Province of Benguet


Nickname(s): Salad Bowl of the Philippines[1][2]

Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 16°30′N 120°40′E / 16.5°N 120.67°E / 16.5; 120.67Coordinates: 16°30′N 120°40′E / 16.5°N 120.67°E / 16.5; 120.67
Country Philippines
Region Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
Founded June 16, 1966
Capital La Trinidad
  Type Sangguniang Panlalawigan
  Governor Nestor Fongwan (NUP)
  Vice Governor Nelson Dangwa (LP)
  Total 2,769.08 km2 (1,069.15 sq mi)
Area rank 47th out of 81
  (excluding Baguio City)
Population (2015 census)[4]
  Total 446,224
  Rank 61st out of 81
  Density 160/km2 (420/sq mi)
  Density rank 55th out of 81
  (excluding Baguio City)
  Independent cities
  Component cities 0
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2600–2614
IDD:area code +63(0)74
ISO 3166 code PH-BEN
Spoken languages

Benguet (Tagalog pronunciation: [beŋˈɡet]; Ibaloi: Probinsya ne Benguet; Pangasinan: Luyag na Benguet; Ilocano: Probinsya ti Benguet; Filipino: Lalawigan ng Benguet), is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the southern tip of the Cordillera Administrative Region in the island of Luzon. Its capital is La Trinidad.

The highland province is known as the Salad Bowl of the Philippines due to its huge production of upland vegetables.[1][2][5]

Situated within the interior of Benguet is the highly urbanized city of Baguio, which is administratively independent from the province.


The mountainous area now covered by Benguet has been settled for millennia by several peoples collectively known as the Igorots. Two of these groups, the Ibaloi and the Kankanaey, are dominant ethnolinguistic groups of the area. In the pre-conquest period, these tribes enjoyed flourishing trade with lowland groups immediately to their west and south, such as the Pangasinense.

Spanish period

At the beginning of the Spanish Era, colonisers heard of the rich gold mines in the mountains and attempted to colonize the highlands, but failed. In 1572, Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo led a small expedition into the southern part of Benguet, but the natives forced it to retreat.[5] The first major expedition into the mountains occurred in 1620, when Spanish explorers went into the La Trinidad Valley and briefly controlled some Igorot gold mines, but abandoned them after a few years.

In the 1800s, Spanish colonizers made more serious attempts such as expeditions under Col. Guillermo Galvey[6]:280 and succeeded in establishing a presence in the La Trinidad Valley, named after Galvey's wife.[5]

This area later became a district of the new province of La Montañosa (or La Montaña)[7][8] in 1846. Eight years later, in 1854, Benguet became a separate comandancia politico-militar. Parts of the present province were established as component territories of other comandancias such as Lepanto and Amburayan.[5]

American period

When the Americans took control of the Philippines, they established local civil governments in many parts of the country. American civilian government was established in Benguet on November 23, 1900 through Act No. 48, with Canadian journalist H.P. Whitmarsh appointed as the province's first governor.[9]

Upon the American colonial government enacting Act No. 1876 on August 18, 1908 which created Mountain Province from areas of the old La Montañosa, Benguet (along with Amburayan, Apayao, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Lepanto) became sub-provinces of this new province.[5][12] A year later in 1909, the township of Baguio was abolished upon its conversion into a chartered city. In 1920, portions of the sub-provinces of Amburayan and Lepanto were incorporated into Benguet.[5]

Mining companies started operating in the province in the 1930s. This brought jobs, and many lowlanders migrated to Benguet, especially in towns surrounding the gold mines, such as Itogon, Mankayan and Tuba.[13]

World War II

During World War II, Igorot guerrillas and the combined Filipino and American forces fought Japanese soldiers during the final days of the war in 1945.

