contemporary artists.

An interesting albeit mature spot in the museum is the Erotica Gallery. Drawings, paintings, sculpture, and other artworks by various artists with an erotic subject or theme are displayed there.

13. Ifugao Wood Carvers Village

The way to BenCab museum is dotted with woodcarving shops. The area is known as the Ifugao Wood Carvers Village. Beautiful, hand-carved products are sold at low prices in the shops.

14. Lourdes Grotto

Lourdes Grotto

The uphill way to the shrine of the Lady of Lourdes.

A shrine to the Lady of the Lourdes is located close to the BenCab Museum. The Our Lady of the Lourdes Grotto is accessible through the Dominican Hill Road and pilgrims need to climb 252 steps to reach it.

Since it is located on a high elevation, the shrine also offers fantastic views of the mountainsides.

15. The Prayer Mountain and Tourism Center (Dominican Hill)

Diplomat Hotel

Once a monastery, the Diplomat Hotel now lay abandoned and in ruins.

When the Americans were encouraging people to come to Baguio, the councils of the Province of the Dominican Order voted to construct a monastery on a 17-hectare property they had acquired in the city.

The monastery was later turned into the Diplomat Hotel that is now abandoned and in ruins on Dominican Hill. Residents even say it’s haunted.

16. Bell Church

Located on the border of Baguio City and La Trinidad Valley, this cluster of temples called Bell Church features oriental architecture, ornate gateway, dragon ornaments, and Buddha-guarded windows. It sits atop a hill. The priest in the Bell Temple preaches a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity.

Aside from a list of top places to visit, the Baguio Guide mobile app that is offered for free download at the Google Play Store also contains information on Baguio hotels, restaurants, and other key information.

BAGUIO GUIDE

baguio-guide
Get a guide to Baguio City in your phone or tablet by downloading our free Baguio Guide from the Google Play Store or Windows Phone Store. The app is a comprehensive guide to the Philippines’ summer capital, listing things to do and places to stay or go to. It also contains a portable directory of important contact numbers and DOT-accredited establishments.

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Panagbenga Festival pays tribute to beautiful blooms, unites diverse Baguio

Taking inspiration from Pasadena’s “The Rose Parade,” Baguio City’s Panagbenga Festival is held not in honor of some saint or legend but pays tribute to the city’s beautiful blooms. A…

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Taking inspiration from Pasadena’s “The Rose Parade,” Baguio City’s Panagbenga Festival is held not in honor of some saint or legend but pays tribute to the city’s beautiful blooms.

A historian and museum curator, Ike Picpican, named the festival Panagbenga, a word in the local Kankanaey dialect that refers to a season of blossoming.

Panagbenga Festival

Panagbenga Festival participants perform the warrior’s dance of the ethnic Ifugao tribe.(Creative Commons photo by Miguel Isidro Photography)

For a city that has been through so much, the Panagbenga takes on a special significance as it also means the blooming of an idea or vision for hope, revival, unity, and growth.

Panagbenga Festival 2015 schedule of activities

Father of Panagbenga

Baguio’s crowd-drawing flower festival was conceptualized in 1995 by a man they now call the Father of Panagbenga, Atty. Damaso Bangaoet Jr.

The city was still reeling from a killer quake that left it in rubbles in 1990. The Panagbenga Festival gave people hope for a brighter future.

A tiger float made of flowers was one of the Grand Float Parade entries during the Panagbenga Festival 2010. (Creative Commons photo by Adel Mendoza)

A tiger float made of flowers was one of the Grand Float Parade entries during the Panagbenga Festival 2010. (Creative Commons photo by Adel Mendoza)

Bangaoet, who was then the head of the John Hay-Poro Point Development Corporation (JPDC), presented his idea to the board of directors and it was immediately approved. JPDC allocated funds to help bring it about.

Sunflower emblem

Like its wild sunflower emblem, the Panagbenga Festival continues to blossom year after year.

The people of Baguio and visitors to the summer capital took to the flower-inspired festival as it doesn’t trample on cultural practices or beliefs and divide tribes.

What the celebration does is promote local culture and unite a Baguio of diverse ethnic backgrounds behind a festival it can consider its own.

Bangaoet cooked up the festival to draw more tourists to Baguio on a February, which is considered a lean season for travel.

Festival highlights

The Panagbenga Festival has grown to become one of Baguio’s biggest tourism attractions some 20 years since it was first conceptualized.

