Having lived in Baguio City (the Summer Capital of the Philippines) for over half a century, should probably qualify me–to claim that I know the place quite well. Also, I have the added honor of having been born here. A distinction that has become rather rare among the residents of the city, as migrants now outnumber “Baguio originals.”
This article is my personal attempt to “put on paper” the top three reasons why people should visit. Written in the context of– how would I sell Baguio to a foreigner who has never heard about it. One who would say, “Could you spell the name of your city again, please?” And one whom I need to convince that he should choose my city over all others–if constrained to visit just one location in my country, the Philippines.
But why just three reasons? Can I not come up with six, eight or ten? It would not be too difficult to oblige with a higher number but to me, these Top Three should be enough. If I cannot convince you with these three, you have my blessing to go elsewhere.
The Cold Weather
Baguio remains the place to be (particularly) during the warmest months of the year; it retains its allure as THE Summer Capital of the Philippines. Where people find refuge during the continuous torrent of heat days during the summer months. On such days– it is guaranteed: the temperature is always better in Baguio. A migrant friend of mine from Germany actually described our weather as “eternal spring.” Because of its high elevation, the temperature in the city is usually 8 degrees Celsius (46 degree Fahrenheit) lower than the adjoining lowland locations. The average temperature is from 15-23 degrees Celsius (59-73 degrees Fahrenheit), with the coldest days occurring from November to February.
The Green Setting
Baguio is always described as a green city because of the multitude of pine trees spread over most locations and the grass ground cover here remains plentiful. The city downtown has little of these, as it has been built upon; but patches of green remain therein–particularly in Burnham Park which endures as our “breathing space” right in the heart of downtown. One used to be able to smell the refreshing aroma of the pine trees while enjoying a ride in the heavily wooded locations; but the scent of the trees is no longer as prominent due to the dwindling number of trees.
The Leisurely Mood
Planned by Chicago Architect Daniel Burnham in 1906, Baguio was designed as a city for 25,000 residents; this is the reason why the roads are rather narrow and the city is relatively small. I think it is because of this “intimate essence” in scale that a leisurely mood is induced upon its occupants. Personally, this has been the main reason why I have opted to raise my family here; shunning the “rat-race” state-of-mind that pervades highly-urbanized locations such as Metro Manila. Despite the temptation of better opportunities elsewhere, I have opted to stay in this “quaint and sleepy little town” where people are relaxed most of the time and commune with nature.
I am almost sure, this article will be branded by many as biased; but please do not take it against me as I am a native of the city…