Modern history

On June 18, 1966, the huge Mountain Province was split into four provinces with the enactment of Republic Act No. 4695. The four provinces were Benguet, Mountain Province, Kalinga-Apayao and Ifugao.[5][14][15]

On June 22, 1973, as part of the Integrated Organization Plan of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Benguet was placed under the jurisdiction of the Ilocos Region.[16] When the Cordillera Administrative Region was established by President Corazon Aquino thru Executive Order 220 on July 15, 1987, Benguet was made one of its provinces.[5][17][18]


Highland landscape at Bokod

Benguet covers an area of 2,769.08 square kilometres (1,069.15 sq mi) occupying the southwestern tip of the Cordillera Administrative Region. If Baguio City is included for geographical purposes, the total area of Benguet is 2,826.59 square kilometres (1,091.35 sq mi).[19]

The province is bordered on the northeast by Mountain Province and Ifugao, on the southeast by Nueva Vizcaya, [on the south by Pangasinan, on the west by La Union, and on the northwest by Ilocos Sur.

Situated within the Cordillera mountains, Benguet is dominantly mountainous. Mount Pulag, the highest in Luzon is located within Kabayan. The mountains form the headwaters of several rivers, the major ones which include the Agno, Amburayan, Bued, Bakun, Balili and the Asin. Some of these run through river valleys or gorges.

Several natural lakes, small in size, are found within the hinterlands. The largest are the "Four Lakes" in Kabayan; Lake Bulalacao, Lake Detepngepos, Lake Incolos and Lake Tabeyo.[20]


Benguet generally has a cool climate, experiencing an annual average record high of 25.3 °C (77.5 °F) in April, and an annual average record low of 13.3 °C (55.9 °F) in January.[21]

The province suffers from crop damage resulting from seasonal frost during the cold months of December to March, especially in high-altitude towns such as Atok, Buguias, Mankayan and Kibungan.[22][23] In February 2007, Benguet suffered crop damage due to temperatures reaching as low as 7 °C (45 °F).[24]

Climate data for Benguet
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 23.1
Average low °C (°F) 13.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 150.8
Average rainy days 2 3 6 9 19 21 26 26 23 14 9 5 163
Source #1: Storm247 (for average temperature and rainy days)[21]
Source #2: WorldWeatherOnline (for average precipitation)[25]

Administrative divisions

Benguet comprises 13 municipalities, all encompassed by a single legislative district.[19]

The highly urbanized city of Baguio, although administratively independent from Benguet, is situated in the interior of the province, surrounded by the municipalities of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan and Tuba. The city used to be part of the province but became independent when the city's charter was enacted in 1909.