One of the highlights of the month-long celebration is the Floral Parade, which happens on a seven-kilometer stretch of street and involves groups of dancers garbed in flowery costumes performing the Bendian dance.

The biggest draw of the Panagbenga Festival, however, is the Grand Float Parade. During this event, Baguio highlights its artistry in the flower float creations that glide through the streets.

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Panagbenga 2015 Schedule of Activities

The Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, now on its 20th year, pays tribute to the city’s beautiful blooms. Although it’s a month-long celebration, the flower festival’s highlights include the Grand…

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The Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, now on its 20th year, pays tribute to the city’s beautiful blooms.

Although it’s a month-long celebration, the flower festival’s highlights include the Grand Street Dancing Parade and the Grand Float Parade.

One of the groups that performed in the Grand Street Dancing Parade, one of the highlights of Baguio City's Panagbenga Festival,  in past celebrations. (Photo taken from the Baguio City Government website)

One of the groups that performed in the Grand Street Dancing Parade, a highlight of the Baguio City Panagbenga Festival, in a past celebration. (Photo taken from the Baguio City Government website)

The street dancing parade happens on a seven-kilometer stretch of street and involves performers garbed in colorful costumes decorated with flowers performing the Bendian dance.

In the Grand Float Parade, Baguio highlights its artistry in the flower float creations that glide through the streets.

The Panagbenga Festival 2015 theme is “Across Twenty Years of Blossoming Together”.

Panagbenga Festival highlights

Grand Street Dancing Parade
February 28
Locations: Panagbenga Park, Session Road, Harrison Road, Athletic Bowl

Grand Float Parade
March 1
Locations: DILG, Session Road, Harrison Road, Athletic Bowl

Panagbenga 2015 schedule

Here’s the fully Panagbenga Festival 2015 schedule of activities:

February 1, 2015

* Opening Ceremonies and Street Dancing Parade Competition
(Drum and Lyre Dance Competition – Elementary Division)
Locations: Panagbenga Park, Session Road, Harrison Road, Baguio Athletic Bowl

* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

February 2 – 14, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

February 15, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Handong ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio
Location: Melvin Jones

* Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom
Location: Melvin Jones

* Panagbenga 2015 Kite-Flying Challenge
Location: Melvin Jones

* Panagbenga Variety Show
Location: Melvin Jones

* Fireworks Display
Location: Melvin Jones

February 16 – 18, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

February 19, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Chinese Spring Festival
Location: City-wide

February 19 – 22, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* PMA Grand Alumni Home Coming
Location: Philippine Military Academy, Loakan Road

February 23 – 27, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Floral Arrangement Competition and School-based Landscaping Competition (Judging)
Location: Elementary and High schools in Baguio City

February 28, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Grand Street Dancing Parade
Locations: Panagbenga Park, Session Road, Harrison Road, Athletic Bowl

* Sponsors’ and Exhibitors’ Day
Location: Athletic Bowl

March 1 , 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Grand Float Parade
Locations: DILG, Session Road, Harrison Road, Athletic Bowl

* Sponsors’and Exhibitors’ Day
Location: Athletic Bowl

* Session Road in Bloom
Location: Session Road

March 2 – 6, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Session Road in Bloom
Location: Session Road

March 7, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Session Road in Bloom
Location: Session Road

* Pony Boys’ Day
Location: Athletic Bowl

March 8, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Session Road in Bloom
Location: Session Road

* Panagbenga Closing Ceremonies and Grand Fireworks Display
Locations: Athletic Bowl and various areas in Baguio’s (Central Business District) CBD

Panagbenga 2015 Schedule of Activities
Source: Baguio City official website

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Top 10 places to visit in Albay

From Mayon Volcano with its near perfect cone to white, golden and black sand beaches, waterfalls and caves, Spanish period churches and ancestral houses, Albay is home to scenic spots…

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From Mayon Volcano with its near perfect cone to white, golden and black sand beaches, waterfalls and caves, Spanish period churches and ancestral houses, Albay is home to scenic spots and majestic structures.

The province is a complete destination for travellers who are after leisure, adventure, and new experiences.

With all that Albay has to offer guests and tourists, the Provincial Government under the leadership of Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda and Vice Gov. Harold Ong Imperial has made tourism one of its priority programs.

Daraga Church Albay

A view of Mayon Volcano from Our Lady of the Gate Parish Church in Daraga.

