Baguio mayor orders closure of Igorot Stone Kingdom. Here’s why.

November 9, 2022 - 11:37 AM
Igorot Stone Kingdom
Igorot Stone Kingdom in Baguio City in this photo taken on March 2021. (The STAR/Andy Zapata Jr)

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Tuesday ordered the closure of the man-made attraction, Igorot Stone Kingdom, due to permit and safety issues.

The new tourist spot located along Long-Long Road, Pinaso Proper in Baguio City opened to the public in 2021.

READ: Banaue, Benguet, Baguio: Where is Igorot Stone Kingdom located?

Magalong, however, told the Management Committee meeting that the establishment is operating without a business permit while the stone structures inside are not covered by a building permit. He said this puts “the structural integrity of the construction in question.”

Igorot Stone Kingdom, which covers a 6,000-square-meter area of real estate, features a stone wall on the left side and a modern-day tower on the right side.

According to Magalong, the owner was earlier notified of the permit violations and was advised to comply with the requirements.

However, the mayor said the owner failed to submit the requirements and built more structures against the advice of the city government.

He added that the owners “continued to defy cease and desist orders prompting the City Buildings and Architecture Office to file a criminal case for violation of the National Building Code on Nov. 7, 2022.”

Magalong said the tourist attraction poses a potential danger due to the lack of certificates ensuring the safety of structures.

According to the ongoing Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA) for Baguio City being conducted by the Asian Development Bank and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), it was found that the structure is in a “very high landslide exposure.”

The city chief executive also said the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (MGB-DENR) has also declared the area as “prone to erosion.”

In view of this, he ordered the closure of the tourist attraction, citing immediate action to be made.

“We have to be proactive. We can’t wait [for] something bad to happen before we act,” Magalong said.

Meanwhile, several lauded Magalong for the move.

“Very good Mayor B,for the safety of every one,” a Facebook user said. 

“Great move, frequency of strong earthquakes are so close nowadays, so we need to anticipate things to happen anytime,” another said.

“That is what we call political will. I am sure the good mayor will allow its reopening after the owner complies with the requirements,” a Facebook user commented.

Others raised parking and traffic issues allegedly caused by the construction of the tourist attraction.

As of writing, Igorot Stone Kingdom has yet to issue a statement on the closure order.

Its Facebook page, however, shared an inspirational post on being serious about your dreams featuring American business magnate Bill Gates.

“After the calm comes the storm, after the bright day comes the dark night, yet after the pain comes relief. Change is a [continuous] thing, nothing is forever. God is there watching. Let us hope for the best,” the caption of the post read.