4 Proofs Why Baguio is a UNESCO Creative City for Crafts and Folk Arts
October had ended for Baguio with a bang. No, it is not because of the horror-themed parades that took place on Session Road or anything related to Halloween. The Philippines is honored to have Baguio as the first among its cities to become a Creative City as bestowed by UNESCO.
The Creative Cities is Network initiated by UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova to promote innovation and arts on a global scale as instruments for a sustainable urban development. They started the project since 2004 featuring seven categories: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music.
Along with some of the cities like Barcelos (Portugal), Cairo (Egypt), Chiang Mai, (Thailand), Tunis (Tunisia) in the same category, Baguio was renowned for Crafts and Folk Arts
Such recognition is not surprising though as Baguio City has been very active in preserving the indigenous culture and innovating arts for tourism. Aside from its breathtaking landscapes and cool climate, Baguio continuously elevates its industry assets through crafts and folk arts.
Sculpture of tribesmen
Baguio has been the grand hall for the six tribes of Cordillera: Ibaloi, Kalinga, Ifugao, Bontoc, Isneg, and Kankanaey. The iconic statues of locals in the traditional costume consisting of bahag and putong can be seen in many parts of the city such as in the Igorot Garden and Igorot Stairs. These represent the pride and bravery of the natives.
Who would not notice the stalls of wooden crafts that lined around famous landmarks and roads? It is a habit of tourists to take selfies on the parks and take souvenirs home. Some of the Cordillera-themed articles being sold were indigenous weavings, wooden sculptures, house decoration, bamboo flutes, key chains, fridge magnet.
Two of the most popular souvenirs have dark humor: the ashtray with a man’s genitalia and the barrel man whose secret brings a fit of laughter.
Nooks with Cordilleran vibes
Plaid tapestry? Wooden idols? Indigenous paintings? Thatched roof? A house made of these gives an ambiance that is truly Cordilleran. You will love the vibe that is unique and new.
VOCAS, shortened for Victor Oteyza Community Art Space, can be found at the top of the La Azotea. More known as the Oh My Gulay restaurant that serves vegetarian food, the interior is an infusion of an art hub, zen garden, and a tiny village.
Ili-Likha Artist’s Village is a larger version of VOCAS, having several floors built around overgrown trees with scrap materials and wooden structures. Passers-by usually miss this art sanctuary because of its humble appearance that reflects Baguio nature and culture. It was created by a film director and writer, Eric de Guia, also known as Kidlat Tahimik.
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Ili-Likha is also a food hub that serves delicious and healthy cuisines.
BenCab Museum features modern and Cordilleran artworks of the National Artist Benjamin Cabrera.
Quintessentially Cordilleran Tourist Spot
If you want to have the full experience of Cordilleran life, better go to Tam-Awan Village. Its name means “vantage point” as the village offers a short hiking trail wherein the top gives a view of the low-lying areas of La Union Province and the Gulf of Lingayen in the western part of Baguio.
It also features different types of houses from various tribes and each can be rented for you take a rest in the midst of the peaceful paradise called as the Garden in the Sky.