A City of culture and creativity
Iattended the recent gathering of stakeholders and members of the committee who were instrumental in drafting and submitting the UNESCO requirements needed in the selection of Baguio as “Creative City”. It was a forwardlooking sharing of optimism with high regard to Baguio’s unquestionable status as a city of arts and culture. I looked around and the only person who I think belongs the creative sector are Maricar Docyogen who represents the Pasakalye Group of artists composed of artists and artisans, Councilor Mylen Yaranon who is an, myself and a guy named Paolo who provided technical assistance in the crafting of the documentary requirements of UNESCO.
Various government offices were also represented in that gathering hosted by Department of Tourism-CAR Dir. Marie Venus Tan with UP Chancellor Raymundo Rovillos from the academe. Since it was a meeting of minds in a technical-working-group setup, we heard comments such as artists, artisans and the creative sector should be invited to be part of the core group. Agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry must be in the forefront of revitalizing the weaving and woodcarving industries to boost the city’s creative economy. Artists and entrepreneurs can help identify sources of creative revenue and the tourism sector can likewise pinpoint interest areas like a creative map. Paolo said something like a “beauty portfolio” for Baguio that showcases what the city can offer that reflects its new status as creative city. Within myself, I entertained the idea of sharing copyright and royalty free images of Baguio’s artistry that online surfers can grab or copy without fear of any legal infringement. It was also suggested that Baguio should now consider the parameters on how corporate advertisement must be displayed taking into account ideal and allowable sizes only to discount what observers noticed as city of tarps.
A question arose on what is the positioning of Baguio as a UNESCO Creative City. In his letter to the Creative Cities Secretariat of UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan wrote; “Ladies and Gentlemen: With full support of the citizenry and creative sector of Baguio City, it is my honor to officially submit the City of Baguio’s candidature to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network 2017 Call for Application under the creative field of Crafts and Folk Art. Located in the northern portion of Luzon, Baguio City is a highly urbanized mountain city that functions as the tourism and commercial center of the Cordillera Administrative Region – home to the many ethnic tribes living on the Cordillera mountain range. Baguio City’s development as a recreational town has made it a melting pot of various upland and lowland cultures. The Cordillera indigenous culture has however persisted to become an important component of the city’s sustainable development, taking visible forms particularly in the crafts and folk arts like traditional weaving, wood and masonry sculpting and metal crafting.
With a rich cultural heritage, our city has witnessed the thriving of a creative community that not only gave birth to various artist’s villages, creative spaces and museum, but which has also formed a skilled workforce essentially engaged in the traditional arts and crafts. Cognizant of the role that culture and creativity plays in the sustainable development of Baguio City, we strive to adopt strategies to continue the growth of this sector, and to foster and broaden their participation in charting a development for our city that is a model of inclusive growth, cultural cohesiveness and creative driven economy not only in the Philippines but also in the global arena. As such, we feel that the time is ripe for the City of Baguio to take a stride in joining the