April 20, 2024

The City of Pines was recently declared by travel app Agoda to be on the top 10 list of the cheapest tourist destinations in the Asia Pacific region.
Baguio City made it to number six on the list as the Philippines’ most affordable destination for the year end, with Hat Yai in Thailand taking the top spot.
This might explain the influx of tourists during the holidays or even regular days to experience the temperate weatherin the Summer Capital and its neighboring towns of Benguet while vacationing on a tight budget.
Year in and year out, traffic congestion is a staple part of holidays for Baguio residents and tourists. The horrible gridlock now extends and affects residents of La Trinidad, Tuba, and Itogon, all in Benguet.
As the year progresses, it gets more challenging too. As Baguio population grows, so does the number of tourists, due to many factors such as opening of accessible roads and the opening of new tourism sites in the city and nearby towns of Benguet.
Travel up north has been made easy with the operation of an expressway from Tarlac to nearby La Union province, which also contributes to the influx of tourists over the past years.
The Baguio City Police Office has reminded the public of alternative routes they could go through to avoid the heavy traffic at the central business district as part its traffic plan. To accommodate more vehicles, the Baguio City National High School and Quezon Elementary School grounds were opened as parking spaces to address the limited parking areas in the city.
The holiday gridlock calls for another round of traffic management summit, as the situation will here to stay especially when the city holds the annual Panagbenga next year.
Baguio officials have acknowledged that the local irritability has gone up due to the continuing traffic woes, but they asked the residents to extend their patience.
The situation also serves as a challenge for the city leadership to implement the much-hyped smart mobility transportation systemwhere artificial intelligence would be used to manage the mobility system of the city.
In the city’s new vision, “Baguio 2043 – A creative, inclusive and livable city”, it stated that the vision is about overcoming the projected onset of irreversible urban decay by 2043.
The new vision is in line with the updating of the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan 2024 to 2032, which charts the city’s physical and economic development for the next eight years and the Comprehensive Development Plan 2023 to 2028, which contains the city’s development programs in the next five years.
The implementation of these plans is the gargantuan tasks that city leaders are meant to scale, in achieving its vision for the city to become livable in the coming years to come.
In crafting for the future, it is always good to look back at the city’s history, on what the city’s forefathers envisioned it to be – a sanatorium and a cool haven to escape the humid heat of this tropical country.
This still remains to be the case for most tourists coming up to the city. They, like the people of Baguio, on a tight budget, wants to see the city’s sights and breathe its cool air.