Albay attractions, whether natural or built wonders, are easily accessible by private or public transport.
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Baguio, city with cool climes and fabulous views

Baguio City’s cool climate and wide vistas make it popular with local and foreign visitors, especially during days when the temperature in low lying areas climb up to over 30 degrees C….

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Baguio City’s cool climate and wide vistas make it popular with local and foreign visitors, especially during days when the temperature in low lying areas climb up to over 30 degrees C.

In hot, tropical Philippines, the city’s cooler than average temperature is a novelty and earned it the title of “summer capital” begining in 1903.

Baguio, which lies on a plateau 5,000 feet above sea level , is also blessed with sweeping views of the Cordillera mountain range in northern Luzon.

Baguio City Hall

Constructed in 1949-1950, the Baguio City Hall replaced a previous structure built in 1910 during the term of E.W. Reynolds, first city mayor. It was destroyed during World War II in 1945.

A mountainous terrain provides Baguio with natural tourist attractions like forests and watersheds as well as scenic mountain ranges.

One thing closely associated with Baguio is the Pinus Insularis (Benguet Pine), and the abundance of these trees in the area earned it the “City of Pines” label. Baguio is part of the Province of Benguet.

Beginnings

From its beginnings as a vast grassland, a grazing area for hundreds of herds of cattle, Baguio has transformed into an urban center with a technology hub, high-end hotels, and retail facilities for top imported and local brands.

City of Pines

Aside from the summer capital, Baguio is also called the “City of Pines” due to the abundance of these trees in the area.

In Spanish records, the very first mention of Baguio identify it as one of 31 rancherias, a minor rancheria of 20 houses, established by Spanish Commandante Guillermo D. Galvey in the late 19th century.

Baguio was a minor rancheria of the Commandancia put up by Galvey in a valley in Benguet in 1864. He named it La Trinidad after his wife, Trinidad de Galvey, Baguio City records showed.

The city’s early name was Kafagway and this later became Baguio, from the native word “Bag-iw” meaning moss.

When the Americans took over from the Spaniards, they established the first provincial government in Benguet and appointed a Canadian journalist, Hubert Phelps Whitmarsh, as governor.

American city

In Baguio, among the very first things one notices are the foreign names, American in particular, of parks, streets, and other sites. Other memorabilias of that era include American colonial buildings and 50’s-themed diners within the city center.

Lion's Head, Kennon Road

You know you’re near Baguio City when you pass by the Lion’s Head along Kennon Road. This monument is sculpted from natural rock formation, according to a marker put up by the Lion’s Club of Baguio.

This is because the Americans, when they first took possession of the Philippines after the Spanish-American war, put a premium on Baguio’s development because of its refreshing climate.

It was a renowned American architect, Daniel H. Burnham, who prepared the urban design for Baguio in the early 1900s, said its City Tourism Office. Burnham was tasked to create an urban plan for the city by William Cameron Forbes, who was appointed to the Philippine Commission in 1904. This plan was presented to then Secretary of War William Howard Taft who immediately approved it.

Baguio was declared the country’s “Summer Capital” on June 1, 1903 by the Philippine Commission. The declaration allowed the Americans to set aside funds for the construction of basic infrastructure in the city and undertake improvements to the Benguet Road.

The road, renamed Kennon Road after the engineer (Col. Lyman W. Kennon) who was instrumental in its completion, was started in 1901 and completed in 1905.

With the Philippine Commission further adopting Act 1963 in 1909 that transformed it into a chartered city, Baguio by 1913 had the amenities of a typical 20th century American city.

Tourism mecca

After it was reduced to rubble during World War II, there was tremendous effort to rebuild the city based on the Burnham plan. This was laid to waste during the killer earthquake of 1990.

Baguio’s spirit of community allowed it to reclaim its position as the country’s summer capital and position itself as the tourism mecca of the north.

As an urban center and the only city in the Cordillera, Baguio has also become the gateway to the Cordilleras and other wonders in Northern Luzon.

The city’s population is pegged at 318,676 based on the 2010 census. It has a very high literacy rate of 98 percent, according to the tourism office.

Baguio’s socio-cultural scene is enriched by a variety of ethno-linguistic groups that include the Ibalois, considered the original settlers, together with other Cordilleran groups such as the Bontocs, Kalingas, Ifugaos, and Kankanais and together they comprise about 10 percent of the population.

Tourism continues to flourish in the city, which now hosts state of the art telecommunication facilities, a wide range of accommodation types, and various transport services including air travel, bus lines, and other public utility vehicles.

