Baguio Part 2
Crime in Baguio is concentrated in theft and vehicular accidents. Crime in the city is also directly related to its changing demographics and unique criminal justice system. The illegal drug trade is also a problem of the city as 24 of its 129 barangays are considered as drug affected as of December 2017.
In 2018, Baguio was listed as one of the safest cities both in the ASEAN region, ranking sixth with a crime index of 40.57 and safety index of 59.43. The Baguio City Police Office also has the highest crime solution efficiency nationwide of 84%, compared to the national 77% and the region's 70%. In May 2019 BCPO also reported a drop of 27% in crimes, from 1,150 in 2018 to 834 in 2019. The BCPO was awarded as the country's best city police station in 2018.
Baguio is a predominantly Christian city, with 80.4% Roman Catholics, followed by the Episcopalian Church with 5.8% and 3.5 from the Iglesia ni Cristo. Other Christian denominations and sects in the city include the Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch), The Kingdom of Jesus Christ the name above Every Name, Episcopal Church, Iglesia ni Cristo, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Jehovah's Witnesses, United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), Jesus Is Lord Church (JIL), Jesus Miracle Crusade (JMC), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), the United Methodist Church, Assemblies of God (AG), and Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Members Church of God International (MCGI), Bible Fundamental, and other Evangelical churches.
There is also a significant number of Muslims in the cities, consisting of Filipino Muslims of different ethnicities and Muslims of other nationalities. The largest mosque in the area is Masjid Al-Maarif, which is a known centre of Islamic studies in the Philippines. The city also has smaller numbers of Buddhists and atheists, along with members of other faiths.
Baguio is the melting pot of different peoples and cultures in the Cordillera Administrative Region. Because of this, numerous investments and business opportunities are lured to the city. Baguio has a large retail industry, with shoppers coming to the city to take advantage of the diversity of competitively priced commercial products on sale. The city is also popular with bargain hunters—some of the most popular bargaining areas include Baguio Market and Maharlika Livelihood Center. Despite the city's relatively small size, it is home to numerous shopping centers and malls catering to increasing commercial and tourist activity in Baguio: these include SM City Baguio, Baguio Center Mall, Cooyeesan Plaza, Abanao Square, The Maharlika Livelihood Center, Porta Vaga Mall, Centerpoint Plaza, Cedar Peak Mall, Puregold, SM Savemore, Tiongsan, Country Mart, Victoria Supermart, Sunshine Supermarket, and Ayala Technohub Retail Plaza.
Various food and retail businesses run by local residents proliferate, forming a key part of Baguio's cultural landscape. Several retail outlets and dining outlets are situated along Bonifacio Street, Session Road, Teacher's Camp, Mines View Park and Baguio Fastfood Center near the market.
The areas of Session Road, Harrison Road, Magsaysay Avenue and Abanao Street comprise the trade center of the city, where commercial and business structures such as cinemas, hotels, restaurants, department stores, and shopping centers are concentrated. The City Market offers a wide array of locally sourced goods and products, usually from Benguet province, which includes colorful woven fabrics and hand-strung beads to primitive wood carvings, cut flowers, strawberries and "Baguio" vegetables, the latter often denoting vegetable types that do well in the cooler growing climate. Strawberries and string beans—referred to as Baguio beans across the Philippines—are shipped to major urban markets across the archipelago.
Another key source of income for Baguio is its position as the commercial hub for the province of Benguet. Many agricultural and mining goods produced in Benguet pass through Baguio for processing, sale or further distribution to the lowlands.
Baguio is one of the country's most profitable and best investment areas.
A Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)-accredited business and industrial park called the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ) is located in the southern part of the city between Camp John Hay Country Club and Philippine Military Academy in Barangay Loakan. Firms located in the BCEZ mostly produce and export knitted clothing, transistors, small components for vehicles, electronics and computer parts. Notable firms include Texas Instruments Philippines, which is the second largest exporter in the country. Other companies headquartered inside the economic zone are Moog Philippines, Inc., Linde Philippines, Inc., LTX Philippines Corporation, Baguio-Ayalaland Technohub, and Sitel Philippines, Baguio.
Outsourcing also contributes to the city's economy and employment. There are multiple BPOs present in the city. Teleperformance Baguio is headquartered in front of Sunshine Park, while other call centers downtown are Optimum Transsource, Sterling Global and Global Translogic. Others, like Convergys and InterContinental Hotels Group have call centers in Camp John Hay away from the city proper. Tech-Synergy operates a large transcription and backoffice operation near Wright park. SitelThoughtFocus Technologies, a leading US provider of Software and KPO services decided to set up its KPO operation center in Baguio.
In recent years there has been a surge of small BPO companies as well as Online English Tutorial Services throughout Baguio City.
Arts and Museums
The city became a haven for many Filipino artists in the 1970s–1990s. Drawn by the cool climate and low cost of living, artists such as Ben Cabrera (now a National Artist) and filmmaker Butch Perez relocated to the city. At the same time, locals such as mixed-media artist Santiago Bose and filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik were also establishing work in the city. Even today, artists like painters and sculptors from all over the country are drawn to the Baguio Arts Festival which is held annually. The city houses several museums, such as the Baguio Museum, Museo Kordilyera, Emilio F. Aguinaldo Museum, the Laperal White House and the SLU Museum of Arts and Cultures.
Baguio has been included in UNESCO's Creative Cities Network due to craft and folk art traditions of the city particularly ranging on expressions to wood carving, silver craft, traditional weaving and tattooing. Baguio City is the first city in the Philippines to be part of the inter-city network which aims to promote the creative industries as well as integrate culture in sustainable urban development.
