Baguio City has been the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” since 1904, after the declaration of the Philippine Commission during its regular session held at the Old Baden-Powell Hall, atop the famous Session Road.

Busy day in Baguio City. Credit to the New York State Archives©

Before it became a prime city, the grassy marshland Baguio was a Municipality of Benguet.

Five years later, on 1 September 1909, the Philippine Assembly incorporated Baguio (derived from “bagiw,” an Ibaloi vernacular, which means moss) as a chartered city under Act No. 1963 by Justice George Malcolm. Thus, the City celebrates its Charter anniversary every 1 September.

Later in history, Kennon road was opened to traffic.

Bridal Veil Falls along Kennon Road

Therefore, on 1 September 2009, Baguio City celebrated its centenary.

Unknown to others, Baguio was formerly known as “Kafagway”(wide-open place)—a small “Rancheria”(settlement) where the local inhabitants such as “Ibalois” and “Kankaneys” dwelled way back.

Mateo Cariño, one of the headmen in Benguet, owned majority of the lands in Kafagway.

Back in the day, Cordillerans were so resilient against intruders—such as Spanish and Americans—as evident in their customary way of life and traditions. Cordillerans cultures remain intact and well preserved to date.


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