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Province of Benguet
Flag of Benguet
Official seal of Benguet
Map of the Philippines with Benguet highlighted
Map of the Philippines with Benguet highlighted
Coordinates: 16°30′N 120°40′E / 16.500°N 120.667°E / 16.500; 120.667Coordinates: 16°30′N 120°40′E / 16.500°N 120.667°E / 16.500; 120.667
Country  Philippines
Region Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
Founded June 16, 1966
Capital La Trinidad
 • Type Province of the Philippines
 • Governor Nestor Fongwan (NUP)
 • Vice Governor Nelson Dangwa (LP)
 • Total 2,769.08 km2 (1,069.15 sq mi)
Area rank 49th out of 80
  Excludes independent city
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 403,944
 • Rank 63rd out of 80
 • Density 150/km2 (380/sq mi)
 • Density rank 53rd out of 80
  Excludes independent city
 • Independent cities 1
 • Component cities 0
 • Municipalities 13
 • Barangays 140
including independent cities: 269
 • Districts Lone district of Benguet
including independent cities:
Lone district of Baguio City
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2600 – 2614
Dialing code 74
ISO 3166 code PH-BEN
Spoken languages Kankana-ey, Ibaloi , Pangasinan, Kalanguya, Bontoc, Ilocano, Tagalog, English

Benguet (Tagalog pronunciation: [beŋˈɡet]; Ibaloi: Probinsya ne Benguet; Ilocano: Probinsya ti Benguet; Filipino: Lalawigan ng Benguet), is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is La Trinidad and borders, clockwise from the south, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya.

Baguio, a popular tourist destination in the country, is located in the interior of Benguet, however, the city is independent of 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 Ilocano and the Pangasinense.

Spanish period[edit]

At the beginning of the Spanish Era, colonisers heard of the rich gold mines in the mountains, attempted to colonize the highlands, but failed. In 1572, Juan de Salcedo led a small expedition into the southern part of Benguet, but the natives forced them to retreat. 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, and later abandoned after a few years.

In the 1800s, Spanish colonizers made more serious attempts such as expeditions under Col. Guillermo Galvey[3]:280 and succeeded in establishing a presence in the La Trinidad Valley, named after Galvey's wife.

This area later became a district of the new province of La Union 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.

American period[edit]

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 by virtue of Act No. 49, with Canadian journalist H.P. Whitmarsh appointed as the province's first governor.

The Americans then established Mountain Province on August 18, 1908, with the enactment of Act No. 1876. Benguet, along with Amburayan, Apayao, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Lepanto, became sub-provinces of this new province. Later on, Baguio became a chartered city in 1909. Then in 1920, Benguet absorbed the sub-provinces of Amburayan and Lepanto.

In the 1930s, mining companies were started to mine the gold deposits in the area. This brought it jobs and many lowlanders migrated to Benguet, especially in towns surrounding the mines, such as Itogon.

World War II[edit]

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.

Post-war Era[edit]

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. Benguet became one of the provinces of the Ilocos Region. On July 15, 1987, the Cordillera Administrative Region was established and Benguet was made one of its provinces.


Population census of Benguet
Year Pop.   ±% 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%
Source: National Statistics Office[2]

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—much, much lower than the national average of 2.43%. The province registered at 63,123 households, an increase of 4,588 households over the 1990 figure. This gave an average household size of 5.2 persons, a little higher than the national average of 4.99.

At the 2010 census, the population excluding the independent Baguio City was 403,944, which makes it the most populous province in the region. If Baguio City is included, the population is 772,620.[2]

Natives (Residents)[edit]

Main article: Igorot

Cordilleran, is an unofficial and relatively recent term for the people of the hill tribes of Luzon, Philippines, who are residing in the Cordillera region. This term is an attempt at political correctness, since the more current term "Igorot" is considered by some to be a derogatory product of colonialism.

In the 2000 census, 43% of the household population were Kankana-ey. About 29.2% were Ibaloi and 13.4% were Ilocano. Other ethnic groups included Ikalahan (3.7%) and Tagalog (2.4%).


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 Ibaloy, which is similar to Pangasinan, while the Kankanaey have their eponymous language, which is related to the Bontoc language.

