Baguio fetes Americans who shaped its history

Published July 2, 2019, 7:00 PM

by Dr. Eduardo Gonzales

By Zaldy Comanda

BAGUIO CITY – Floral wreaths will be laid at key points along Kennon Rd., Burnham Park, Gov. Pack Rd. and Malcolm Square to mark Filipino-American Friendship day on July 4.

Led by the City Tourism and Special Events Office (CTSEO), the ceremonies will be led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong and city officials.

The celebrants will first proceed to Kennon in the early morning of Thursday to pay tribute to its builder, member of the US Army Corps of Engineers Col. Lyman Walter Kennon.

Formerly named Benguet road, the winding 40-kilometer road connects the city to Rosario, La Union.

Built in 18 months by Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, and other foreign workers, starting in 1903, Kennon was considered the best mountain road in the world. Kennon drove his wagon during the road opening in Jan. 29, 1905. It was through an executive order from Gov. Gen. Leonard Wood that renamed Benguet road to Kennon.

As a shorter route from the lowlands to the city, Kennon plays a very important role in the economic development of Baguio.

William Pack was Mountain Province governor for several years, while famous architect and urban designer Daniel Burnham was chosen to make plans for Manila and Baguio which was to be designated as the summer capital.

Another place of interest is Malcolm Square, named in honor of George Arthur Malcolm a bastion of the development of law practice in the Philippines. At 35, he was named Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, which he served for 19 years. Granted an honorary Philippine citizenship, his bust at Malcolm Square serves as reminder of his legacy for Filipinos.

A simple program follows the wreath laying ceremonies with reminiscences of the American period here in Baguio through songs and dances of chosen groups.