The City of Baguio in the Philippines is located in the mountainous regions in the northern part of Luzon Island in Benguet province. With a population of more than 300,000, this very urban city sits 5,280 feet high in the Luzon tropical pine forests and is a bustling center for business, commercialization and education. The name of the city means moss, most likely referring to the mossy green plants that grow in the area.
The main language spoken is Ilocano, but other languages include English, Tagalog and Chinese, as well as some other native dialects such as Kankana-ey, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Kapampangan, and Pangasinan. People who live in Baguio are from all over the Philippines and other parts of Asia. There is also a relatively large population of Indians who migrated from India.
The city was actually established by the Americans in 1900, following the Philippine-American War. The Americans made Baguio the Summer Capital of the Philippines in 1903, moving government personnel there during the summer months to escape the heat from Manila. Baguio is where General Yamashita surrendered to the Americans in 1945, ending World War II.
In 1990, the Luzon Earthquake destroyed much of Baguio City, but the city was rebuilt with help from the national government, Japan and Singapore. It now has shopping centers and malls, at least eight colleges and universities as well as technical schools, department stores, supermarkets, and manufacturing companies that make clothing, transistors, small automotive parts, electronics and computer parts. The city also has television and radio stations and is home to some large companies such as Texas Instruments.
Tourism is a big part of Baguio’s economy. Average temperatures range from 59 to 74 degrees, rarely exceeding 79 degrees, making it a nice change from the hot and humid tropical temperatures in other cities such a Manila. One of the most popular tourist attractions is the annual Panagbenga Festival, or Flower Festival, held every year in February. It includes a festival with flower-covered floats, music and dancing in the streets, and bright colored costumes.
Other attractions in the city include Mount Pulog, the highest mountain in the region, covered with mossy forest and grasslands, or the beautiful Bell Church with peaceful landscaped gardens and a pagoda. There are also zoos, shopping, museums, horseback riding, world class golf, restaurants and much more.
Baguio is about a 5-6 hour bus ride north of Manila, and about a 3-4 hour bus ride north of Pampanga province. Baguio is much closer to other provinces such as La Union, Isabella, and Nueva Viscaya. Because of the difficult mountainous roads, it is also about another 5-6 hour bus ride south of Mountain Province. Nestled in the mountains, there are no beaches nearby.
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