The languages commonly spoken in Baguio are Ibaloi, Kankana-ey and Ifugao. Ilocano, Tagalog and English are also understood by many inhabitants within and around the city.
Festivities and Holidays
The Panagbenga Festival, the annual Flower Festival, held in February, was created as a tribute to the city's flowers and as a way to rise up from the devastation of the 1990 Luzon earthquake. The festival includes floats that are covered mostly with flowers not unlike those used in Pasadena's Rose Parade. The festival also includes street dancing, presented by dancers clad in flower-inspired costumes, that is inspired by the Bendian, an Ibaloi dance of celebration that came from the Cordillera region. The indigenous people were initially wary with government-led tourism due to a perceived threat that the government would interfere with or change their communities' rituals. The city also celebrates its city charter anniversary every 1 September and has been declared as a special non-working holiday by virtue of RA 6710 in 1989.
Tourism is one of Baguio's main industries due to its cool climate and history. The city is one of the country's top tourist destinations. During the year end holidays some people from the lowlands prefer spending their vacation in Baguio, to experience cold temperatures they rarely have in their home provinces. Also, during summer, especially during Holy Week, tourists from all over the country flock to the city. During this time, the total number of people in the city doubles. To accommodate all these people there are more than 80 hotels and inns available, as well as numerous transient houses set up by the locals. Local festivities such as the Panagbenga Festival also attracts both local and foreign tourists.
Baguio is the lone Philippine destination in the 2011 TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice Destinations Awards (Asia category) with the city being among the top 25 destinations in Asia. Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Teacher's Camp, The Mansion and Baguio Cathedral are among the top tourist sites in Baguio.
Baguio has hosted several sporting events, even those of international standing. The Baguio Athletic Bowl within the grounds of Burnham Park is one of Baguio's primary sporting venues. Baguio hosted the 1978 World Chess Championship match between Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi. The City is a participant in the CARAA games or the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association, hosting it last 2016 and 2017. The winners of the said event will eventually represent the region in the annual Palarong Pambansa games, which is also sponsored by the Department of Education. As of 2019, the city is still the overall champion with 205 gold, 110 silver and 79 bronze medals.
Loakan Airport is the lone airport serving the general area of Baguio. The airport is classified as a trunkline airport, or a major commercial domestic airport, by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines but there are currently no regular commercial services in the airport. It is located south of the city center. Due to the limited length of the runway, being only 1,802 m (5,912 ft) long, it is restricted to commuter size aircraft. The airport is used primarily by helicopters, turbo-prop and piston engine aircraft, although on rare occasion light business jets (LBJ) have flown into the airport.
Jeepneys and Taxis are the main means of public transportation in the city. The jeepney was patterned after U.S. Army jeeps and have been in use since the years immediately following World War II. All types of public road transport plying Manila are privately owned and operated under government franchise.
From Metro Manila, Baguio is accessible via NLEX (from Bulacan to Tarlac) and TPLEX (from Tarlac to La Union). The three main access roads leading to Baguio from the lowlands are Kennon Road (formerly known as the Benguet Road), Aspiras–Palispis Highway (previously known as Marcos Highway) and Naguilian Road, also known as Quirino Highway. The newest road that connects the city to the lowlands is Asin Road (also known as Asin-San Pascual-Tubao, La Union Road). All these roads traverse the municipality of Tuba, Benguet.
- Kennon Road starts in Rosario, La Union and winds upwards through a narrow, steep valley. This is often the fastest route to Baguio but it is particularly perilous, with landslides during the rainy season and sharp dropoffs, some without guardrails. As of June 2019, it was closed due to the multiple occurrences of rock and land slides. Its full rehabilitation is being pushed in the House of Representatives.
- Aspiras-Palispis Highway starts in Agoo, La Union and connects to Palispis Highway, at the boundary of Benguet and La Union provinces.
- Asin-Tubao Road starts in Tubao, La Union and serves as secondary alternative road if gridlock occurs at Aspiras-Palispis Highway
- Naguilian Road, which starts in Bauang, La Union, are both longer routes but are much safer than Kennon Road especially during rainy season, and are the preferred routes for coaches, buses and trucks.
Another road, Halsema Highway, (also known as the Baguio-Bontoc Road or the Mountain Trail) leads north through the mountainous portion of the provinces of Benguet and Mountain Province. It starts at the northern border of Baguio with La Trinidad.
Possible Future Modes
- Cable Cars - As of July 8, 2019, Secretary Tugade of the Department of Transportation said that the feasibility study for the installation of the cable cars in Manila may be finished within the year, with Baguio soon to follow. The Philippine government earlier secured a P27 million grant from France for this venture, with Manila and Baguio seen as possible initial sites.
- Monorail - A monorail project from Baguio to La Trinidad is being mulled over by the SSS as a possible investment in CAR. It is seen to further boost tourism and decongest traffic. The project is similar to the one installed by the Department of Science and Technology at the UP Campus in 2012.
Water and Electricity
Most of the water supply of the city is provided for by the Baguio Water District, founded in 1975 as the successor to the now-defunct Department of Public Services. It currently operates 60 deep wells to cater to its more than 300,000 consumers. It currently serves 122 out of the 129 barangays in the city and some parts of Tuba, Benguet. In recent years, the BWD has expressed concern for the city's depleting water supply, due in part to the private wells dug by private individuals and companies. BWD hopes that such activities would cease so as not to lower the city's aquifer level.
Electric services are provided by BENECO or Benguet Electric Cooperative, the sole electric power distributor in Benguet. In 2012, a bill was filled in the House of Representatives seeking the creating of the Baguio Electric Cooperative or BAELCO, an entity to provide for the city's own electricity needs, separate from BENECO. Its creating has been met with opposition by various groups. It is unknown whether its creation shall be pushed in the future.