BAGUIO CITY: The Baguio Heritage Foundation Inc. (BHFI) is asking the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to recognize Baguio Cathedral, Igorot Park, Mines View Park, Session Road, Burnham Park, Harrison Road and Malcolm Square as heritage sites.
Former city architect Joseph Alabanza said BHFI, a non-stock non-profit organization, wants “ to preserve all irreplaceable heritage assets of Baguio City to address overdevelopment which the city is facing.
“Baguio has its own limits,” said Alabanza in reference to the city’s rapid development in recent press conference hosted by BHFI.
Bishop Carlito Cenzon of the Diocese of Baguio described Baguio as “a city under construction”.
“So the challenge now is how to manage Baguio when it has gone beyond its capacities,” said Cenzon, who called on Baguio residents to unite to help Baguio keep its remaining beauty.
More than a century ago, Baguio was designed by American architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham to comfortably accommodate only 25,000 people most of whom where native Ibaloys back then. Now, Baguio’s population is more than 10 times that number.
The BHFI’s pursuit is in line with the city’s tourism thrust, which City Tourism Officer Benny Alhambra called “destination-based”.
Alhambra likewise commented on the overdevelopment of the city by rhetorically, asking “Why build a city glorious when what we build comes and goes?”
Meanwhile, United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Baguio President Aris Go admitted to architects’ partial fault in the city’s overdevelopment.
He said corrective measures are nonetheless being put forward by the UAP through its conduct of workshops and education campaigns for architects.
Go added that when it comes to city planning, the act of planning has to be separate from the government and the term of office of politicians and that the plans have to be long term.
Several places in the city such as the Baguio Country Club, Casa Vallejo, Dominican Hill and The Mansion have been installed with historical markers by the NHCP.
Before a place can be declared as a heritage site, the place must first be considered for its value and it must also have support from the local government unit through a resolution. Once a place is declared a heritage site, its original structure must be maintained.