DOT chief visits Baguio City, touts cultural tourism with creative crawls

Baguio City, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) touts cultural tourism in Baguio as it remains optimistic that initiatives such as the Ibagíw Festival will sustain the treasured traditions and art forms of the city.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat at the Baguio Convention Center with National Artist for Film Kidlat Tahimik.
Photo courtesy of Denison G. Manuel

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that the DOT will promote Baguio as a creative city and support its development for arts and culture. The move to highlight Baguio’s cultural tourism comes as the city celebrates Ibagiw 2020, a month-long creative festival that showcases its rich and vibrant culture and history.

On the spot weaving at the Sunshine Park for the Art in the Park Opening Ceremony
On the spot weaving at the Sunshine Park for the Art in the Park Opening Ceremony

“Baguio is more than just its natural wonders, and we want more Filipinos to rediscover what UNESCO designated as a Creative City for Crafts and Folk Arts. Initiatives like Ibagiw will certainly help revive tourism in the region and jumpstart the local economy,” said Secretary Puyat.

Local artists showcase their artworks at Sunshine Park for the Art in the Park Opening. The exhibit will run until November 30, 2020.
Local artists showcase their artworks at Sunshine Park for the Art in the Park Opening. The exhibit will run until November 30, 2020.

Puyat visited Baguio City to see Ibagiw 2020’s highlights, such as its lineup of creative crawls and series of tours that showcase Baguio’s artistic and cultural heritage sites.

She added, “Experiencing the Ibagiw 2020 festival ensures the bright future of Baguio’s creative economy while keeping its traditions and art forms alive.”

National Artist for Film Kidlat Tahimik welcoming the media at the Baguio Convention Center
National Artist for Film Kidlat Tahimik welcoming the media at the Baguio Convention Center

She began the tour at the newly-refurbished Baguio Convention Center, with an ongoing exhibit called “Interlinked.” The Tourism Secretary personally met with National Artist for Film Kidlat Tahimik, who created pieces that explore themes of “community, collective memory, personal and cultural identity, environmental activism, social commentary, contemporary society, humor local color” together with local artists.

Textile-weaver at Art in the Park Baguio City
Textile-weaver at Art in the Park Baguio City

She also visited the Art in the Park at Sunshine Park to witness different activities such as spot painting by local visual artists, craft demonstrations by local artisans such as textile-weaving and wood-carving, and a photo exhibit of native plants in the Philippines.

View from Mirador Hill
View from Mirador Hill

Meanwhile, those who want to participate in the crawl can explore Mirador Hill, a nine-hectare Jesuit property that offers breathtaking views of Baguio and Benguet’s breathtaking views. This is followed by a trip to the BenCab Museum, where works of the national artist for Visual Arts Benedicto Cabrera, other Filipino masters, and rising contemporary creatives are exhibited.

Kidlat Tahimik inside Ili-Likha Artists Village
Kidlat Tahimik inside Ili-Likha Artists Village

Another itinerary that is part of the creative crawl is Ili-Likha Artists Village, the brainchild of Kidlat Tahimik. Built around trees redesigned with recycled materials, the village showcases artistic works and serves as an inspiration hub for local and emerging artists.

Local Handmade products sold at Mandeko Kito Artisanal Market
Local Handmade products sold at Mandeko Kito Artisanal Market

This is followed by a trip to the Mandeko Kito Artisanal Market, an arts and crafts fair organized by the University of the Philippines Baguio, to feature local talent in the Cordillera Region. Lastly, guests will visit the Museo Kordilyera, the first ethnographic museum in the country’s northern part. Its collection includes works that celebrate regional culture and heritage.

Bencab Museum
Bencab Museum

DOT’s support of Baguio’s rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship in wood carving, silver craft, weaving, tattooing, and more could help support locals’ livelihood and help the city recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Artist for Visual Arts Benjamin “BenCab” Cabrera spearheads the Wood Carving Competition held at BenCab Museum
National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera spearheads the Wood Carving Competition held at BenCab Museum

“The pandemic has brought on challenges for everyone, especially those working in the tourism industry. Creative crawls bring guests to places they may not have visited before, thus supporting more locals. This means no one gets left behind as we rebuild tourism,” shares Puyat.

Those who wish to go to Baguio after Ibagiw 2020 can still experience the creative crawl through accredited tour operators.

For more information about the Philippines, visit app.philippines.travel.

Want more updates about new package tours and tourist spots in Baguio City? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on FacebookTwitterInstagramBloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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