Issue of October 7, 2018
Mt. Province

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Baguio still leading tourist destination to reckon with
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

Baguio’s vital statistics is looking good with almost more than 1.5 million visitors last year and which is poised to get better this year according to the latest Department of Tourism data announced last week.

The optimistic picture for the country’s still undisputed Summer Capital and the rest of the Cordillera has been provided as the Cordillera Philippine Statistics Authority and DOT offices and the city government in coordination with concerned agencies observe this October the National Statistics Month leaning on “Exploring Philippine wonders in numbers: Statistics towards sustainable tourism development” theme.

DOT-CAR Officer-in-Charge Jovita Ganongan reported that tourist arrivals in Baguio City took the lion’s share of the Cordillera’s total of 1,969,707 domestic and foreign tourists, registering 1,521,748 visitors in 2017.

Baguio City Tourism Officer Aloysius Mapalo added that the 1.5-million mark may well be surpassed this year, since Baguio already registered more than one million tourist arrivals as of September. 

Ganongan said the data were sourced from local government units which collated records of tourists – those who stayed overnight in a particular place – from accredited accommodation establishments within their respective areas.

The number, she said, may be higher, as those who stayed in other accommodation facilities and day-visitors have not been included in the record.

Councilor Elmer Datuin, chair of the city council tourism committee said, the city is on its way to achieving more accurate tourism data with the continuing implementation of the ordinance mandating all accommodation establishments in the city to report their tourist arrivals.

The implementation is still undergoing difficulties at the moment due to concerns in the tallying process, but once these kinks are ironed out, Datuin said he expects that the figures may land the city’s ranking in the top three most visited spots in the country.

December remained the peak season, although the difference in each month in recent previous years has already narrowed as more tourists have been observed during the preceding months, and in the case of Baguio, during the Flower Festival month of February, where day-visitors is at its highest, and up to summer vacation period.

Mapalo said fresh from the designation of Baguio as Unesco Creative City, the city government is in the thick of organizing activities to strengthen Baguio’s new branding.

“We would like to believe that we are still one of the top destinations in the Philippines. Our statistics the first half, even in what used to be lean months, account for what Baguio could be by the end of the year,” Mapalo said.

The rebranding is aimed at preventing mass tourism by elevating the market of Baguio, a highly urbanized place whose main attraction is its atmosphere and pristine nature, through creative tourism, which now also promotes creativity as the city’s primary asset.

The DOT-CAR and CTO also agreed that statistics, in whatever ways it matter to the city, are being used in planning for a sustainable tourism for Baguio, which is also eyed to be rehabilitated by the national government after Boracay Islands.

Ganongan said there is a need to revisit the city’s tourism development plan. “We are obliged to expand because of the demands for the many things Baguio offers, foremost is people are lured to the city because it is really beautiful, so we all contribute to the problems it now experiences. Let’s come up with solutions internally because if we solve these issues, we are sure policies would be strictly followed by stakeholders,” Ganongan said.

Mapalo said in acknowledging the problems besetting the city – problems that are made by Baguio people themselves due to their eagerness to attract economic drivers – it is really a matter of reviewing and revisiting specific problems that require specific solutions.

“We see a need for creative solutions that should be worked on collectively by reviewing the overall future development of the city,” Mapalo said.

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PWU Baguio
Technical Education & Skills Development Authority – CAR
University of Baguio

Baguio Central University
Baguio Country Club
Benguet Electric Cooperative Inc.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – CAR
Congressman Ronald M. Cosalan
Department of Health – CAR
John Hay Management Corporation
National Grid Corporation of the Philippines
New Media Services
Pag–IBIG Fund
Pines City Colleges
Sangguniang Panlungsod

Assumption Medical Diagnostic Center
Baguio Center Mall
Baguio Water District
Choobi Choobi
Congressman Mark O. Go
Councilor Leandro B. Yangot Jr.
Curamed Pharmacy
Department of Environment and Natural Resources – CAR
Department of Public Works and Highways – CAR
Department of Science and Technology
Fabulo Beauty and Image Salon
Far East Pacific Commercial
Filipino–Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Inc.
Ganza & Solibao Restaurants
Gen. Benjie B. Magalong
GMS Technology
Governor Crescencio C. Pacalso
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan
Mayor Romeo K. Salda
Mother Earth Deli Basket
Nagomi Spa
Narda’s / Sunflower Ridge
Northern Luzon School for the Visually Impaired, Inc.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Montessori, Inc.
Philex Mining Corporation
Police Regional Office – CAR
Regional Development Council – CAR and National Economic and Development Authority – CAR
Regional Tripartate Wages and Productivity Board – CAR
SN Aboitiz
Tony Boy Tabora
Veterans Bank
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