CITY OF BAGUIO, Historical Data Part IV - Philippine Historical Data CITY OF BAGUIO, Historical Data Part IV - Philippine Historical Data

CITY OF BAGUIO, Historical Data Part IV

City of Baguio



About these Historical Data

[p. 25]

such a practice. The folklore story telling of the origin of headhunting in Bontoc is like most folklore stories; it sounds like a story told by a busy parent to a curious child — given more with the idea of hushing him than of making clear a real explanation.

The Igorots, like the Dyaks of Borneo, or the Papuans, hunted enemies and kept their heads as trophies of war. These heads were placed usually at the gate post or a conspicuous place to impress passsers-by that here lives a man who fought and enemy and won the fight.

The Benguet Igorots tried to stop headhunting among themselves by holding the Bendian dance in which they used a fern tree as an imagined enemy, thrusting their spears into it in a frenzy while performing the war dance. However, headhunting broke out now and then until the government a heavy penalty for the crime.

The Igorot people were divided into small tribes and clans, with everyone proud of his tribe or clan, and devoted to the whims and caprices of those in his clan. Primitive, and following a simple code of living, the men spent their time in fighting to protect [the] honor of the clan. While living in different villages, they declare war against each other, especially when there is bad blood between them. Like all primitive peoples, it is nothing for an Igorot to dig up an old grudge as an excuse for declaring war, or cutting off heads.

[p. 26]

In a war between tribes or villages, a defeated chief is usually beheaded and his jaw taken out and polished, and used as the handle of a gong called gangga. An enemy raiding an Igorot camp often looks for this gangga to reclaim the chief's jaw and takes it back to his own village. A few decades ago, this meant a declaration of war.

Death to an Igorot is not taken as sorrowfully as by the lowland Filipino. Death causes no long or loud lamentation, tearing of [the] hair, or other widespread customs among primitive peoples. When a child or an adult dies, the women assemble and sing a melancholy dirge.

There are neither tears nor wailing for the aged. They say that all old people die, and when they grow old, they, too, will follow. All natural death occurs at the instance of the anito. If the anito so wishes, what can mortals do?

Fancy names

Igorot people are praised for their ability to learn English quickly, and their skill in getting the right idiomatic expressions. Perhaps, it is their lack of inferiority complex that gives them the audacity which, in turn, enables them to grasp things more quickly than their lowland brothers.

For the Igorot is an independent soul who does things as he wishes. He may be cajoled, but cannot be bulldozed. His idea of a white man is based on the treatment that he has received from the

[p. 27]

American people, more paternalistic than intimidating.

When a young Bontoc boy wearing a ragged shirt with a red gee-string was asked how old he was, he answered, "I cannot say, sir. You know, my parents are illiterate and they never knew what year I was born."

This was from a youngster about 15 years of age studying in a mission school in Bontoc. He said that he was in the fifth grade, but his English pleased the American visitors.

A young Igorot boy who had just arrived in Baguio was working for a family. His looks deceived him. [Probably better phrased as "His looks were deceiving."] He could be taken for a first-class boob. One day, he was told to give a neighbor some fragrant Igorot rice. When he brought the rice, he said:

"This Igorot rice is very good for those nourishing babies."

He knew that the lady next door had a little baby. But he surprised people [with] the way he expressed himself, especially when one looked at the barefoot boy whose face did not seem to give any sign of intelligence.

Many of the Igorot people coming to Baguio pick [for] themselves some high sounding names. This one calls himself Washington. His name has become a household joke for a while, with some in the house calling him Napoleon or Lincoln. In his own quiet way, he keeps on with his work, always answering when asked that his name is Washington.

One day, a visitor asked him his name, and when he answered

[p. 28]

that his name was Washington, the visitor asked:

"But what is your last name?"

He answered: "Washington D.C."

[p. 29]



The City of Baguio is one of the first two chartered cities in the Philippines. It is the summer capital of the Philippines, a famous mountain resort and a mining center.

On the coming of the Americans, Baguio was found to be nothing but a small Igorot rancheria. At first, a simple form of municipal government was adopted for Baguio, and it became a township by operation of Act No. 48, enacted November 22, 1900, and Act No. 1397, which replaced it. This type of government continued until July 1909 when Justice George Malcolm was assigned the duty of visiting Baguio, and after investigations of its possibilities of becoming a city, a special law was drafted which provided a suitable city government for Baguio. In this report, it was stated that the fundamental principles which governed the drafting of a workable charter were the following:

a. That the charter be brief. Manila had 88 sections of its charter. The proposed Baguio charter would contain only 32 sections.

b. That were practicable, the general system of law of the Islands be followed. (In this connection, it was pointed out that while innovations in the plan of government for Baguio were imperative, yet the Manila Charter or the Municipal Code as amended were paraphrased to suit conditions in Baguio, wherever possible.

