Aquino comment on Baguio sparks debate on tourism


BAGUIO CITY—President Benigno Aquino’s disappointment over the poor state of the summer capital’s environment has sparked a debate among Baguio officials over the correct number of the city’s annual tourists.

During the Team PNoy campaign rally here on March 17, the President repeated the observations he made about a deteriorating Baguio, among them the incursion of population into once-popular tourist spots, which he first expressed to Baguio Bishop Carlito Cenzon in 2011.

At a news conference about Holy Week and summer activities in the city on Wednesday, Baguio Rep. Bernardo Vergara said Mr. Aquino would not treat Baguio too harshly if the city’s tourism stakeholders had a better way of recording tourist arrivals.

Vergara, who is running for reelection with the United Nationalist Alliance, suspected that the city’s tourism figures were underreported, and people who troop annually to the Baguio Flower Festival should have raised the city’s tourism figures substantially to show that Baguio remains a top tourist drawer.

Records from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) showed that the number of foreigners, domestic tourists and balikbayan who visited Baguio from 2005 to 2011 increased.

The NSCB said the city hosted 637,298 tourists in 2005, and the figure peaked at 814,975 visitors in 2008. But this dropped to 552,497 visitors in 2011.

“We should not allow anyone to shout out to other parts of the country that Baguio is no longer an attractive destination. We must all cooperate so this [image] is not the country’s portrait of Baguio,” he said.

For the Lenten weekend alone, the Baguio police expect to serve a “floating population of 400,000,” said Senior Supt. Jesus Cambay, city police director, at the news conference.

Cambay said a “floating population” referred to visitors, transient students who did not leave for the summer break and merchants from neighboring towns who travel to Baguio to sell their wares in anticipation of the summer influx of tourists.

Anthony de Leon, head of  Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio  and a flower festival organizer, said the city needed a better system for tracking down its visitors. Vincent Cabreza and Frank Cimatu, Inquirer Northern Luzon


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  • Guest

    pnoy, hindut mo

  • Guest

    penoy hindutmo

  • go88

    put up a club adonis annex in baguio, something like QC circle at night and first lady Abnoy will be very elogious about Baguio.

  • Hey_Dudes

    I visited Baguio few times in the good old decade 50’s and it was a place you can be proud of. The last I saw Baguio was in the late 90’s and I swear I will never go back there again. The trip as it was back then in the 50’s is no longer worth it. I don’t know what kind of leadership Baguio has today but whoever allowed the squatters ruined this summer capital should be strung to the highest pine tree if you see one. One need to be dressed up to take a leisurely walk along Session Road. Today, you dressed up and pickpockets will have an easy way divesting you of your wallets and others. Never again.

    • Romy Garzon

      I fully agree that Baguio was no longer the Baguio I knew even in the 80’s. Squatters, pickpockets and swindlers ruined it’s once peaceful & blissfull ambience. Where have all the pine trees, peaceful streets and charming parks gone? Gone to malls, pickpockets and squatters, everyone.

  • boybakal

    Baguio will not be the same as it was before.
    Baguio then was called City of Pine as Pine tress are in abundance with Pine air.
    Today, Baguio is the City of People, as People are in abundance with Smelly People.
    Not only city of people but city of squatters.

    The City of Baguio should limit or regulate people from living in Baguio permanently.
    There should be limit on migration from below, mostly from Bisayas.

    Baguio should be confined only to Igorots and Ifugaos….they will be extinguished soon by too much migration of squatters.

    • Darth2D2

      mga taga-bisayas ba talaga? parang mga taga-pangasinan, la union, maynila at mga muslim ang napapansin ko.

  • doublecross

    eh paano naman kc, puro business ang nasa utak nila, yan kagaya ni vergara at domogan, wala naman sila nagagawa kundi maghintay lang at mkinabang sa grasyang darating. tama ka nga Pnoy, yong turismo d2, pabahay na lang ang ibigay mo.

  • Payutenyo DAgimas

    its not tourism that destroyed Baguio. its overpopulation. the city was not planned to have half a million people. i think the number was just for ten thousand residents.

    even Manila was not planned to have 3M residents. even Boracay. think about it. the Philippines was more beautiful when the population was just 10M. thats why Palawan is beautiful because of its unspoiled attractions.

    Baguio is supposed to be a summer retreat capital, meaning, a quiet place, an invigorating place but when you pack it with so many people, occupying all the mountains and forest around it, then you lost that distinction. how can you have a retreat when its just the same as metro manila? the only difference, it is in a mountain?

  • coty

    ha ha while we are in this issue, hey whatever happened to that overrated announcement or proclamation about the dismantling of “illegal structures” on the beach of Boracay?! well, the national govt. must have found out too late they cannot “touch” them influential big time stakeholders ever! so what happens now?! as it always happens, s*** happens! they always start with a big bang and always ends up with a wee bit of a whimper! derisive laughter!

    • Windtalker827

      dapat nanood ka ng Failon Ngayon para nakita mo kung paano tinutukan ni Ted yung Resort ni Pacquiao… tsaka LGU ang nagbibigay ng business permits sa isang lugar…Si Meyor ang nakaka-alam kung ano ang dapat mangyari sa lugar nya di ba?

