Baguio City to open tourism in September to local residents only

BAGUIO CITY – As part of the month-long celebration of the 111th City Charter anniversary, the city government is planning to reopen all the parks, and the night market, as well as resume with the weekly pedestrianization of Session Road in September for local residents only.

City Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo said the plan for the reopening of tourism for visitors, especially those coming from Manila or elsewhere remains suspended.

Instead, the city prioritized local residents, as recommended during the city management committee. But no specific date has been set yet for the reopening of tourism in the city next month.

He also said it was not likely that non-Baguio City residents be allowed to visit the Summer Capital soon.

Republic Act No. 6710 declares September 1 of each year as Baguio Charter Day, and a special non-working Holiday in the city.

With the theme “Angat Tayo Baguio,” the city is set to open the month with events aiming to launch the slow, sustainable and safe return of the economy and tourism for the Summer Capital.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat is expected to serve as keynote speaker in the city celebration, as she may also conduct an ocular inspection of the tourism sites after the program at the Burnham Park on Tuesday.

Mapalo said the City Tourism and Special Events Division and City Environment and Parks Management Office, in cooperation with the tourism and medical sectors, have finalized health and safety guidelines. 

Other outdoor activities planned for eventual transition to the new normal will have “limited for locals only” activities like drive-in movies in spacious areas and boating at Burnham lake, biking and horseback-riding at the Wright Park.

For the night market, operation of tenants will allowed to open stalls on an alternate basis to avoid crowding, and the usual operating hours will be cut short - the street market will operate late afternoon until early evening only.

The pedestrianization of Session Road, meanwhile, will be for the mental and social wellbeing of residents.

Mapalo said the quarantine restrictions have taken its toll on the mental wellbeing of residents that they now have to be allowed to at least stroll in the city's thoroughfare.

He said all these will be done under strict health and medical controls. Those who want to visit the parks, night market, or Session Road will still have to present their mall and market passes.

"Whether or not Baguio reopens in September or not, we have to prepare and put systems in place," Mapalo added.