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A collation of other centenarians in Baguio
by Leia Castro

Baguio City is counting days before it officially celebrates its 100th charter anniversary. But a lot of places, institutions, and even living things have celebrated their centennial year much earlier than the city. Here is a look at some of them as well as those that will also be celebrating their centennial shortly after the city does.

Pine Trees
The oldest pine tree in the city is 229 years old this year! This is based on standard dating techniques conducted by Dr. William Wright of the New York-based Columbia University in 2006. The pine tree can be found along the way to Mines View Park in Barangay Pucsusan. The second oldest pine tree stands above the Wright Park horse rental area beside the famed stone steps and is about 187 years old.

JesuitSanctuary and Observatory on Mirador Hill
“El Mirador” was the name given by Don Manuel Scheidnagel, governor politico-militar of Baguio, to a hill overlooking Lingayen Gulf, La Union, and South China Sea.

The Mirador Hill, as we now know it, was being eyed by the Jesuits of Ateneo de Manila to become their sanitarium as early as 1890. By 1900, the Jesuits were able to establish a meteorological and seismic station at Mirador as a branch of the Manila Observatory.

They were only able to acquire the hill during the 1906 public auction of lots in Baguio. The following year, the Jesuits started building the first of their residences which also served as a sanitarium and summer retreat. In 1908, the road to the summit of Mirador was built along with the construction of stone buildings to house visiting priests from Manila.

In 1913 the famous Lourdes Grotto was constructed followed by the completion of the stairway some five years later.
At present, Mirador Hill is still being used for retreats and as a meeting center for Church groups.

Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay celebrated its centennial in 2003. The camp named after John Milton Hay was founded in October 1903 after US President Theodore Roosevelt signed over a reservation of 216.85 hectares to the US army post in Baguio. Over the years the boundaries of the reservation gradually expanded
and in 1991, during the turnover of the base to the Philippine government, the reserve covered 677 hectares.

Visitors will learn of the more than 100-year history of the camp from pastureland to its present state when they visit a living museum called the John Hay
Historical Core.

Worth noting in the historical core are two places that are almost as old as the city. One is the Bell amphitheater named after Gen. J. Franklin Bell, which was made in 1915. This open-air auditorium was made in such a way that sound would be heard from the center going up to the leveled gardens where people were expected to be.

Above the amphitheater is a 102-year-old house called the Commanding General’s summer residence. The house has been turned into a repository of memorabilia and photos of life in the camp.

Kennon Road
The construction of the Kennon Road or Benguet Road, as it was initially called, started on Jan. 15, 1901. Road building passed through numerous hands until Col. Lyman Kennon was appointed to oversee its development from July 16, 1903 until it was declared finished on Jan. 29, 1905.

The road was built by hundreds of Filipinos, Japanese, Chinese, and other foreign nationals many of whom sacrificed life and limb to make the first road to Baguio City. It is one of the most expensive, yet best mountain roads in the world. It also remains to be the shortest and most scenic route to travel from the lowlands.

A memorial marker was unveiled beside the Camp 7 view deck on July 4, 2005 as a testament to the master architect and to the inter-racial builders of the historic road.

The Baguio Country Club
The Baguio Country Club is now 104 years old after celebrating its centennial on Feb. 18, 2005. The Country Club was founded by William Cameron Forbes starting as a “one-room shack” used to provide sports and recreation for American soldiers, mining executives, and tourists. It was inaugurated on April 8, 1906 and registered as the Baguio Country Club Corporation on Feb. 20, 1907. Today it is a sprawling complex of 167 rooms and 17 European-inspired cottages complete with all the amenities of a first-class hotel. It remains to be one of the most important venues for social and business gatherings, sports, rest, and recreation.

Philippine Military Academy
The Philippine Military Academy celebrated its centennial in 2005. However, history says the academy might even be older, as its origins can be traced to the Academia Militar which was established by Gen. Emilio Aguinalo in Malolos, Bulacan in 1898.

Under the American Colonial Government, the Philippine Commission created the Philippine Constabulary on Aug. 8, 1905. The Officers’ School for the Bureau of Constabulary was likewise set up in Intramuros, Manila. Three years later, the school was transferred to Constabulary Hill in Baguio City, the place we now know as Camp Henry T. Allen. The school was renamed Philippine Constabulary Academy and started its first classes on Sept. 1, 1908.

In 1935, under the Commonwealth Government, the Philippine Military Academy was created to replace the PCA. The PMA increased its population after it was authorized to maintain a cadet strength of 350. This also caused the transfer of the growing academy to Teachers Camp in June 1936 where it remained until WWII broke out.

In April 1947 the PMA went back to Camp Allen but the increasing number of cadets forced them to look for a bigger training ground. Thus, in May 1950 the PMA opened its permanent home in Fort del Pilar, Loakan, Baguio City.

Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae
November 2007 marked the centennial of the arrival of the first Belgian CICM missionaries in the Philippines. The first missionaries composed of Superior Peter Dierickx, Florimond Carlu, Albert Dereume, Seraphin Devesse, Constant Jurgens, Jules Sepulchre, Oktaaf Vandewalle, Henri Verbeeck, and Christiaan Hulsbosch (brother) arrived on Nov. 2, 1907 .

They went on to establish missions in Baguio City, Bauko, and Cervantes and later on the whole archipelago. Notable among the CICM ‘s contributions are the various educational institutions all over the country which will soon be celebrating their centennial. Among them are the St. Louis University in Baguio City; St. Mary’s University in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya; Saint Louis College in San Fernando City, La Union; Saint Louis School in Mandaue City, Cebu; Maryhurst Seminary in Baguio City; University of St. Louis in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan; Maryhill School of Theology in Quezon City; and Maryshore Seminary in Bacolod City.