City or municipality[lower-roman 1] Population ±% p.a. Area[19] Density Brgy.
(2015)[4] (2010)[26] km2 sqmi /km2 /sqmi
16°34′16″N 120°40′53″E / 16.5712°N 120.6814°E / 16.5712; 120.6814 (Atok) Atok 4.4% 19,668 19,242 +0.42% 214.99 83.01 91 240 8
16°24′43″N 120°35′36″E / 16.4120°N 120.5933°E / 16.4120; 120.5933 (Baguio) Baguio 345,366 318,676 +1.54% 57.51 22.20 5,500 14,000 129
16°47′27″N 120°39′50″E / 16.7909°N 120.6638°E / 16.7909; 120.6638 (Bakun) Bakun 3.4% 15,357 13,587 +2.36% 286.91 110.78 54 140 7
16°29′30″N 120°49′47″E / 16.4917°N 120.8296°E / 16.4917; 120.8296 (Bokod) Bokod 3.1% 13,756 12,648 +1.61% 274.96 106.16 50 130 10
16°43′12″N 120°49′35″E / 16.7201°N 120.8263°E / 16.7201; 120.8263 (Buguias) Buguias 9.8% 43,627 39,271 +2.02% 175.88 67.91 250 650 14
16°21′34″N 120°40′38″E / 16.3595°N 120.6773°E / 16.3595; 120.6773 (Itogon) Itogon 13.4% 59,820 55,960 +1.28% 449.73 173.64 130 340 9
16°37′22″N 120°50′17″E / 16.6228°N 120.8380°E / 16.6228; 120.8380 (Kabayan) Kabayan 3.4% 15,260 13,588 +2.23% 242.69 93.70 63 160 13
16°34′30″N 120°35′52″E / 16.5751°N 120.5979°E / 16.5751; 120.5979 (Kapangan) Kapangan 4.3% 19,361 20,084 −0.70% 164.39 63.47 120 310 15
16°41′37″N 120°39′14″E / 16.6937°N 120.6539°E / 16.6937; 120.6539 (Kibungan) Kibungan 3.9% 17,292 16,850 +0.49% 254.86 98.40 68 180 7
16°27′42″N 120°35′19″E / 16.4617°N 120.5885°E / 16.4617; 120.5885 (La Trinidad) La Trinidad 28.9% 129,133 107,188 +3.61% 70.04 27.04 1,800 4,700 16
16°51′25″N 120°47′38″E / 16.8569°N 120.7938°E / 16.8569; 120.7938 (Mankayan) Mankayan 8.1% 35,953 35,586 +0.20% 130.48 50.38 280 730 12
16°29′45″N 120°29′17″E / 16.4959°N 120.4880°E / 16.4959; 120.4880 (Sablan) Sablan 2.6% 11,457 10,511 +1.65% 105.63 40.78 110 280 8
16°23′34″N 120°33′44″E / 16.3927°N 120.5622°E / 16.3927; 120.5622 (Tuba) Tuba 10.7% 47,648 42,874 +2.03% 295.97 114.27 160 410 13
16°28′30″N 120°37′58″E / 16.4751°N 120.6329°E / 16.4751; 120.6329 (Tublay) Tublay 4.0% 17,892 16,555 +1.49% 102.55 39.59 170 440 8
Total[lower-roman 2] 446,224 403,944 +1.91% 2,769.08 1,069.15 160 410 140
  Capital municipality     Municipality

  Highly urbanized city (geographically within but independent from the province)

  1. The globe 
    icon marks the city/town center.
  2. Total figures exclude the highly urbanized city of Baguio.


The 13 municipalities of the province comprise a total of 140 barangays, with Pico in La Trinidad as the most populous in 2010, and Anchokey in Kabayan as the least.[26]

Further information: List of barangays in Benguet


Population census
of Benguet
YearPop.±% p.a.
1990 302,715    
1995 313,833+0.68%
2000 330,129+1.09%
2007 372,533+1.68%
2010 403,944+2.99%
2015 446,224+1.91%
(excluding Baguio City)
Source: National Statistics Office[4][26][27]

The population of Benguet in the 2015 census was 446,224 people,[4] making it the most populous province in the region. It had a density of 160 inhabitants per square kilometre or 410 inhabitants per square mile. If the highly urbanized city of Baguio is included for geographical purposes, the population is 791,590, with a density of 280/km2 (725/sq mi).

In the May 2000 census, Benguet had a total population of 330,129. This figure is up by 16,296 from 313,833 persons recorded in the 1995 census, giving an annual growth rate of 1.09% during the 5-year period compared to the national average of 2.43%. The province registered 63,123 households, an increase of 4,588 households over the 1990 figure. This gave an average household size of 5.20 persons, slightly higher than the national average of 4.99.

