The date for Grand Cordillera Festival 2012 is 22-23 November 2012
Things to Know
If you’ve ever taken out your traveler’s map and wondered where to go in the Philippines, you might want to think about paying a visit to Baguio City. Found in the Northern region of the Philippines, Baguio, this beautiful, scenic tourist spot has long been the favorite of those visiting the Philippines because of the cool, clean mountain air, the fresh produce in the street markets and the amazing view of the mountains. However, your visit to Baguio cannot be complete without taking part in one of Baguio City’s most exciting, unique and memorable experiences: The Grand Cordillera Festival.
Things are going to get Chilly
The Grand Cordillera Festival is one of Baguio City’s largest and most lively festivals, celebrating the different heritages, traditions and cultures of the various ethnic groups living in the northern part of the island of Luzon. It is usually held during the last week of November, starting at around the 22nd-23rd, so if you want to experience the Grand Cordillera Festival for yourself, it is best if you dress up in warm clothes. Baguio City is known to be one of the coldest cities in the Philippines due to its height, and during the “-ber” months, you really will go “brrrr!”
Celebration of Ethnic Life and Heritage
For all you culture and tradition buffs, the Grand Cordillera Festival is the ultimate celebration of the life and heritage of several ethnic groups in the Cordillera provinces, such as the Ibaloy, Bontoc, Apayao, Kalinga, Tinggian, Ifugao and the Kankanaey. Collectively, these groups are known as the Igorot people, and many of their traditions may overlap, since they are closely-related tribes. These groups can be found in the six surrounding provinces, namely Apayao, Abra, Mountain Province, Benguet, Kalinga and Ifugao. Recently, the chartered city of Baguio was added to list, perhaps because Baguio can be considered a “melting pot” of many of these cultures and traditions. And what better way to celebrate the colorful lives of these people than in the Grand Cordillera Festival?
Where’s the Grand Cordillera Festival exactly?
The Grand Cordillera Festival is usually held in Burnham Park, which can be considered to be one of the most well-known tourist spots in Baguio. This wide park offers a great strolling area for the whole family, as well as other in-park attractions such as horseback rides, bike rides and even a lake where you can rent a boat and take a relaxing row around. Another great thing about Burnham Park is that there are a lot of hotels dotting the area around the park, both for those who want to splurge on their hotel stay, and for those who are travelling on a budget. However, don’t worry if you’re staying in a hotel that’s a bit far from Burham, as there are many jeepneys that travel to and from the park. Make sure that you book well ahead of time, as hotels and inns in Baguio city tend to fill up fast, especially during the holidays and during large festivals, such as this one.
Things to Note
As a tourist, you should definitely bring your camera when you visit Baguio City in time for the Grand Cordillera Festival. You will experience a grand celebration of sights and sounds that are sure to make the 10-hour trip from the Metro Manila to Baguio City worthwhile. Members of each of the different ethnic groups actually perform their native dances and songs while clothed in their traditional garb. Many stalls also feature native products such as wood carvings, woven items such as clothes and rugs and even items such as simulated spears, bows and arrows and blowguns. So if you want to bring home some of the experience, then you should make sure that you have a little bit of your budget set aside for shopping in Burham Park. You might also chance upon a few vendor stalls that offer some of the local cuisine; so why not grab a seat and chow down on the delicious dishes that you can find here in Burham Park?
Surely there’s More? Ecotourism perhaps?
Amidst all the fun, music and celebration, there are actually other reasons why the Grand Cordillera Festival is held every year. The first, and more practical reason, is that the festival strives to promote Baguio City, the northern Cordillera province, and the Philippines as a whole as an attractive, fun and exciting tourist spot. It aims to stimulate both the local economy of the area, and serves as a source of financial help to the ethnic tribes that reside there. Some of the revenue generated by the festival also serves as funding for environmental protection movements. The second reason is that the event celebrates the underlying peace and harmony between the ethnic tribes; and it highlights how the beauty and the love of life of these people unite them, despite their differences in geography and culture.
What’cha Waiting for?
So if you want a Philippine experience that will leave you smiling, loaded with memories and souvenirs and just feeling the love of life in the cold air, make sure that you visit during the Grand Cordillera Festival.