Benguet Province History
Profile of Benguet Province (Geography)
Location: Northern Luzon (Cordillera Region), Philippines
Capital: La Trinidad
*Note: Geographically, Baguio City is part of Benguet Province but administratively, it is independent of the province.
Neighboring Provinces: Mountain Province, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, La Union, and Ilocos Sur
Area: 2,769.08 km2 (1,069.15 sq mi)
Population: 446,224 (2015 Census)
Industries: Agriculture, Mining, light manufacturing (food and Handicraft items), Hydroelectricity production from three dams
Major Products: Vegetables, Flowers, Electricity
Governor: Melchor Diclas
Predecessor –> Crescencio C. Pacalso
Vice Governor: Johnny Waguis
Predecessor –> Florence Tingbaoen
Representative (Lone District): Nestor Fongwan (Died December 18, 2019)
Predecessor –> Ronald Cosalan
Municipalities (Towns): (13) Atok, Bakun, Bokod, Buguias, Itogon, Kabayan, Kapangan, Kibungan, La Trinidad, Mankayan, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay
History of Benguet
Long before the coming of the Spaniards, Benguet was already occupied by the Kankana-eys and the Ibalois, the two main tribal groups in the province. Collectively, they are called Igorots which means “people of the mountains”. The Spanish colonizers tried to subdue them but they never succeeded. Yet the Igorots continued to have trading relations with the lowlanders using the town of La Trinidad as their trading post. In 1846, Benguet became part of the new province called La Montañosa (or La Montaña). Later on, in 1854, it gained its independence as a separate comandancia politico-militar.
During the short-lived Philippine Revolutionary Government, Benguet was established as a province with Juan Oraa “Ahino” Cariño as the governor and with Tublay as the provincial capital. The province became the refuge center of Mr. Vicente Paterno, Sr., then president of the Philippine Congress, during the American conquest of the Philippines.
On November 23, 1900, the American colonizers established the local civil government of Benguet through Act No. 49, with Canadian journalist H.P. Whitmarsh appointed as the province’s first governor. In 1908, Benguet became a sub-province of Mountain Province through Act No. 1876. Mining companies began their mining explorations during the 1930’s. Post-war development saw the construction of two of the country’s biggest dams at that time: Ambuklao and Binga. In 1966, Mountain Province was split into four independent provinces namely, Benguet, Mountain Province, Kalinga-Apayao and Ifugao. During the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Benguet became part of the Ilocos Region. On July 15, 1987, President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No. 220 creating the Cordillera Administrative Region which covers the four former sub-provinces of Mt. Province plus the province of Abra. (Main Source: Provincial Website)
Go here to learn about famous people from Baguio-Benguet
Go here to see all the candidates and results of the 2019 election in Benguet.
Economy of Benguet
Benguet Province is one of the most progressive provinces in the Philippines. It is the foremost supplier of flowers and vegetables, not only in northern Luzon but also in Metro Manila. It is one of the most mineralized localities in the country with rich reserves in copper and gold. Its mining industry has been in operation since the 1930s. The weaving industry is also well-developed with some of its woven clothes being exported. Baguio City is the foremost educational, tourism and trading center in all of northern luzon.
On May 20, 2009, Benguet bested all other provinces in terms of human development. It received the High Human Development Award given by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
See also: Philippine Historical Events by Months