BAGUIO CREATIVE CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) urged other cities to intensify its creativity as Baguio City made headway being named one of the 64 new cities included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network (UCCN).
“We challenge other cities to be more creative. Baguio City is the first and hopefully there will be second, third, and more cities that will be recognized by UNESCO in the creative arts and other fields of the recognition,” Tourism Undersecretary Marco Bautista said during the unveiling of the Baguio City Creative Hub at the Malcolm Square, popularly known as the People’s Park.
The UCCN is now composed of 180 members from 72 countries covering seven creative fields: Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts. Baguio is the first Philippine city to be chosen for the elite list and the 5th in Southeast Asia.
The other ASEAN cities in the network are Chiang Mai, and Phuket, Thailand for crafts and folk art and gastronomy, respectively, Singapore for design, and Pakalongan and Badung, Indonesia, both for crafts and folk art.
“One of UNESCO’s objective in establishing this kind of network is for different cities to learn from each other and learn how tourism, culture, and creativity can drive the economy,” Undersecretary Bautista added.
Baguio City Creative Council (BCC) Chair Adelaida Lim shared that the recognition is going to be beneficial to the city’s economy as it creates more jobs and inspires the younger generation to continue the traditional crafts and folk art.
“This endeavor will definitely provide more opportunities for Baguio’s creative community to be recognized at a wider scale. We anticipate the formalization of the BCCC as a means to strengthen the legal framework and institutionalize the roles of various stakeholders,” UNESCO Philippines Secretary-General Lilia Ramos-Shahani said.
The Baguio City Creative Hub, which is one of the highlights of the 23rd Panagbenga Festival, exhibits around twenty booths featuring weaving, basketry, jewelry, painting, and visual arts products from Baguio and the Cordillera artisans.
“As a matter of fact, DOT- Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) headed by Regional Director Marie Venus Tan is very aggressive in promoting the UNESCO designation. Hopefully, there would be a new invigorated interest in our local handicrafts and folk arts so that we can also help in the livelihood of our artisans and the artists,” BCCC member Alec Mapalo stated.
According to DOT-CAR, Baguio City recorded 1,521,748 tourist arrivals last year for a 17.52% increase from 2016’s 1,294,906 with an average length of stay of two nights.
Americans remained the top tourist source market of the City of Pines followed by the Koreans then the Chinese. Japanese and Singaporeans complete the top five markets of the city in 2017.
The Baguio Creative City official logo was also revealed, which was rendered by National Artist for Painting Benedicto Cabrera, popularly known as BenCab.
The Baguio City Creative Hub runs from February 11-24.