'Salad Bowl of the Philippines' is how Benguet is often described. This is obviously because the province is noted for its huge production of fresh upland vegetables. Benguet is currently producing and delivering a big portion of fresh vegetables and other perishable products sold across Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon. Not only is it known for its products; the province is also noted as a popular tourism destination.
Benguet is unique because it is sitting comfortably on top of the Cordillera Mountains. The altitude is quite high as it is about 5,000 above sea level. The province has sloping and rugged terrains, with deep valleys. It is this characteristic that gives it a cooler temperature and climate compared to all other provinces across the country. The capital town of La Trinidad is located in a wide plateau amidst the mountain peaks.
Benguet is situated at the southern portion of the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. It is sharing borders with the provinces of Pangasinan in the south and Ilocos Sur and La Union in the west. Because of its geographic location, it is serving as a gateway to the rest of the region’s highland provinces.
There are 13 municipalities in the province. Benguet has a total land area of about 2,600 square kilometers. Two thirds of this area is comprised of forest land and timberland. It is the most populated province in the Cordillera Region with a head count of about 373,000. Local tribes of Ibaloys, Kankana-eys, and Kalanguyas are living harmoniously with local and foreign migrants.
Nature has truly endowed Benguet with vast riches. Wide areas of timberland, fertile soil, and mineral deposits abound in the province. Its ideal subtropical and cool climate alone could be considered a clear distinctive asset. Cool weather and pine-clad mountains make it a veritable paradise especially for Filipinos from the lowlands who are weary of the tropical heat during summer. Mining, agriculture, and tourism are major industries.
Located in the interior of the province is the City of Baguio, dubbed as the summer capital of the Philippines. This city was established by the Americans in the 1900s in an obvious attempt to put up an urban center that could replicate typical US cities. The place is mixing natural beauty, fresh air, and culture in a nice and ideal manner.
Tourism is definitely Baguio’s main industry. Local tourists flock the city all year round, with volumes of them getting higher during summer and yearend holidays. There are about 80 hotels, inns, and other forms of accommodations available. There are also numerous eateries and specialty restaurants that serve the most sumptuous dishes using the freshest locally produced ingredients. Tourists always have a good time shopping for fresh vegetables, strawberries, fruits, peanut brittles, and home-made desserts.
On the second or third month of the year, Baguio City becomes busy as the volume of tourists peaks in time for the annual Panagbenga Festival. The yearly event is a month-long flower festival held as a tribute to Baguio’s flowers. It was started in 1995 as the Baguio Flower Festival, an event originally intended to help its people rise up from the devastation of a killer quake in July, 1990. During the festival, a parade of flower-decorated floats runs, inspired by the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena (Los Angeles, California).
How to get there
Buses get off Pasay and Cubao bus terminals going to Baguio City every 30 minutes all day.