The city of Baguio in the Philippines became a chartered city over 100 years ago on 1st September 1909. Before that, the Kankanaeys and the Ibalois were the people who inhabited the city which was then called bag-iw – that translated to English means moss. This was because the Baguio that we know now as an highly urbanised city built in a tropical rain forest was once covered with moss and a prolific amount of natural resources.
When the Americans arrived in 1900 and built the highways which connected the city to the lowlands, people started to hear about its incredible beauty and the hidden paradise on top of the mountains. Since then, Baguio City has become well known all over the country as the summer capital of the Philippines and is now a popular tourist destination for visitors from the lowlands and particularly in the summer when the population generally doubles. Tourism has become one of Baguio’s main industries, attracting both local and foreign tourists.
There are a lot of people who have chosen to settle in the city due to its mild climate and magnificant surroundings. It may not be obvious but despite Baguio being named a city, the cost of living is still significantly lower compared to the other urban areas in the Philippines. The large numbers of people who have settled in the city from far and wide lead to a really good mix of cultures. Various ethno linguistic groups from all over the country can be found in Baguio. People coming from all over the world have decided to settle and make a living in the fascinating city of Pines. Different cultures, languages and social statuses find refuge in the city known as Baguio, making it seem like a melting pot of all walks of life.
Being called a melting pot, the various cultures that have come to emerge in the city sometimes seem to have blended into one. Though Ilocano is known as the lingua franca of the city, English is still widely used along with Filipino. With this, everybody is able to understand each other no matter what nationality or ethno linguistic group a person belongs to. The people are accommodating, honest and helpful – resulting in the inhabitants of the city getting along very well with each other which makes Baguio City feel warm and welcoming to it’s visitors.
Different cultures with different origins, the people of Baguio have surely expanded to accommodate everybody. Though this may be the case, the original inhabitants of the city once known as bag-iw are still its major occupants. With all the other cultures dominating, the Kankanaeys and Ibalois should never be neglected for all that they have done. They have been here long enough to know the city from every angle and surely have preserved their culture through all these years. Baguio City: the place where you find people from every aspect of life.