The wizened Ibaloi women are still there. If this generation of Filipino tourists would like to know first hand the oral history of the natives of Benguet, they can learn it if only for a few minutes from these old folks. The younger natives, the children and grandchildren of these old folks, may not be as knowledgeable of their own native culture, having been gradually inculturated into the mainstream.
The redesigned Lion’s Head (I rather liked the old face sans the fangs and walled eyes) along Kennon Road. You know you’re about to leave behind the steep zigzag and enter the City when you’ve reached this point. Image via yahoonews
Wild horses once roamed the Cordillera plains, according to the old folks. And, the City then was a paddock of sorts. Now, horses are for hire, along with the guide, to take you through the old Cowboy (as native men style themselves. In fact they wear nothing but Levis.) trails. Image via discoverbaguio
The Lake at Burnham Park in downtown Baguio is where you can have a 15-minute boat ride for lunch if the impulse __. And if you’d like to know what a Bottle Brush Tree (nearly extinct in the City) is, a handful are still around there. Over the years, much words have been exchanged between locals and folks at City Hall over the true State of the Lake and it’s only recently that City Hall through a long overdue PDAF allocation dredged the Lake. This image is of the old Lake because it’s much clearer now and the boats are styled after water birds.
Sunset in the City (as well as in the rest of the Cordillera) is unique because of the mountain setting. Image via mariusoczon
Fog occurred more frequently in the City in the 80s. Nonetheless, the City becomes other-worldly whenever the fog descends. In the streets, people sober up. On the road, passengers who are otherwise loud (rehashing their experience of the City) clam up when the bus we’re riding in meets up with a dense cloud. Fog on the road reminds me of when, along with colleagues, the company vehicle we’re in almost went down (mere inches away) a ravine along Halsema. The driver momentarily lost sight of the road. Gripped. Terrorized. That was what I felt. And it is what I feel, still, whenever I’m on the road, wrapped in fog. Image via vivalabida
But fog like this is poetic. It may be why the City is home to artists and feeling artists. Image via threestarsandasun
Camp John Hay. Much can be said about the Camp now but regardless it holds historical and cultural importance to locals and the City. Image via romesworld
The Philippine Military Academy. If you want to see the future Armed Forces at their best, come here. Upon leaving the Academy, reality crashes on the new officers especially around their girths.
Locals cannot conceive of the City without linking it to the mines in the surrounding areas. Many locals in the City were (are) part of the mines, as miners or officers or executives. Each type of worker has a story about life inside the camp. Balatoc Mines, run by Benguet Corporation, for one, in Itogon, Benguet which is around 30 minutes from downtown via PMA/Kias. It is now open to the public for guided tours. One of the more exciting part of the tour is a simulation of blasting inside the tunnel. If this is not for you, there’s the view (you’ll need a binoculars though) of the mines from the deck at Mines View Park. Image via adaphobic
The City is known for strawberries although technically the berry is grown in La Trinidad. They’re in season beginning December through February. Image via filmsandreveries
Native crafts galore at tourist spots around the City and in stalls at Maharlika Building downtown. Products in these shops are so much cheaper than those displayed in the malls. Each design tells a story or tale of the native’s life. Image via paulakatarina
Another native craft. Good ones can be bought at Easter Weaving or Narda’s. Or, if you are acquainted with locals they can introduce you to native women weavers in the Benguet countryside. My employer used to support this livelihood among native women — I’m not sure now how the formed groups have fared. In any case, what local livelihoods need is marketing support; in many cases, this more than financial support is what local groups need. Image via ninanatalia
Tourists and visitors don’t leave the City without bringing with them back home a bottle or two of native jams (strawberry and ube or yam, the more popular ones). Image via yourjustine