The Burnham Park in Baguio City is the “Mother of all Parks” in the summer capital of the Philippines. It is the very heart of Baguio and the most valuable piece of Baguio real estate dedicated to the enjoyment of visitors and residents alike. City commercial centers such as the Session Road, the hugely popular Baguio City Market and the majestic Baguio Cathedral are all built around this enthralling and inviting location.
The park is considered one of the most romantic sites in the city. It is an amazing and relaxing place where both locals and tourists spend quality moments with their loved ones. Biking around the park and boating in its man-made lake are two of the most enjoyable recreational activities people do at the park. Picnics are plentiful, especially when outdoor concerts are held that feature great Filipino bands and celebrities. Not to mention that it is also the venue where the Panagbenga or Flower Festival holds its opening ceremonies. Those who have a passion for skating or just simply want to try it will definitely love the spacious and circular skating rink at the park. Athletic people who are into basketball and tennis can enjoy the park’s courts. It also offers a wide variety of commercial establishments such as restaurants, a playground and an orchidarium that has different plants, trees and flowers for sale. Finally, the park also has a football field where cadets from the Philippine Military Academy hold their special parades during the weekends.
But more than a park that is of great recreational venue, the Burnham Park also has quite a history, especially to the local residents of Baguio City. During the 1990s, a strong earthquake hit the city that affected most of its residents. People who were stripped of their homes had to stay in the park for several days as they created their own camps for shelter. The park became home for the people in times when they needed it the most.
The park has 12 cluster areas: the Burnham Lagoon where the man-made lake lies with row boats for hire, the children’s playground, the Rose Garden, the Skating Rink, the Orchidarium, the Igorot Garden, the Melvin Jones grandstand, a Picnic Grove, the Athletic Bowl, the Japanese Peace Tower, the Pine Trees of the World and the Sunshine Park.
The park was designed by and named after Daniel Hudson Burnham, a famous American architect and urban planner who also designed the original layout plan for Baguio City a century ago. The park still retains much of Burnham’s original design with a few alterations in true Filipino fashion to make it into an even more vibrant center of activity. To this date, the park remains one of the country’s most well-known and best loved parks. It is accessible from any of the roads of Harrison, Governor Pack, Kisad Road or Magsaysay Road.
Trying to do everything there is to do at the park can be exhausting. There seems to be an activity for everyone there, may it be playing an intense game of basketball or simply people-watching while visitors go about their activities. No visit to Baguio will ever be complete without a stop by Burnham Park.