Baguio City is among the first destinations in the country to reopen its doors to tourism. It is also among the first to hold a festival called Ibagiw 2020, which consists of a number of community-supported activities that attest to the resiliency of Baguio citizens, most especially its artists and artisans.

Launched on November 6, Ibagiw 2020 is a month-long creative festival that showcases Baguio City’s rich and vibrant culture and history. 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is optimistic that initiatives such as the Ibagíw Festival will sustain the treasured traditions and art forms of the City of Pines, which is also well-known for its cultural tourism aside from cool mountain weather and scenic green views.  

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat gave assurances that the DOT would continue to promote Baguio as a creative city and support its development for arts and culture. 

“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,” Puyat said.

Puyat was in Baguio City to see Ibagiw 2020’s highlights such as its lineup of creative crawls and series of tours showcasing Baguio’s artistic and cultural heritage sites.

Some of the festival activities include the exhibit “Interlinked” mounted at the newly-refurbished Baguio Convention Center.

Puyat 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.

Another Ibagiw 2020 highlight is the Art in the Park at Sunshine Park where  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 were done.

Another activity is exploration of the Mirador Hill, a nine-hectare Jesuit property that offers breathtaking views of Baguio and Benguet.

Another 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.

There’s also a visit to the BenCab Museum where works of the national artist for Visual Arts Benedicto Cabrera, other Filipino masters, and rising contemporary creatives are exhibited.

A trip to Mandeko Kito Artisanal Market, an arts and crafts fair organized by the University of the Philippines-Baguio that feature local talent in the Cordillera Region, and a visit to the Museo Kordilyera, the first ethnographic museum in the northern part of the country, are also part of the Ibagiw 2020 Festival. 

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, according to Puyat.

“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,” Puyat said.