  • Monsi Serrano

    Just like Tagaytay, Baguio is truly missing its old glory and the cool place. Thanks to SM for their greed that aggravated the environmental problem. I remember before my late sister Sonia took me to Baguio and we went around the area and also to the Fireplace at Hyatt. After few days of stay in Baguio, my memory of Baguio is so unforgettable. For me it was a heaven. I go to Baguio to visit 3 places, Forest House, Manor Hotel and Camp John Hay. In Tagaytay, when I was still studying there at Divine Word Seminary Tagaytay, the fog still descends evening during summer at noontime. Truly, greed will destroy everything, even the most beautiful place. But unknowingly nature will strike back with its wrath… In Baguio, so many pickpockets, vendors & also pollution. The garbage stinks up to heaven. So many squatters already left and right.

  • Yobhtron

    I fully concur with the other comments that Baguio stinks and looks like Manila. The beautiful sceneries are gone and replaced by ugly and stinking squatters. Don’t bother going to Baguio. Nagalas nga lugar yen ngarud!

    • Darth2D2

      ang sabi ng kaibigan kong kankana-ey, marami raw doon ay hindi squatters. mga lupa talaga ng mga igorot ‘yon, tapos tinayuan nila ng bahay nila ng sila lang, kaya ganoon-ganoon na lang ang itsura. but, yes, the place is unsightly. i think sagada now is what baguio used to look like. sana hindi masira ang sagada.

  • Payutenyo DAgimas

    all the comments mean the same WAS MORE BEAUTIFUL BEFORE..when there fewer people

  • iping2sison

    The main reason why visitors to Baguio are declining mainly due to environment degradation. Unlike, in the 60’s and 70’s, when I had worked in Camp 6, Tuba, the area was still full of pine trees and the climate is cool during summer. Nowadays, the temperature is almost the same as in the lowlands due to bald mountains, and conversions of slopes into housing sites/projects. The once beautiful Mines View Park is now a scene of tin roof houses in the mountain slopes. I hope government officials of Baguio City and the Province of Benguet work together to restore the beauty of the mountains.

  • Brax82

    Wait for it……………..”Kasalanan ni Gloria ito!”

  • indiosbravos2002

    What the President made was a factual observation, hindi na malamig sa Baguio particularly sa downtown district. Wala nang hangin kasi blocked na ng maramig buildings. You’ll need AC in the afternoon just to feel cool. At sa dami ng tao, Sessin road looks like Recto at rush hour. Heavy traffic, madaming tao at vendors at siksikan.

  • $8866117

    talagang meron diperensiya si presidente aquino, kung naalala ninyo duon sa isa niyang talumpati, sabi ni presidente ang tourism will make the economy stronger, but before the start of the holy week president aquino in another press conference this time he is criticizing Baguio City for its being dirty and lots of squaters and he could no longer see the hills of baguio. President aquino, ano ba talaga ang gusto mo, parang walang direction ang mga pinagsasabi mo.

    • maypakialamtayo

      tama ka, hindi sya nagyayaya ng turista bagkus nagtataboy pa, sya ang pangulo bakit di sya ang gumawa ng paraan para maibalik ang ganda ng baguio, sya ang pangulo bakit pinabayaan nyang magputol ng pine tree ang SM dun, o talagang may diprensya siya?

    • Darth2D2

      wala namang kontradiksyon doon a. pag nilinis at pinaganda pa nga ang baguio ay dadama ang turista.

    • nakatutok

      ” for its being dirty..???..SQUATERS????….ayusin nyo po grammar at SQUATTERS po ang tamang spelling…

      • Guest

        hindut mo, magpakamatay ka na lang, wala kang binatbat

      • $8866117

        je suis votre cauchemar le plus mauvais, debauche de mere. in English, I am your worst nightmare, mother fcuker

    • nakatutok

      hello mr GUESS SPEAKER….INPERTINENT comment …

      • $8866117

        hindut mo, walang laman ang utak mo kundi ako. ano ibig sabihin nuon talagang wala kang binatbat

      • $8866117

        now I, know I am YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE., debauche de mere

  • Darth2D2

    baguio officials need to look into better city planning. the place’s reputation is bigger than these guys could imagine. maybe they think that tourists need to accept baguio for what it is or just forget about coming, i don’t know, but the truth is many areas (not all) are ugly . keep people from making residential areas out of places that are tourist attractions perhaps. government-designated tourism center na ba ang baguio? if it is so, dapat ay gawin nilang mas tourist friendly, with the local government working closely with tour operators. sabihin natin na ganoon na nga ang sitwasyon, but the way things look now can give you the impression na unregulated at kani-kaniya ang mga service provider. maybe they can establish and strictly implement laws so that tourists become more respectful and mindful of their actions. pag nahuli kang nag-va-vandalize or whatever ay i-a-anathemize ka o ihuhulog ka sa bangin. i’m feeling bad too for the real natives of baguio (ibaloi, kankana-ey, etc.) because i feel like there’s too much encroachment into their ancestral lands. things simply have to be much more organized, pero mukhang kailangan talaga nila ng consultant na bigatin para doon (hagedorn perhaps?). i still love baguio though. PMA, the good shepherd convent (kahit hindi ako katoliko), john hay, mura at masarap na pagkain, the expression of native culture (which i hope they preserve forever), good taste, jack’s, the people, their language, etc. and you can definitely have a darn good time there without having to break the bank.

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