Benguet, one of six provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in northern Luzon, Philippines, is considered the gateway to the Philippine Cordillera. It’s a mountainous province with a temperate climate and is inhabited by various ethno-linguistic groups. During the Marcos regime, it belonged to Region 1 together with Mountain Province, the Ilocos provinces and Pangasinan. It was unified within the CAR through President Corazon Aquino’s Executive Order No. 220.
The province is considered the richest in the CAR. First, it has gold and copper mines and other newly-discovered mining industries. Second, because of its temperate climate, it’s the only province that produces western vegetables such as potato, cabbage, carrots. In addition, there are strawberry farms in La Trinidad, the provincial capital and so-called salad bowl of the Philippines. Tourists flock to La Trinidad to buy fresh strawberries and vegetables.
Benguet is where Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines, is located. During April and May, the hottest months in the Philippines, people from the lowlands, especially Manila, come up to Baguio City. In order to reach the city whether traveling by bus, car, van or jeepney, one has to pass first through some towns of Benguet. One could reach Baguio City directly though by flying and landing at the airport in Loakan.
The province has many tourist sites like Baguio City, mummies of Kabayan; Mount Pulag, second highest mountain in the Philippines; Ambuklao Dam; and La Trinidad.
Benguet’s ethno-linguistic groups are the Kankana-eys located in the northwestern part, Ibaloys in the southeastern part and the minor groups: Kalanguya and Karao tribe found in one barangay (barrio) of Bokod municipality. There’s a diversity of dialects that differentiates these tribes, but they are culturally equal that makes them a wonder of being called Igorots. Generally, Benguet inhabitants are called Igorots that refers to all original settlers of the Gran Cordillera Central.
This is Benguet, a land rich in natural resources, with farmlands, forest land, mining fields; a land where valleys, hills and attractive rivers abound and where people known for their industry, and craft and skills live.
Still to learn about the province are its people and its thousand year-old cultures. This introduction will be followed by succeeding topics, among other things, Benguet’s diverse culture, origin of its name and government formation.
“Benguet,” Wikipedia, last modified January 2, 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benguet.
Department of Agriculture-Caraballo and Southern Cordillera Agricultural Development Programme (DA-CASCADE) with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-Benguet), Benguet: The Ideal Investment Venue ([Benguet?]: DA-CASCADE with DTI-Benguet, n.d.).