The City of Baguio (Ilokano: Ciudad ti Baguio; Filipino: Lungsod ng 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 2007 census, Baguio City has a population of 301,926.
Baguio City was established by the Americans in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village known as Kafagway. The name of the city is derived from the word bagiw in Ibaloi, the indigenous language of the Benguet Region, meaning 'moss'. The city is at an altitude of approximately in the Luzon tropical pine forests ecoregion conducive to the growth of mossy plants and orchids.
Because of its altitude, Baguio City was designated by the Philippine Commission as the Summer Capital of the Philippines on June 1, 1903. 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 Ibalois and the Kankanaeys. In the nearby town of La Trinidad, Benguet, Spaniards established a zeus or military garrison, but Kafagway, as Baguio City was once known, was barely touched.
American colonial period
When the Americans took possession of the Philippines, Baguio was selected by a party to become the summer capital of the Philippines. 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.
The Americans declared Baguio the Summer Capital of the Philippines on July 1, 1903 . Every year during the months of March to June, the entire American government personnel from the Governor-General to the humblest clerk was moved to Baguio to escape Manila's summer heat (abolished in 1913 when Francis B. Harrison took office). The Mansion House was built to become the residence of the American governor-general. The famous American architect Daniel Burnham, one of the earliest successful modern city planners, laid a meticulous plan for the city in 1904. On September 1, 1909 Baguio was declared a chartered city, the second after the city of Manila. They further developed Baguio, building parks and public structures such as Wright Park in honor of Governor General Luke E. Wright, Burnham Park in honor of Baguio city planner Daniel 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 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 like 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.