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Student Revisits Baguio Then vs. Now Through These Photos

Sean Ochave, a BS Psychology student from Saint Louis University, shared a collection of photos through his personal Facebook profile, showing historical landmarks of Baguio City at present while holding up an old photo of the same location. And by old photo, we mean not just throwback photos from a year or two but really old photos- some dating back to when Baguio was first established and can only be seen in history books about Baguio or by diving through the world wide web.

The 19-year old Baguio-born shared through a brief interview that his fancy for Baguio’s history started ten years ago and was greatly influenced by family anecdotes, giving him a glimpse of what Baguio used to be. Taken September last year, long before ECQ took place, let’s take a trip down memory lane and go through each of the places he visited through these photos posted with permission.

Baden Powell Inn

baden powell inn

According to Ochave, seeing an old photo of what was then known as the Baden Powell Hall located at Governor Pack Road and finding out its great significance to the history of the city and barely seeing traces of the original building now because of the structures built around it has triggered his curiosity to visit the different historical landmarks in the city and compare how much they have changed or have not changed.

The Baden Powell Hall is where the first session of the Philippine Commission was held in Baguio from April 22 to June 11, 1904.  This was also the first time Baguio was hailed the Summer Capital of the Philippines. The building was named after the founder of scouting, Lord Baden-Powell. It also served as headquarters for the Baguio-Benguet Boy Scout Council before it became an inn.

Baguio Post Office

Post Office Loop

Session Road was named as such because the members of the Philippine Commission used to pass through this road on their way to their sessions at Baden Powell Hall.

Related: US Prof Traces her Granddad’s Wartime Footprints in RP

Baguio City Hall

Harrison Road

Baguio Cathedral

The Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral or the Baguio Cathedral is known as a historical church that stood the test of time- surviving the carpet bombing in 1945 and other disasters such as the 1990 earthquake. The building of the church was led by Belgian missionary Fr. Florimund Carlu who came to Baguio in the late 1910s and was initially assigned to St. Vincent Parish before being transferred to Baguio Cathedral.

St. Vincent Parish

SM City Baguio

Saint Louis University

Sunshine Supermart

Volante Session


Patria de Baguio

Casa Vallejo

The 110-year old hotel sitting atop Session Road, originally known as Dormitory 4 of the City Government Center, was a temporary refuge to some Germans captured by American soldiers in 1923. It was also one of the structures that withstood the carpet bombings during WWII.

A historical marker has been awarded to Casa Vallejo by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines just last year.

Read more: Casa Vallejo: Unveiling of Historical Marker

Maharlika Livelihood Complex

The site where Maharlika Livelihood Complex stands at present was where the Stone Market used to be. It was a busy area for trade built by German prisoners of the first World War.

Read more: Baguio Landmarks and their History

Antipolo Building

Who would have thought that once upon a time, in the middle of the busy thoroughfares of Session Road, tertiary classes were held? Baguio Colleges, now known as the University of the Cordilleras, first held its classes in spaces rented at Antipolo Building, Lopez Building, and Lamping Building, before moving to their current location along Governor Pack Road.

Plaza Theatre

Resilience Amidst the Pandemic

When asked why he posted the photos during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,

“Maybe because of what’s happening now, these landmarks are a testament that we can get through anything, we keep on rising.”

The City of Baguio is not what it is today if not for the events, good and bad, that unfolded in the past. May these photos remind us of the resilience of the city we love, and pass on the stories to the younger generations so that history, as we know it, will continue to live on, no matter what kind of future lies ahead of us.

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