Baguio is Philippines' first UNESCO 'creative city'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 1) — Baguio City is the first Philippine city to be part of a global initiative to improve urban living standards by developing industries based on innovation and creativity.

In a Tuesday press statement, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said the "Summer Capital of the Philippines" is one of 64 cities worldwide to be included in the Creative Cities Network.

"These new designations showcase an enhanced diversity in city profiles and geographical balance," said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

The Creative Cities Network was created in 2004 "to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development," according to the UNESCO website.

It uses the framework of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which sets international priorities for economic, social and environmental development.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network aims to:

  • strengthen international cooperation between cities
  • strengthen the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services
  • develop hubs of creativity and innovation
  • fully integrate culture and creativity into local development strategies and plans, among others

The Network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music.

Baguio City was included under the Crafts and Folk Arts category.

The city was short-listed into the Network in September 2017.

Aside from being a popular holiday destination — renowned for its chilly climate and numerous pine trees — Baguio City is also recognized for its artistry, with the likes of BenCab and Kidlat Tahimik among the distinguished members of the Baguio Arts Guild.

It is also known for promoting Cordilleran woven art through Narda's. The owner, renowned weaver, Narda Capuyan, had kept the tradition alive by training young women in creating handwoven products.

The city is also home to many Igorots, who are natives of the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Notable handicraft items, which are often sold as souvenir items, include handweaving, wood carving and metalcraft.