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Baguio

Baguio City, the country’s summer capital, is situated 1,500 meters above sea level. It is one of the few places in the Philippines with a cool climate. It’s always eight degrees cooler in Baguio than in the lowlands. Baguio was developed during the early 1900s by American colonial officials who sought for a mountain retreat away from the heat of Manila. One little known fact is that the original city plan was modeled by architect Daniel Burnham after that of Washington D.C. Its name derives from bagyiw, an Ibaloi word for a moss that grew in the mountains’ damp, swampy areas.

Along Marcos Highway leading to Baguio is Marcos Park with its enormous concrete bust of the former president. Jutting out of take mountainside within viewing distance of motorists, the bust was said to be the first in a series of busts memorializing he different presidents of the Philippines. Unfortunately, portions of the bust were blown up a few days before New Year’s Day of 2003.

Burnham Park at the center of the city has pine trees, flower gardens and a manmade lagoon. The famous City Market offers a bewilding array of fresh fruits and vegetables, notably strawberries. Other specialties are fruit preserves and peanut brittle. Maharlika Center specializes in various arts and crafts along with antiques. Baguio Cathedral and Lourdes Grotto are the city’s chief religious landmarks. The Mansion House is the summer residence of the President of the Philippines; with its gates patterned after those of Buckingham. Camp John Hay is a former US military facility that’s now an upmarket vacation resort. Mines View Park and Dominican Hill are the city’s best-known viewpoints, while Wright Park offers pony rides. Adjacent Baguio Botanical Park has souvenir stalls and upland replica houses. An entire set of houses were also transplanted from Banaue to Tam-awan Village. Woodcarving can be found along Asin Road, while weaves and silverwork are sold at Easter Weaving School and Sr. Louis School silver shop.

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