Go Baguio! Your Complete Guide to Baguio City, Philippines

Baguio City's Ibaloi Street Names

Many Baguio City’s roads are named after American colonial government officials who were prominent at the time the city was christened the Summer Capital of the Philippines about 100 years ago (see the article on Americans and Baguio)
But a there are many street names in the Ibaloi language that residents & visitors encounter everyday and let me tell you a little about them, too.

Before it was transformed into a colonial hill station, Baguio (which was originally called Kafagway meaning "wide open space") was home to the indigenous Ibaloi tribe of the Philippine Cordilleras. The land was used primarily for grazing their herds of cattle.
The terrain was composed of  gently rolling hills with a lot of natural springs where the cattle, mostly water buffaloes or what we in the Philippines call "carabao," used to cool themselves.
Ibaloi Street Names Representing Nature

Chanum ("water")
Many parts of what is now called the Central Business District used to ooze with natural springs. Access to water was not only important for cattle & livestock, it was near water sources where dwellings would be built and small communities would sprout up. Chanum Street can be found just a few meters from City Hall.

Chugum ("wind") & Chuntug ("mountain")
Intersecting Chanum Street are roads called Chugum Street and Chuntug Street. Together these three streets represent three of the four essential elements of life -- water, air and earth (or mountain), with fire being the fourth.

Descriptive Ibaloi Sreet Names

Abanao ("wide")
One of the city's main roads is called Abanao. It is a wide street the goes uphill connecting  Harrison Road to Naguilian and Bokawkan Roads.

Otek ("small")
True to its name, Otek is a short strip that connrects Burnham Park to City Hall. This is also where Baguio's Rizal Park is located.

Kayang ("high")
Kayang is a street on the hill behind the Baguio City Market leading up to City Hall. It is accessible from Abanao Road.

Kisad or Guisad ("a condition when a priestess is possessed by a spirit during a religious rite")
Kisad Road runs parallel to Harrison Road, on the west side of Burnham Park while Guisad Road is accessible from Bokawkan Road. Actually these two roads cause a lot of confusion, especially when ordering from fast food delivery services because they do sound the same.

Bokawkan ("wherever something has been removed")
Bokawkan is that wide road that connects Abanao, Naguilian Road (officially named Quirino Highway - but who calls it that?) and Magsaysay Road (on the Trancoville heading towards La Trinidad side)

Lucban ("orange")
Lucban is that area off Bonifacio Road near Saint Louis University where a lot of residences cum dormitories are located. It is probably named thus because of the color of the soil, which is mostly clay.

Ibaloi Names That Have Been Replaced

Kafagway ("wide open space")
This used to be what the area the Baguio City now occupies used to be called.

How then did Baguio get it's name?

Legend has it that when the Americans reached Kafagway they
asked the natives for the name of the place while pointing to the
soil. Not understanding what they were saying, the Ibalois gave the
name of the mossy flowering plant that covered the ground "bag-iw,"
which the Americans pronounced "bag-i-yo."

Javjavan ("native blacksmith shop");
This is what the site where the Baguio City Market is used to be called.

Kampaw ("a place for social gathering")
Kampaw is what Mount Mary Hill or Cathedral Hill used to be referred to. This is where the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral, more popularly known as Baguio Cathedral, now stands.  was called Kampaw (a social gathering place reminiscent of the Bontoc "ato" or Sagada’s "dap-ay," a place where elders meet for dialogues and meetings);

Urengao ("oily water")
The area where Teachers’ Camp is located, which is located between Leonard Wood Road and South Drive, used to be called this 

Oliweg ("whirlpool where rainwater runs out through a channel in the limestone")
This does explain why the area called City Camp used to get inundated during heavy rains, as this is what the City Camp area used to be referred to. Maybe they should not have allowed dwellings to be built there in the first place.
"Who are these people?"

I used to think that Otek, Chanum and Kayang streets were names of real people. After all, other Baguio roads are named after Americans (Harrison, Pack, Wood), and Philippine leaders and heroes (Bonifacio, Gen. Lim Magsaysay).

Then I found this feature article that explains quite a lot -- and yup, Chugum is not a person -- so I decided to create an article to reference Baguio Ibaloi street names in the same manner as the feature on roads and places in Baguio named after the Americans

Ibaloi Names Also Replaced
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