Ethnicity as of 2000[28]
Kankanaey Ibaloi Ilocano Kalanguya Tagalog ''Others'': 27,396 (8.3%) ''Other foreign ethnicity'': 239 (0.1%) ''Not Reported'': 575 (0.2%)Circle frame.svg
  •   Kankanaey: 141,434 (42.9%)
  •   Ibaloi: 95,968 (29.1%)
  •   Ilocano: 43,984 (13.3%)
  •   Kalanguya: 12,147 (3.7%)
  •   Tagalog: 7,773 (2.4%)
  •   Others: 27,396 (8.3%)
  •   Other foreign ethnicity: 239 (0.1%)
  •   Not Reported: 575 (0.2%)


The native inhabitants of Benguet comprise three ethnolinguistic groups. Kankanaeys dominate the northwestern municipalities, Ibalois are concentrated on the southeast, and Kalanguyas are mostly found in the east.[5][29][30] Migrants from lowland provinces have fused with the local populace to form a melting pot in some areas.[15][30][31]

According to the 2000 Philippine census, Kankanaeys comprised 42.96% (141,434) of the entire provincial household population of 329,216 at the time, while 29.15% (95,968) were identified as Ibalois, and 3.69% (12,147) were Ikalahan/Kalanguya. Major resident lowland ethnic groups included Ilocanos at 13.36% (43,984) and Tagalogs at 2.36% (7,773).[28]


Benguet residents generally speak their own languages in addition to Ilocano, Tagalog, and English, which are used for trade and commerce. The Ibaloi tribe speak Ibaloi, which is similar to Pangasinan, while the Kankanaey have their own eponymous language, which is related to the Bontoc language.

The SIL Ethnologue database classifies the languages under the South-Central Cordilleran branch. Nabaloy (named in the database as Ibaloi) is part of the Southern Cordilleran branch which also includes Pangasinense. The Kankanaey language is under the Central Cordilleran branch, which also includes Bontoc and Ifugao.[32]

Immaculate Conception Parish Church in Sablan


Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion with 73% adherence while Aglipayan (a local form of Catholicism) is an important minority. Many other Christian groups are also found and they are represented by Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventist as well as Muslims.


Benguet is a major producer of highland vegetables in the country.

Agriculture, mining, and tourism are the major industries in Benguet. Its cool climate and high altitude has made it an ideal place for producing highland vegetables. Benguet is often called the Salad Bowl of the Philippines.[2][5][30] The La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post in the capital town of La Trinidad serves as the hub of vegetable trading in the province, attracting farmers, merchants and traders from the local community and the Philippines' different provinces.[33] Major crops produced which include potatoes, Baguio beans, peas, strawberries, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, sayote and carrots are shipped throughout the country.[5][34][35][36]

Horticulture and floriculture are practiced in the province.[37] The province supplies flowers to the different municipalities, including Baguio City, as well as to Metro Manila, including other parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.[38][39][40] Roses are produced, particularly in Barangay Bahong in La Trinidad, earning the barangay the title Rose Capital of the Philippines.[41] Apisang (scientific name: Pittosporum resiniferum), a plant endemic to the Philippines, is grown in the municipalities of Kapangan and Kibungan as a potential alternative source of fuel and energy, rivaling the jatropha biofuel plant.[42][43]

Other agricultural-related activities are monggo processing, fruit preservation, peanut brittle manufacturing, broom making and basket weaving.[5][44]

A gold ore from Mankayan copper mines

Mining is a major industry in Benguet, which is one of the country's leading gold producers.[5] The Benguet Corporation, the first and oldest mining company in the Philippines, has extracted gold, copper and chromite in Itogon since 1903.[45][46]

Other mineral deposits are silver, copper, pyrite, and limestone. Silver smithing is a large industry in Benguet, and many entrepreneurs sell silver works at lower prices in Baguio City compared to Manila. In 2006, revenues from mining reached 4 billion pesos from just two (Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation and Philex Mines) of many mining firms operating in the province. The province's mining vigor has never translated into better quality of life of the Benguet people, simply because a bulk of the mining firm's taxes are not paid directly to the province.[47] The two mining corporations, like many others around the country, have principal offices in the City of Makati, a set-up that makes Makati the prime mining tax beneficiary.

The location of Baguio City within Benguet draws many tourists from the lowlands. Often, people who go to Baguio also explore the province, especially the strawberry fields in La Trinidad.


