Baguio City is known as the “City of Pines”, “City of Flowers”, and more prominently as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines”. It is situated in the southwest portion of the Cordillera Central mountain range in northern Luzon and is 1,524 meters high. It has a year-round temperature of 15-26 degrees Celsius and can drop to a chilly 7-8 degrees Celsius from December to February. Like any other provinces in the country, the city follows the summer and rainy seasons. It gets warm during summers but the city seldom experiences a temperature that is beyond 26 degrees.
The city was originally a town of the Benguet province but was later established as an independent city. Baguio is considered as the melting pot of the Cordillera indigenous peoples and the jump-off point for exploring the Cordilleras. It has, thus, become a center for showcasing the unique cultures of the different ethnic groups in the region. Further, Baguio has become the home and source of inspiration of various artists and art enthusiasts all over the world. This is because of the city’s serene natural environment as well as the cultural ingenuity manifested in the people.
Over the years, Baguio was considered as an “Education Center in the North” because of prominent and large universities that welcome massive numbers of students from different provinces. Academies that specialize in teaching English to a foreign market have proliferated as well.
Up to this day, Baguio still retains its moniker as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines”. Apparently, it has even earned more because of the times. Nevertheless, whether it is named as the city of pines, flowers, or artists, Baguio remains to be the ultimate highland retreat and resort city not only for relaxation but also for the stimulation of mind and creativity.
Baguio was developed by the Americans as the retreat and recreation abode of U.S. armed forces during the 20th century. Before that, however, Baguio was one of the most coveted regions in the Philippines during the Spanish colonization because of the intense lure of gold. The natives were strong and defiant against the Spaniards who invaded their home and for a time they were able to keep the colonizers away. Still, after how many attempts, one commander was successful in pursuing the region. He first built a military garrison in the land area that is now called “La Trinidad”, named after his wife, and later created ranches and camps, also known as rural settlements. Baguio was called “Kafagway” then.
After the Philippines was liberated from Spanish colonial rule, the Americans started to develop Baguio as their ideal place for retreats. They built Kennon Road to connect Baguio to the lowlands and established the city as a mining town and recreational facility. Later on, a provincial government was formed to lead the designing of Baguio as what they called, “the virtual heaven on earth”. The development of Baguio continued until eventually, it was declared as an independent city in 1909. During this time, Baguio was already given the moniker “Summer Capital of the Philippines” because of the establishment of Camp John Hay for the American soldiers and the Mansion for the Governor-General’s residence during the summer. American missionaries also came to introduce Christianity to the natives and teach English. Not for long, English became the official language of the people.
When World War II broke, the Japanese targeted Baguio due to the fact that the Philippines was the only colony of the Americans in Asia at that time. They bombed Baguio and occupied the city for four years even invading Camp John Hay as their headquarters until General Yamashita surrendered in 1945. Rehabilitation occurred thereafter under American rule and eventually, the Americans turned Baguio over to the national government.