TODAY Baguio City, the most beloved city in the Philippines, is 101 years young.

Transformed from a simple rancheria when the Americans first discovered it, Baguio is now home to a staggering 300,000 souls, living in relative peace and serenity others envy. Baguio today is a growing metropolis with where a cultural mix rivaling that of Metro Manila and Cebu and other bigger cities of the country.

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The native Ibalois have embraced, albeit a little grudgingly, migrants from all corners of the world - yes the world. Ilokanos, Kankana-eys, Kapampangans, Pangasineses, Manilenyos, Tagalogs, Cebuanos, Ilonggos, Davaoños and other Filipino ethno-linguistic groups live in harmony with American, Australian, Lebanese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and European expatriates. Truly an international village.

Baguio at 101 also means a gamut of problems which normally beset a growing city. Population explosion is the most telling of these problems. From a growing population comes the more noticeable dilemmas on garbage, traffic, pollution, squatting, criminality, lack of city services, health, and urban decay.

But Baguio at 101 is also very much capable of handling these problems. The city has sufficiently aged to have enough history to look back on and learn from. Baguio is no longer a lumbering city which allows chaotic development. Baguio is older and more experienced for it to control development in its boundaries (at least, that's what we expect from our leaders).

Baguio at 101 is very much capable of charting its destiny in this new millennium in much the same way that it is already preparing itself for its second centenary.