The City of Baguio (Ibaloi: Ciudad ni Bagiw; Ilokano: Ciudad ti Baguio; ; ) is a highly urbanized city located in the province of Benguet in northern Luzon island of the Philippines. The city has become the center of business and commerce as well as the center of education in the entire Northern Luzon thereby becoming the seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region (C.A.R.). According to the 2010 census, Baguio City has a population of 318,676.
Baguio City was established by the Americans as a hill station in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village known as Kafagway. It was the United States' only hill station in Asia. The name of the city is derived from the Ibaloi word bagiw meaning 'moss.' The Ibaloi is the indigenous language in the Benguet Region,. The city is situated at an altitude of approximately 1540 meters (5052 feet) in the Luzon tropical pine forests ecoregion conducive for the growth of mossy plants and orchids.
Because of its cool climate, Baguio City was designated by the Philippine Commission as the "Summer Capital" of the Philippines on June 1, 1903 wherein the government was transferred to city to escape the lowland heat during summer. It was incorporated as a chartered city by the Philippine Assembly on September 1, 1909, as authored by former Philippines Supreme Court Justice George A. Malcolm. The City of Baguio celebrated its Centennial on September 1, 2009.
The region around Baguio was first settled primarily by the negritos and the Kankanaeys. In the nearby town of La Trinidad, Benguet, Spaniards established a zeus or military garrison, but Kafagway, as the city was once known was barely touched.
American colonial period
When the Americans took possession of the Philippines after the Spanish-American War, Baguio was selected to become the summer capital of the Philippine Islands. In 1903, Filipino, Japanese and Chinese workers were hired to build Kennon Road, the first road directly connecting Baguio with the lowlands of Pangasinan. Before this, the only road to Benguet was Naguilian Road, and it was largely a horse trail at higher elevations.
The Americans declared Baguio the "Summer Capital of the Philippines" on July 1, 1903. Every year between March and June, the entire American government transferred operations Baguio to escape Manila's summer heat, a practise abolished in 1913 when Governor-General Francis B. Harrison took office. Mansion House was built to become the residence of the Governor-General, while in 1904 the rest of the city was planned out by the American architect Daniel Burnham, one of the earliest successful modern city planners. On September 1, 1909 Baguio was declared a chartered city, the second after the City of Manila, and the period after saw further development of Baguio with the construction of Wright Park in honor of Governor-General Luke E. Wright, Burnham Park in honour of Burnham, Governor Pack Road, and Session Road.
World War II
On April 26, 1945, Filipino troops of the 1st, 2nd, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, 1st Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary and the USAFIP-NL 66th Infantry Regiment and the American troops of the 33rd and 37th Infantry Division of the United States Army entered Baguio City and fought against the Japanese Imperial Army forces led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita which started the Battle for the Liberation of Baguio City during World War II.
Baguio is the site of the formal surrender of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and Vice Admiral Okochi. It is where they gave up the entire Imperial Japanese Armed Forces to American authorities at the High Commissioner's Residence (now the United States Ambassador's Residence) in Camp John Hay on September 3, 1945, marking the end of World War II.
The very strong 1990 Luzon earthquake (Ms = 7.8) destroyed much of the city of Baguio on July 16, 1990. A significant number of buildings and infrastructure were damaged; major highways were temporarily severed; and a number of houses were leveled or severely-shaken with a significant loss of life. Some of the fallen buildings were built on or near fault lines. Baguio City was rebuilt with the aid from the national government and various international donors such as Japan, Singapore and other countries.
Around May 2003, a petition initiated by Dion Fernandez to declare Baguio a heritage zone was circulated on the Internet and national print media, gaining more than 10,000 signatures. The petition calls upon unspecified officials to create the Zone prior to the Baguio centennial in 2009. In May 2005, the Heritage Conservation Society(HCS) submitted to the Baguio City Council a proposed Special Heritage Bill drafted by HCS Trustee Ivan Henares. It has been approved on second reading but is being opposed by a group of businessmen.