Baguio gets hooked on the concept of growing a ‘creative economy’

December 28, 2017 - 9:51 PM
SAtreet performing artist in Baguio City. Photographed by ALDWIN QUITASOL

BAGUIO CITY – Baguio City was recently included in the list of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 64 Creative Cities from 44 countries, bringing pride to local residents, especially artists who contributed to the creative spirit in Baguio.

Baguio was included in the 64 creative cities because of its remarkable art crafts and performing arts, among others. Aside from being a popular tourist destination, Baguio is increasingly becoming known as a haven for local as well as foreign artists.

Now, government and private stakeholders are exploring the conceptual development of a “creative economy” as a vital component of Baguio’s urban development.

Baguio City Council Committee on Tourism chairman Elmer Datuin disclosed in an interview this week that representatives from various government and private sectors convened recently aiming to “maximize” Baguio City’s inclusion in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

A strategic planning session was initiated by Department of Tourism Regional Director Marie Venus Tan and University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio Chancellor Raymundo Rovillos, and Datuin, together with the newly formed Baguio City Creative Council for Crafts and Folk Arts on December 16, 2017.

According to Datuin, the president of the Creative Economy Development Council of the Philippines Paulo Mercado Tan and Rovillos presented the concept before the creative council members – composed of artists in the weaving arts, and carving and sculpture, metalcraft, visual and performing arts, music and literature and the concerned local government unit office representatives.

Mercado envisioned Baguio City as a model or pioneer site for the creative economy, where artistry is to be leveraged as a strategic factor in working for sustainable development.

Mercado expressed willingness to work with the city in clustering the various arts groups in the categories of crafts and folk arts, and create avenues by which each group can work together to further develop and promote their crafts and artistry as primary tourist attractions and at the same time uplift their livelihood potentials.

“The idea is for these loose businesses to attain their full potential and become large-scale industries to benefit both the city and the artists themselves through the concept of creative economy,” Datuin said.

This, Datuin pointed out, would be “in keeping with the poverty alleviation objective of the 17 sustainable development goals set forth under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development over the next 15 years.”