Go Baguio! Your Complete Guide to Baguio City, Philippines

Baguio City:

Gateway to the Cordilleras

Baguio is the seat of the Cordillera Administrative Region, which means that it is the government center.

Baguio has always been known as the "Cordillera Gateway," the melting pot of the Cordillera natives, highland tribesmen (known collectively as "Igorots," a name hardly used these days anymore because it is considered pejorative -- only the natives may call each other "Igorot," by the way).

In recent years, many citizens from the lowland provinces of the Ilocos Region, Pangasinan and the rest of Central Luzon have come up in droves to take up residence in the Summer Capital of the Philippines because of its appealing climate, natural beauty and and a proliferation of schools in Baguio. They now outnumber the high-landers and who are a generally shy and honest bunch and have driven them to the fringes of Baguio society.
More About the Highland Natives:

The Botanical Garden, which for a time was called the Igorot Village, showcases some native huts and products. One can enter these structures to catch a glimpse of tribal life.

The Kalingas feature the lightest colors and patterns in their weaves, while the Bontoc tribe's colors are dark and dramatic, befitting their nature as a warrior tribe.

The Ifugaos have the finest textures and are the greatest woodcarvers in the whole Cordillera area, with furniture art pieces that grace even the most sophisticated homes and offices in the Philippines.

The Ibalois are farmers and traders, thus considered as the most non-aggressive tribe because they engage mostly in commercial activities.

The Kankanaeys are the best miners and most adept at carving out mountain trails and tunnels, and of course, finding valuable minerals hidden deep inside the Cordillera Mountains.
But if you look closely, you can spot a highland native very easily via his facial features:  high cheekbones, almond eyes, a squarish jaw, pink complexion (mostly the ladies from  Benguet) and very straight dark hair, with broad shoulders and thick legs. The ladies are a much finer, comelier version of the men, usually slim and fine-boned. And you can spot them because they will usually address you in fluent English.
Of course the old folks are much darker than their younger counterparts due to many years of working in the bright sunlight. Only they will wear their traditional dress everyday in these modern times, although when the young men and women are called to tribal assemblies, and on festive occasions they gladly don the colors of their tribe with pride.
Cordillera Gateway

While Baguio is a destination in itself some visitors, especially foreign tourists and backpackers, use the city as a jump-off point for exploring the other  Cordillera provinces.
Quick Links
Baguio, although it is a city independent of any province, is located entirely within the boundaries of Benguet province. Different modes of transportation (e.g. jeepneys and taxis) are available from Baguio to La Trinidad Valley, Benguet's capital and the other areas surrounding the city (e.g. Itogon, Sablan, Tuba).

The different provinces of the Cordilleras are: Benguet (populated by the Ibaloi and Kankanaey tribes), Mountain Province (where Sagada is located), Kalinga (famous for the brightly colored hand woven products), Abra, Apayao, Ifugao (the best wood carvers in the Philippines plus the world-famous Banaue Rice Terraces).

There are multiple provincial bus trips daily to Bontoc, Sagada and Banaue from the City of Pines.

I will be featuring more about the different areas in the Cordillera Region in the Philippines, so please check back often.
From Baguio one can ride a bus to Bontoc and reach it via scenic Halsema Highway, also known as Mountain Trail. Here's a great video of "The Beloved Place,"
which is how the locals refer to the capital town of the Mountain Province.
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A typical Ifugao hut on display at Camp John Hay