Teachers Camp
Teachers Camp was designated as a place where the first American school teachers—the Thomasites—assigned from posts all over the Philippines can converge for training, rest, and recreation. The first camp was held on April 6 to May 30, 1908. A total of 217 adults and 24 children attended the initial event using tents furnished with beds, tables, washstands, and kerosene lanterns. The summer camp became a popular annual event which led to the development of permanent buildings starting with the KURSAAK in 1909. Leveling of the athletic field and roads leading to the camp came in next. Other buildings such as the Benitez Hall, Ladies Hall, the Secretary’s Cottage, the Undersecretary’s Cottage, the Director, and the Assistants’ Cottages were built in 1912.

University of the Philippines
The University of the Philippines Baguio is one of the seven constituent universities of the UP system. It was established through the initiative of UP alumni in Baguio and Benguet and inaugurated as the UP College Baguio on April 22, 1961. It was upgraded to its present autonomous university status in December 2002.

While UP Baguio is just 48 years old, it nevertheless celebrated the centennial of the UP system which was established on June 18, 1908. The UP system began its centennial celebration on Jan. 8, 2008, with a 100-torch relay to light the eternal flame on the Centennial Cauldron at Quezon Hall in UP Diliman, Quezon City. Torches were carried by, among others, 100-year-old Fernando Javier of Baguio City who is the oldest UP alumnus graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering from UP Manila in 1933. Locally, UP Baguio conducted a series of seminars, fora, publications, and conferences to celebrate the school’s centennial. This also included a comeback to the Baguio Flower Festival Street Dancing Parade in 2008, where the UP contingent brought along with them an effigy of the UP Oblation.

The Mansion
The Mansion or “Mansion House” was built in 1907 to 1908 to become the official residence of American governor-generals starting with Gov. Gen. William Cameron Forbes. President Manuel Quezon was the first Filipino president to stay in the Mansion, which has also become the official highland residence of succeeding Philippine presidents.

Commemorative markers of the Mansion’s centennial anniversary were unveiled by President Gloria Arroyo on Dec. 30, 2008. These can be found on the imposing black gates of the Mansion, which are said to be patterned after the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Visitors to the Mansion are allowed only a few meters after the gates, but they might find the opportunity to see the interior of the halls and maybe even the other buildings as plans to have a Mansion open house are being mulled as part of the Baguio Centennial Celebration this year.
Burnham Park

The development of Burnham Park is almost as old as the city itself. Although the park does not have an official inauguration date, historical records show that plans for the development of Burnham Park began in December 1904 after landscape architect Daniel H. Burnham and his assistant Peirce Anderson visited Baguio.

A series of events and developments in the park have been photographed over the years. By 1911, man-made Burnham Lake was already visible with water coming from four brooks, one of which is the Minak, enclosed in its rectangular form. By 1914, the park already had a race track, nine-hole public golf course, and a skating rink. In 1915, Baguio hosted a grand carnival in Burnham Park. A fountain was added sometime in the 1920s. Other add-ons, removals, and renovations have continued over the decades until today.

At present, development in Burnham Park is focused in the rehabilitation and fencing of the Children’s Park with funding coming from donations of families and
individuals who have grown old with the park and have regarded it a special place in their hearts.

Baguio Market
Like Burnham Park, the Baguio Public Market will not celebrate its centennial on a particular year. The original Baguio market, however, was put up in 1908 with the construction of two wooden buildings. This was replaced by the Stone Market constructed in 1917, the labor provided by German prisoners of World War I. Part of the stone market was subsequently replaced by the Maharlika Livelihood Complex sometime in the 1970s at the behest of First Lady Imelda Marcos. The recent fires that gutted sections of the Baguio Public Market revealed to the public the original stone posts and walls of the stone market. Many marveled at the beauty of the stone structures. A test of their structural stability will determine whether they will eventually be demolished or preserved in the impending need to construct a new market building.

Baguio City Hall
The original structure of the City Hall overlooking Burnham Park was finished in 1911. However, this was destroyed during the WWII carpet bombing of the city and was replaced in 1950 with the building we now know of.

Naguilian Road
The Naguilian Road or Baguio-Bauang Road started as a Spanish horse trail and was the only means of reaching Baguio before the building of Kennon Road. When Kennon Road was made impassable due to rains in 1911, the development of Naguilian Road as an alternative route to and from Baguio began.

Building of the Dominican order on Dominican Hill
What is now known as the ruins of Diplomat Hotel actually started as the vacation house for the Dominican Order. The original building was started in 1913 and inaugurated on May 23, 1915. It became a school called Collegio del Santissimo Rosario in June 1915 but was closed by 1917, reverting the building back to its original purpose as a sanitarium.

The original structure was destroyed during WWII and was reconstructed in 1947. Diplomat Hotels, Inc. acquired ownership of the building in 1973 and remodeled it into a 33- bedroom hotel with modern facilities but it finally closed down in the 1980s.

Now under the helm of the local government, plans are still being discussed to develop the area into a hotel, prayer mountain, or a mining museum.

Other news
:: Kabugao towards its centennial year
:: Living to be a hundred: A look at two centenarians
:: SVD marks centennial year in Abra
:: Baguio’ centennial athletes
:: ‘We are all Brentonians’ An educational legacy from the Episcopalians
:: SLU centennial: Wishfully looking forward, reverently looking back
:: Mayoyao's thanksgiving festival: Beyond a hundred years
:: Strawberry farms: Juicy future in doubt
:: From ‘warriors’ to educators and missionaries
:: English after a century or so



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