Lenten tourist crowd in Baguio seen to peak at 50,000 | Inquirer News
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Expected arrivals on Holy Thursday highest during Holy Week

Lenten tourist crowd in Baguio seen to peak at 50,000

/ 05:25 AM April 09, 2022
Lenten tourist crowd in Baguio seen to peak at 50,000

FLOWERS ABLOOM Tourists visit the rehabilitated Baguio Botanical Garden along Leonard Wood Road in this photo taken on March 12. Local tourism officials say the number of tourists may reach more than 50,000 during the Holy Week. —ALLAN MACATUNO

BAGUIO CITY — City health and police authorities here are bracing for more crowds as more than 50,000 tourists booked Holy Week trips to the summer capital, and this number would likely double, an official said on Thursday.

City tourism supervisor Aloysius Mapalo said weekend visitor numbers had consistently been high after the city lifted its cap on leisure travelers on March 1.

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In an interview, Mapalo said over 30,000 visitors were cleared for entry by the city’s visitor information and travel assistance platform for this weekend alone. At least 14,491 tourists had been cleared to enter Baguio, while 15,934 more were expected to drive up on Saturday.

IGOROT KINGDOM Tourists visit the Igorot Stone Kingdom along the Long-long Road at Barangay Pinsao in Baguio City in this photo taken on March 13. Local tourism officials said the number of tourists might reach more than 50,000 during the Holy Week. ALLAN MACATUNO

IGOROT KINGDOM Tourists visit the Igorot Stone Kingdom along the Long-long Road at Barangay Pinsao in Baguio City in this photo taken on March 13. Local tourism officials said the number of tourists might reach more than 50,000 during the Holy Week. ALLAN MACATUNO

The city’s cool weather is a natural lure for lowland travelers escaping the summer heat, making March and April part of an extended peak tourist season that traditionally begins in December. At daybreak on Thursday, the temperature dipped to 15.5 degrees Celcius at 5 a.m.

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“Registrations usually increase sharply as the day of travel nears, so figures for Holy Week may still double,” said Mapalo, an engineer.

He added: “Noticeably, April 14, Holy Thursday, has the biggest registrations at 19,342 so far, but may increase up to 40,000” as the prescribed holiday date nears, he said on Friday.

Low virus cases

IGOROT KINGDOM Tourists visit the Igorot Stone Kingdom along the Long-long Road at Barangay Pinsao in Baguio City in this photo taken on March 13. Local tourism officials said the number of tourists might reach more than 50,000 during the Holy Week. ALLAN MACATUNO

IGOROT KINGDOM Tourists visit the Igorot Stone Kingdom along the Long-long Road at Barangay Pinsao in Baguio City in this photo taken on March 13. Local tourism officials said the number of tourists might reach more than 50,000 during the Holy Week. ALLAN MACATUNO

COVID-19 infections are now at its lowest since the pandemic struck in March 2020, with only six active cases undergoing treatment as of Thursday.

Dr. Rowena Galpo, city health services officer, said the vaccines and the natural immunization acquired by former COVID-19 patients appear to have reduced transmissions.

But the city government continues to test up to 350 individuals each day, given the threat still posed by COVID-19 variants, she said during the flag-raising ceremony on Monday.

The city health services office has fully vaccinated 280,524 adults out of the 281,000 target, while 107,674 residents have received their booster shots. Baguio has also fully inoculated 34,529 of the 40,328 youths aged 12 to 17 years old and 8,772 of the 46,955 children aged 5 to 11 years old.

At the National Sangguniang Kabataan Summit on Thursday, Mayor Benjamin Magalong told hundreds of participating teens to take off their masks for a few seconds so they could “breathe Baguio,” the city’s new marketing brand.

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Kennon Road opens

IGOROT KINGDOM Tourists visit the Igorot Stone Kingdom along the Long-long Road at Barangay Pinsao in Baguio City in this photo taken on March 13. Local tourism officials said the number of tourists might reach more than 50,000 during the Holy Week. ALLAN MACATUNO

IGOROT KINGDOM Tourists visit the Igorot Stone Kingdom along the Long-long Road at Barangay Pinsao in Baguio City in this photo taken on March 13. Local tourism officials said the number of tourists might reach more than 50,000 during the Holy Week. ALLAN MACATUNO

On Saturday, these teenagers will also visit the Philippine Military Academy, which opened its doors to leisure travelers on March 24.

Due to the increased travel to Baguio, a government task force has reopened Kennon Road to two-way traffic beginning April 2.

Travel through the famous zigzag road had been regulated for years due to ongoing rehabilitation work, and was only open to motorists at certain hours during weekends.

But the return of guests also brought back traffic jams in downtown Baguio and on roads leading to Camp John Hay and the Baguio Country Club, and popular destinations like Mines View Park, Botanical Garden and the Lourdes Grotto.

RELATED STORY:
No surge amid tourist influx in Baguio

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