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Travelbee Dapitan offers affordable, comfortable accommodations

If you ever find yourself looking for a place to stay in historic Dapitan City, check out the Travelbee Heritage Inn. Travelbee Dapitan is located on the corner of Maria Clara and…

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If you ever find yourself looking for a place to stay in historic Dapitan City, check out the Travelbee Heritage Inn.

Travelbee Dapitan is located on the corner of Maria Clara and Mi Retiro streets, names taken from national hero Jose Rizal’s literary works in tribute to his life in exile in the city, and built upon what was once the ancestral home of the Sagario clan.

travelbee dapitan

Travelbee Heritage Inn in Dapitan City

The inn is affordable with clean and comfortable rooms and only 15 minutes from the airport in the neighboring city of Dipolog.

Balay na bato

An old picture of the Travelbee Heritage Inn displayed on the lobby wall shows the house was a typical balay na bato of a design common among the affluent class in Spanish colonial times.

The ground floor was made of cut stone slabs and used as bodega or warehouse while the second level was fashioned from hardwood and served as the family’s living quarters.

balay na bato

Travelbee Dapitan was once a typical balay na bato during Spanish colonial times.

When the house was turned into an inn, the owners retained the tugas (hardwood) posts of the Sagario home.

Travelbee Dapitan rates

The Travelbee inn is quite close to Dapitan City attractions, such as the Spanish period St. James the Greater Church, Rizal’s relief map of Mindanao, Fantasyland and Leisure Park in the Gloria de Dapitan complex, and 16-hectare Rizal Shrine in Barangay Talisay.

Room rates at Travelbee Dapitan are reasonable, going down to as low as P600 for economy (good for four persons) and standard (good for two persons) rooms.

travelbee inn

Travelbee retains the tugas or hardwood posts of the original house.

Deluxe accommodations, which are large and airy rooms with two bathrooms, only cost P1,200.

Interested in booking a room? Contact the inn by landline at (065) 223-6480, email at [email protected], or www.facebook.com/TravelBeeHeritageInn.

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Baguio Cathedral: place of worship, refuge

One of the more durable 20th century structures in the Philippine summer capital, the Baguio Cathedral survived the carpet bombings by Allied Forces in 1945 and the killer earthquake of…

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One of the more durable 20th century structures in the Philippine summer capital, the Baguio Cathedral survived the carpet bombings by Allied Forces in 1945 and the killer earthquake of 1990.

This church is the very first in the world dedicated to Our Lady of Atonement, according to the Archdiocese of Baguio, citing an entry in the February 1939 issue of a Catholic publication named “The Lamp.”

Baguio Cathedral

The Baguio Cathedral survived the carpet bombings by Allied Forces in 1945 and the killer earthquake of 1990. (Photo by Max Limpag)

With its pink color and Gothic-influenced twin spires and rose windows, the cathedral is a popular tourist attraction in Baguio City.

This church of Baguio is one of a few edifices of worship not built by the Spaniards. Rather, Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (CICM) missionaries who arrived in Baguio from Belgium in 1907 worked towards the Baguio Cathedral’s construction by appealing for donations from local and international donors.

Constructed in phases

About 25 Igorot carpenters under the supervision of Fr. Florimund Carlu, first rector (1913-1927) of the Baguio mission, helped complete the structure in 1924 sans its spiral towers. They were assisted by architect and engineer priest Rev. Fr. Leo Vendelmans as well Fr. Adolph Cansse.

Work on the church happened in phases, beginning in 1920 and ending in 1936 when it was finally consecrated.

People sought refuge in the Baguio Cathedral when the city was bombed by Americans in 1945 to drive out invading Japanese forces.

It was damaged during the July 16, 1990 earthquake that reduced Baguio to rubble and had to undergo repairs.

Location: Stands on a hill originally named “Kampo” by the native Ibalois but renamed Mount Mary by the CICM missionaries. It is easily accessible from Session Road, one of Baguio City’s main thoroughfares.

Nearby attractions: Within walking distance are Session Road, Abanao Market, and Burnham Park.

BAGUIO GUIDE

baguio-guide
Get a guide to Baguio City in your phone or tablet by downloading our free Baguio Guide from the Google Play Store or Windows Phone Store. The app is a comprehensive guide to the Philippines’ summer capital, listing things to do and places to stay or go to. It also contains a portable directory of important contact numbers and DOT-accredited establishments.

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