June 2, 2023

The city council passed an ordinance that sought to institutionalize the Session Road History and Heritage Festival.
Authored by Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan and Councilor Elaine Sembarano, the ordinance sought to encourage Baguio residents and tourists to be aware of the history of Session Road, which “has already been forgotten and has even become unknown to most residents.”
The festival will be held on every Sunday of each week starting on the third Sunday of April until the second Sunday of June of every year.
The dates, however, may be subject to adjustment to avoid conflict of schedule with other official activities of the city.
Under the ordinance, the stretch of Session Road from the rotunda near Upper Session Road and Luneta Hill Drive to the intersection of Lower Session Road fronting People’s Park will be closed on the specified dates.
Every Sunday during the specified period, restaurants and fast food establishments will be allowed to bring out tables and chairs for their customers fronting their premises only and will not occupy the whole portion of the street.
The ordinance stressed there will be no trade fairs, tiangges, baratillos, or selling of general merchandise along Session Road during the celebration as such activities are not in line with the theme of the festival.
An exemption will only be granted to those that have already been conducting business activities along Session Road provided they have business permits.
Business owners along the said stretch of the road will be requested to beautify their frontage with flowers or ornamental plants.
Landmark areas along Session Road including the site where the old Baden-Powell was situated will be provided with banners, tarpaulins, or other appropriate materials containing information about these areas’ historical significance.
Fixed markers may later be installed by the city government upon the approval of the owners of the building.
A working committee will be formed for the implementation of this ordinance.
The committee will conduct a research to document significant events at Session Road, which will be the basis for the crafting of guidelines for the preservation or restoration of historical sites along Session Road.
An organized guided historical walk or tour will be performed only by the accredited tour guides in the city.
The working committee will likewise coordinate with local artists for the conduct of activities that are in line with the purpose and theme of the event.
An amount of P500,000 will be allocated annually for the purpose in the budget of the Tourism and Special Events Division under the City Administrator’s Office.
The division may likewise coordinate with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts for possible additional funding.
Session Road was named as such because it leads to the location of the site (Old Baden-Powell at Gov. Pack Road) where the Philippine Commission held its sessions in Baguio from April 22 to June 11, 1904, in which 74 Acts were approved and 272 resolutions wer passed.
The commission was composed of Governor-General Luke E. Wright and commissioners Henry C. Ide, Dean Conant Worcester, Trinidad Pardo Tavera, Benito Legard, Jose de Luzuriaga, James Francis Smith, and Cameron Forbes. – Jordan G. Habbiling