Baguio is in the running to become a UNESCO creative city
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Baguio City is hoping to become the country's 1st "creative city" after submitting their bid to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network earlier this year.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) is a project of UNESCO launched in 2004 to promote cooperation among cities which recognized creativity as a major factor in their urban development.
Right now there are already 116 members of the Creative Cities Network from 54 countries around the world.
The Network qualifies the candidate cities in the creative fields of Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature, and Music.
Cordillera Regional Director for Tourism Venus Tan said that Baguio was classified under Crafts and Folk Arts. She said that they got the call that Baguio was shortlisted early this month. Tan immediately called for a caucus with the City Government represented by the Office of the City Mayor and Office of City Tourism, the academe represented by the Office of the Chancellor of UP Baguio, and arts and crafts groups such Tam-awan Village, VOCAS, Philippine Treasures and Narda’s. The results of the UCCN contest will be announced this October.
According to UNESCO's Manila office, aside from Baguio, Angeles and two other Philippine cities are vying for the recognition. If chosen, Baguio would be the 5th Southeast Asia city to make it in the exclusive group. The others are Phuket in Thailand for the gastronomy category, Pakalongan and Badung in Indonesia for folk arts and crafts, and the city-state Singapore for design.
The creative cities cities commit to sharing their best practices and developing partnerships involving the public and private sectors as well as civil society in order to:
- strengthen the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services;
- develop hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector;
- improve access to and participation in cultural life, in particular for marginalized or vulnerable groups and individuals;
- fully integrate culture and creativity into sustainable development plans.
Although Baguio has been a tourist city for about a century now, it became a country hotspot in arts in the 1980s with the creation of the Baguio Arts Guild with such luminaries as BenCab, Santi Bose, Roberto Villanueva, Kidlat Tahimik, David Baradas, and Tommy Hafalla at the helm.
The Baguio International Arts Festival which BAG organized annually from 1988 till 1998 gathered international and national art luminaries every November.
The traditional creative hubs of Baguio are Easter Weaving Center and Narda's for traditional weaving and Asin Village and Tamawan Village for woodcarving.
The new creative hubs include Ili-Likha, Vocas, Maryknoll Pitak Project, Pasa Kalye, Bencab Museum and Garden Theater.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story created the impression that Baguio was the only Philippine city vying for the recognition. We have updated this to include that the other Philippine cities in the running.
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