The Discovery Of Baguio City – A Walk In Baguio History

A Map Of Baguio City Circa 1918

 

Today, September 1, 2014 we are starting with a segment in Lakbay Baguio, known as A Walk in Baguio History. Baguio City is not only all about the cold weather, as residents we believe that the rich history of Baguio City especially during the American occupation and the second world war. The people from the whole Cordillera region had a long history with the Americans and the latter’s presence in the mountains of Cordillera indeed made an impact and influenced the locals, one evidence is the fact that people from the Cordillera regions are really good in speaking the English language.

Where It All Began

It was the year 1892, while, then an American Zoologist by the name of Dean Worcester was approached by a member of the Spanish Forestry Bureau whose name was Domingo Sanchez. Sanchez told Worcester in Mindoro about a majestic place in the northern part of the Philippines where the climate is temperate, located at about 5000 feet above sea level and often experiences frosts. This description sparked the curiosity in Worcester that when he returned to the US with the first Philippine Commission in the year 1899 that he started to research about such place at the Spanish archives here Worcester found a great deal of data regarding this “shangri-la” north of Manila and that while he was in Washington, he recommended an exploration to then the Secretary of State Elihu Root.

During the Second Philippine Commission where Worcester and Luke E. Wright were members they were directed to visit Benguet to gather data and familiarize themselves with the place. Although they were discouraged to proceed, Dr. Worcester with a several other Americans started their journey by sea from Manila to the port in San Fernando La Union. From San Fernando they set off by road to Naguilian, spending the night there. They left Naguilian early in the morning and stopped at Sablan for lunch. After which they decided to continue the climb and as Dean Worcester described Sablan to be “still steaming hot”. After several hundred yards of walking Dean Worcester wrote this in his journal:

“We were literally dumbfounded when within a space of a hundred yards we suddenly left the tropics behind us and came out into a wonderful region of pine parks”

 

If you want to know more about the history of Baguio City, stay tuned! As we will be posting the rich past of Baguio City.

 

Quotes and Data From: Memoirs of Baguio by Gutierrez, Wilson and Concepcion, 1960

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