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

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 said that the DOT will continue to 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.

“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.

Puyat visited Baguio 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.”

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, and local color” together with local artists.

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.

Meanwhile, those who want to participate in the crawl can explore the 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.

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.

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 northern part of the country. Its collection includes works that celebrate the regional culture and the heritage.

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

“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.

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