Unless you’re the type to sleep during long trips, it would be impossible to miss the huge Lion’s Head found along Kennon Road on the way to Baguio City. The carved monument is one of the most popular tourist spots of Baguio as it also signifies that one is already near the city. It also signals the start of several zigzag turns you shall have to pass before reaching the city of Baguio.
It all started with an oddly-shaped boulder found along the major highway leading to Baguio, the Kennon Road. At first, it was nothing but a mere natural rock formation that was made up of limestone. But in time, locals noticed that the rock formation was shaped like the head of a male lion
with a mane. At the same time, the Lion’s Club Baguio chapter, which is a very active civic organization group of the city, was in discussion over creating something to signify their presence in Baguio. They then made the decision to perfect what nature had begun by accident. The club wanted to refine the rough leonine shape and make it into an actual lion’s head. The decision to construct the monument occurred in year 1968 during the term of Baguio Mayor Luis Lardizabal, who was the Lion’s Club President as well. Construction of the project began in 1971 but was halted a year later. Subsequent Lion’s Club President Robert Webber then took over the project, which was completed and shown to the public in 1972. The actual artistic carving of the façade was the work of successful Ifugao woodcarver, Reynaldo Lopez Nanyac.
Future club leaders also contributed much to the lion project. The head was repainted several times from a shade of gold and black to white and brown and then to yellow. Old wisdom then prevailed when it was restored to its original look with a gold and black color.
In the year 1990, a major earthquake hit the northern Luzon regions which caused damage to the Lion’s Head. Occasional vandalism by local residents added to the unpleasant look of the structure as well. But with the determination to keep the Lions’ Club legacy alive, members of the club were able to restore the head to its original splendor.
The monument is located at Camp 6, which is several kilometers from the Kennon Road viewing deck. It takes about 45 minutes of driving along Kennon Road to see the head. The formidable structure is around 40 feet tall and casts an imposing glance over the mountains with its dark expression. Stalls and souvenir shops are located near the head where travelers will be able to buy snacks, drinks and souvenir items on their way up to Baguio as well as on their way down from the city.
Tourists heading up to Baguio can’t help but make a stopover at this landmark and take pictures of the Lion’s Head. No visit to Baguio is complete without having your picture taken with the head of the lion in the background. It is unmistakably an image associated with the city of Baguio.