[p. 30]

c. That the charter be general and inclusive.

d. That the city government be simple and inexpensive.

e. That the responsibility be definite and certain. (In this connection, it was shown how responsibility was located upon public officers in Baguio in such a manner that it could not be evaded.)

The result was Act No. 1963, the Baguio Charter, which took effect on the first day of September 1909. The City of Baguio was declared to be the successor of the township of Baguio. The Baguio Charter was, thereafter, rarely amended and with only minor changes were incorporated into the Administrative Code.

Baguio has a modified city manager form of government. From the standpoint of efficiency, it is the best governed municipality in the Philippines. Local representation is provided by two elective members of the City Council and by an Advisory Council of Igorots.


The President shall appoint, with the consent of the Philippine Senate, the mayor, the vice-mayor, and one of the other members of the City Council the members of the advisory council, the city health officer, the city assessor, the city attorney and the assistant city attorney, and he may remove at pleasure an of the appointive officers. He may appoint to any of the above-named officers persons who already hold official positions and any officer or employee in

[p. 31]

the public service who shall be appointed to any authorized position in the government of the city, in the discretion of the appointing authority, receive all or any part of the salary appropriated for the position.


1. City Council - - - Promulgates ordinances and resolutions to be enforced in the city.
2. City Mayor - - - Chief Executive of the City. Supervises all departments.
3. City Treasurer - - - Custodian of all property and money of the city. Collects taxes, fees, city services, rentals, and other revenues.
4. City Engineer - - - In charge of construction andn [the] maintenance of streets, bridges, supervises building construction, installs water and electric and sewer systems to houses.
5. Auditor - - - He sees that the money of the City is spent wisely in accordance with the law. Re-audits vouchers before the City Treasurer pays them.
6. Chief of Police - - - He sees that there is peace and order in the City and arrests anyone violating

[p. 32]

the laws, ordinances and regulations of the city.
7. Fiscal - - - Tries all persons brought to court for violation of any law, ordinances, and sees to it that the guilty is put in prison or fined.
8. Municipal Court - - - The same as the Fiscal.
9. City Health Officer - - - He sees to it that the city is in sanitary condition. Enforces sanitary regulations. Purifies water and [ensures] good disposal of garbage. Maintains clinics where [the] sick may be attended to.
10. City Forester - - - Sees to it that no trees are cut without permission. And avoids forest fires so that trees will not be destroyed.
11. City Secretary - - - He shall act as Secretary of the City Council, the board of tax appeals, and such other boards or committees as may hereafter be created, and shall keep a journal of their proceedings.


There shall be a city council composed of the Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and three other members, two of whom shall be elected in conformity with the provisions of the Election Law. The Council shall be held once in each week, and shall hold special meetings when called by the Mayor. Meetings shall be open to the public unless otherwise ordered by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members. It shall keep a record of its proceedings. A majority of the council

[p. 33]

shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time. The ayes and noes shall be recorded upon the passage of all ordinances, resolutions, and motions. The affirmative vote of all the members of the City Council for the passage of any ordinance, resolution or ordinance. [The previous sentence appears incomplete even in the original document.] Each ordinance shall be sealed with the city seal, signed by the Mayor and the City Secretary, and recorded in a book kept for that purpose. The City Council shall have power by ordinance or resolution.

The following served the City of Baguio as Mayors:

1. E. W. Reynolds
2. E. A. Eckman
3. A. D. Williams
4. Charles S. Dandaois
5. Eusebius J. Halsema
6. Sergio Bayan
7. Nicasio Valderrosa
8. Ramon P. Mitra (Japanese Regime)
9. Placido C. Mapa (PCAU Time)
10. Isidoro Siapno
11. Pedro Armenia
12. Jose M. CariƱo
13. Luis P. Torres
14. Francisco I. Ortega
15. Gil R. Mallare... (To date)

[p. 34]


There shall be a Board of Tax Appeals, which shall be composed of the members of the City Council, the Mayor to act as chairman. The members of the board take their oaths before the Justice of the Peace, or some other officer, before assuming office. The Board of Tax Appeals meet on the first Monday after the fifteenth of January each year and shall hear all appeals duly transmitted to it by the filing of written notice and shall decide on it.


Lands or buildings owned by the United States of America, the Government of the Philippines, the City of Baguio, or the sub-province of Benguet, burying grounds, churches, and their adjacent personnages and conventos, and lands or buildings used [for] exlusive purposes and not for profit, shall be exempted from taxation; but such exemption shall not extend to lands or buildings held for investment, though the income from it is devoted to religious, charitable, scientific or educational purposes.


A tax, the rate per centumof ad valorem taxation not to exceed to per centum, to be determined by the City Council, shall be levied annually on or before the second Monday of February on the assessed value of all real estate in the city subject to taxation. Taxes shall be due and payable annually on or after the first day of March. If the taxpayer shall fail to pay the taxes assessed


Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of the City of Baguio, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. The pagination in this transcription is as they appear in the original document.
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