Higher education in the province is centered in the capital town of La Trinidad,[48] which houses the Main Campus of the only university in Benguet, the Benguet State University (BSU). The university has two satellite campuses in two municipalities; the Buguias Campus at Loo, Buguias, and the Bokod Campus at Ambangeg, Bokod.[49]

Other educational institutions which include Advocates Academic College, BVS Colleges, Cordillera Career Development College, King's College of the Philippines, Philippine College of Ministry, Philippine Nazarene College, as well as the Cordillera Regional Science High School, the Benguet National High School (with several annexes) and the Benguet SPED Center are also situated within La Trinidad.

The independent chartered city of Baguio hosts several higher education institutions, which include most notably the Saint Louis University, University of the Philippines Baguio, University of the Cordilleras (formerly Baguio Colleges Foundation), University of Baguio, Pines City Colleges, Baguio Central University, and Baguio School of Business and Technology, attracting students from across the Philippines.

Strawberries from La Trinidad, recognized as the "Strawberry Fields of the Philippines"


The province is a major tourist destination in the country,[1] with most of its tourist spots centered on culture and nature.[50] Baguio City's location within the province provides a boost to the tourism industry of the province.[51] Notable interesting places in the province include Mount Pulag along Kabayan, Kennon Road in Tuba, Ambuklao Dam in Bokod, Binga Dam in Itogon, strawberry and flower farms in La Trinidad, and the Palina and Naguey rice terraces in Atok.

Tuba and Tublay hot springs are usually flocked by local tourists from the neighboring provinces. Vegetable terraces can be seen along the Halsema Highway, especially during the growing season. Kabayan is known for its centuries-old mummies, while Buguias is visited for its hot springs and the Apo Anno.


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  20. Aro, SC (25 October 2008). "Mt Pulag climb slated October 31-November 2". Philippine Information Agency. Retrieved 29 February 2016. From Tawangan where the trekkers will spend the second night, they will visit the four mystic lakes namely Tabeyo, Bulalacao, Incolos, and Detepngepos described as icy cool and crystal clear water and lush green foliage that refreshes the soul.
  21. 1 2 "Weather forecast for Benguet, Philippines". Storm247. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
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  34. Agreda, JM (8 July 2015). "Highland vegetable prices increase in Benguet". CNN Philippines. Retrieved 29 February 2016. Benguet produces more than 1.6 million kilograms of vegetables daily to Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Benguet province currently supplies 80 percent of highland vegetables such as carrots, sayote, potatoes, lettuce, cabbage among other semi-temperate vegetables being sold in Metro Manila public markets and supermarkets.
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  37. Comanda, Zaldy (15 February 2014). "Benguet grows Holland tulips". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  38. Agreda, JM (30 October 2015). "Baguio flowers sell fast despite price increase". CNN Philippines. Retrieved 29 February 2016. Majority of flowers sold in Dangwa in Metro Manila are being propagated in Benguet. The province produced more than 30 million metric tons of cut flowers in 2014, making it the top flower producer and supplier for most of Luzon including Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao and providing farmers of millions of pesos in earnings annually.
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  41. Polonio, Jessa Mardy (27 February 2016). "Flower power in Bahong". Sun.Star Baguio. Retrieved 29 February 2016. Aside from strawberries, the municipality of La Trinidad is also known for its flower growing villages where eco-farm tourism is being developed as a complimentary destination outside Baguio. The towns of La Trinidad, Atok, Tublay, Kapangan, Kibungan and Buguias have been producing cut flowers sold in several local markets around the country. Barangay Bahong in La Trinidad is dubbed as the famous flower growing community declared as the Rose Capital of the Philippines in 1998 by then Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
  42. Dumlao, Artemio (23 August 2009). "Tree for alternative fuel found in Cordillera". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
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  51. Catajan, Maria Elena (7 April 2014). "Benguet tourist arrivals peak". Sun.Star Baguio. Retrieved 9 October 2014.

External links

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