One thing admirable about the Cordillera people is how they preserve their culture and heritage, and their passion in supporting local artists. This can be testified by the museums and villages that showcase their rich culture and heritage as well as events that promote local Cordilleran artistry. Not like on other parts of the country, Cordillerans still perform their rituals and traditions, and continues to wear their traditional clothing.
In Baguio City alone – the heart of the Cordilleran region – well-preserved museums, villages, and historical sites can be found almost everywhere that further strengthens the promotion of the Cordilleran pride.
Tam-awan, a local word which means “vantage point” is a habitat for local Cordilleran artists. It was established by National artist Ben Cab in 1998 to promote Baguio’s art and culture scene. Different types of artworks can be found in the village. Aside from the artworks, replicas of traditional Ifugao houses were also created as part of the mini-cultural tour in the village. At the peak it, you will enjoy the view of Baguio City, the reason why the place got its name. Tam-awan also features a café where local Cordilleran cuisine can be enjoyed.
Museo Kordillera – UP Baguio Ethnographic Museum
Museo Kordillera, located inside the UP-Baguio Campus, is a museum that aims to serve as a repository of tangible and intangible heritage of the region. It features artifacts and unique Cordilleran objects that showcase its people, culture, and tradition. As of the moment, there are three exhibits in the museum – the “Batok Tattoos: Body as Archive”, based on the research of Director Analyn Salvador-Amores; “Jules de Raedt: Life Works, Lived Worlds”, a retrospective of de Raedt’s work; and, “The Indigenous, In Flux: Reconfiguring the Ethnographic Photograph” by Roland Rabang.
Situated at upper session road, Casa Vallejo is a heritage site and one of the oldest buildings in the city. It is referred to as Dormitory 4 constructed by the Americans to house construction workers who helped built Baguio City. Today, Casa Vallejo is a boutique hotel with 24 rooms, gourmet restaurant, and a spa.
Baguio Museum displays artifacts and relics that speak of the cultural heritage, customs, and traditions of the Mountain Provinces, with each display focusing on different indigenous group in the region. There is even a mummy displayed on the museum. On the third floor you will find items that depict the history of Baguio from pre-American era up to the present.
Session Road is pegged as the City’s central business district. Not known to many, Session Road also plays a significant role in our country’s history. As a matter of fact, Session got its name because it is where the first session of the 2nd Philippine Commission was held, particularly at the Baden-Powell Hall which is now the Badell-Powell Inn. The 2nd Philippine Commission held its sessions there from April 22 to June 11, 1904 and officially initiated the use of Baguio as the Philippine Summer Capital. A marker by what is now Baden-Powell Inn on Governor Pack Road stands as the only visible evidence that anything of historical significance ever took place on Session Road. Also, an eight-rock formation art design was installed at the session road rotunda as representation of the 8 members of the 2nd Philippine Commission. It was created by the Igorot stone sculptor, Gilbert Gano.
This proves how Cordillerans protect and preserve their culture and heritage, that even in the changing world where trends and cultures influence others, they are able keep theirs alive. And Baguio is not only about pine trees and the cool weather, but also a haven of arts, culture, and heritage.