Saturday, December 25, 2010

200,000 tourists flock to Baguio for a cold Christmas

MANILA, Philippines - Baguio City is no longer just the summer capital of the Philippines as 200,000 tourists have made it their favorite destination this Christmas time.

The cold temperature in Baguio has been attracting many people to flock to the mountain resort city, and families have been seen going around wearing thick jackets.

It was 12.4 degrees Celsius in Baguio City last December 9, the coldest temperature this year. Weather forecasters expect colder days up ahead as the "hanging amihan" or cold breeze at this time becomes even stronger.

Visitors have also come for the parade of giant lanterns or parol, the "snow" show, and the dazzling twinkling Christmas lights along the city's main street, Session Road.

Burnham Park is one of the major tourist spots in Baguio.

Hotels and inns are fully booked, according to the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio. They also said this year's tourist arrivals for Christmas surpassed expectations.

As a result, it's crowded in the city's tourist spots, as well as places such as the public market. Aside from the tourists, locals also flocked to the market to prepare for their Noche Buena with their families last night.

Tourism officials are happy over the increasing number of tourists in the city as this means the country's economy is improving. It may be recalled that the number of tourists in the past went down due to natural calamities that came one after the other, among them, typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng last year.

Baguio City police are on the alert especially in crowded areas, as petty crimes also abound when tourist arrivals are up. The police have issued a warning to the public to be extra careful these days.

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