The SIL Ethnologue database [1] 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 (named in the database as Kankanaey) is under the Central Cordilleran branch, which also includes Bontoc and Ifugao.


Benguet is subdivided into 13 municipalities, and some of these municipalities surround Baguio City. Baguio City used to be part of the province but became independent when the city's charter was enacted in 1909. However, for statistical and geographic convenience, Baguio City is informally considered a part of Benguet, especially in census data or when the city is chosen as a location for Benguet provincial offices for convenience and practicality.



Agriculture, mining, and tourism are the major industries in Benguet. Because of its temperate climate and high altitude, Benguet is an ideal place for producing vegetables. Benguet is often called the Salad Bowl of the Philippines. During February 2007, Benguet suffered crop damage due to freezing temperatures in the area, reaching as low as 7 Celsius and even lower in some areas, and important crops like cabbages were damaged. Major crops include potatoes, Baguio beans, peas, strawberries, cabbage, lettuce, and carrots. Other agricultural-related activities are monggo processing, fruit preservation, peanut brittle manufacturing, broom making, basket weaving, and flower growing. Apisang (scientific name: Pittosporum resiniferum), a plant endemic to the Philippines, is also being grown in Kapangan and Kibungan towns as a potential alternative source of fuel and energy, rivaling the overhyped jatropha biofuel plant.

Mining is another major industry of Benguet, which is one of the country's leading gold producers. The Benguet Corporation one of the Philippines largest diversified conglomerates was founded to exploit mines in Benguet Province. Other mineral deposits are silver, copper, pyrite, and limestone. Silversmithing is a large industry in Benguet, and many entrepreneurs sell silver works at lower prices in Baguio City, compared to Manila. In 2006 alone revenues from mining reached a stunning four billion pesos, and yet this figure comes from just two-Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation and Philex Mines- of the many mining firms operating in the province. Nevertheless, 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. 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 presence of Baguio City in Benguet draws a large number of tourists from the lowlands. Often, people who go to Baguio also explore the province, especially the strawberry and vegetable plantations in La Trinidad. Accommodations is sparse in the province of Benguet this is why many tourists opt to stay at different Hotels in Baguio City whereby Baguio City will be their starting point to their Benguet adventure (See also the Tourist Attractions section below.)


  • The Benguet State University (BSU) is the only university in Benguet and is located in La Trinidad, Benguet. The university has eight colleges (Including the Graduate School). The eight Colleges are:
  • The College of Agriculture
  • The College of Arts and Sciences
  • The College of Engineering and Applied Technology
  • The College of Forestry
  • The College of Home Economics and Technology
  • The College of Nursing
  • The College of Teacher Education
  • The College of Veterinary Medicine

Post Graduate Studies

  • Open University
  • The Graduate School
  • Institute of Public Administration (IPA)
  • Institute of Physical Education and Sports (IPES)


  1. BSU-Main Campus, La Trinidad, Benguet
  2. BSU-Buguias Campus, Loo, Buguias, Benguet
  3. BSU Bokod Campus, Ambangeg, Bokod, Benguet

Benguet also is home to the Cordillera Regional Science High School, while National University opened a campus in the province in 2004.

Tourist attractions[edit]

While Baguio City is not officially part of Benguet, it is a Chartered City. Its location provides additional income in form of tourism for the province. Some of the interesting places near Baguio City are, Kennon Road, Binga Hydroelectic Plant, strawberry and flower farms in La Trinidad, the Ambuklao Dam in Bokod, and the Palina and Naguey rice terraces in Atok.

Aside from these, Tuba and Tublay hot springs are usually flocked by local tourists from the neighboring provinces. A good view of vegetable terraces can be seen from the Halsema Highway, especially during the growing season, while the mist-covered "Man-asok" River is another destination. Kabayan is known for its centuries-old mummies, while Buguias is visited for its hot springs and the Apo Anno. But aside from these there are lots of tourist attractions but kept private by the citizens to avoid exploitations of these heritage.


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Kane, S.E., 1933, Thirty Years with the Philippine Head-Hunters, New York: Grosset & Dunlap

External links[edit]