Burnham Park (Baguio)

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Burnham Park
Burnham Park Reservation
Baguio Burnham Park lagoon 2018.jpg
Burnham Lake in 2018.
TypeUrban park
LocationBaguio, Benguet, Philippines
Coordinates16°24′35″N 120°35′41″E / 16.409592°N 120.59479°E / 16.409592; 120.59479Coordinates: 16°24′35″N 120°35′41″E / 16.409592°N 120.59479°E / 16.409592; 120.59479
Area32.84 hectares (81.1 acres)
EstablishedAugust 6, 1925 (1925-08-06)
FounderLeonard Wood
DesignerDaniel Burnham
EtymologyDaniel Burnham
Owned byDepartment of Tourism
Operated byBaguio City Environment and Parks Management Office
StatusOpen all year
Plants2,600 trees (2015)
Species72 plants

Burnham Park, officially known as the Burnham Park Reservation,[1] is a historic urban park located in downtown Baguio, Philippines. It was designed by American architect and Baguio city planner, Daniel Burnham who is also the namesake of the park.


Bust of Daniel Burnham at Burnham Park.

Burnham Park was envisioned by American architect Daniel Hudson Burnham[2] as part of a larger plan for the city of Baguio in 1905.[3] Burnham worked with William E. Parsons in coming up with plans for the city of Baguio, as well as the capital city of Manila.[4] The area where Burnham Park is situated was formerly known as 'Baguio Meadow".[5]

Burnham's role in establishing the park is acknowledged through a bust bearing his likeness and a plaque located at one end of the park.[6]

The park's design is influenced from the City Beautiful movement; It has a small pond or lagoon situated at the green space's center and has and has regimented rows of grass and sidewalk.[6] According to the Baguio Heritage Foundation in 2014, only the open field often used for football and the Melvin Jones Grandstand adhere to Burnham's original design for the park.



Management history of Burnham Park
  • Until 1981 : Baguio City Government
  • 1981–1989: Philippine Tourism Authority
  • 1989–1994: National Parks Development Committee
  • 1994–1995: Philippine Tourism Authority
  • 1995–present: Baguio City Government

Burnham Park's title belongs to the Department of Tourism[7] while Baguio's City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the park. The rules and regulations of the park is stated in Administrative Order 21 of 2015 which includes provisions against smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages as well as selling services (including massage, manicure, pedicure, and tattooing) within the park.[8]

The city government of Baguio has been in charge of the administration, maintenance, and management of the park since February 10, 1995 when Executive Order No. 244 issued by President Fidel Ramos transferred the responsibilities in operating the park to the Baguio local government from the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA).[1] Through Executive Order No. 695 by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo the Baguio local government was given full control to Burnham Park in January 10, 2008 by transferring PTA's power of control and further development of the park to the city government.[9]

The area occupied by Burnham Park was reserved for park purposes on August 6, 1925 through Proclamation No. 64[10] of Governor General Leonard Wood.[11] A portion of the park was separated from the Burnham Park Reserves for the purpose of hosting a public high school (Baguio City National High School) through Proclamation No. 401 issued by President Elpidio Quirino on June 27, 1953.[12]

The park was first ceded to the PTA from the Baguio city government[13] through Presidential Decree No. 1762 issued by Ferdinand Marcos on January 6, 1981[10] and Proclamation No. 2144 on December 9, 1981 also by Marcos[14] for "tourism development purposes". For five years the park was ran by the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) from the March 10, 1989 to March 10, 1994 following a signing of a memorandum of agreement between NPDC and the PTA. After that period the administration of the park was reverted to the PTA before it was transferred to the Baguio city government in 1995.[1]

Bills has been filed in the Philippine House of Representatives to revert the park's control back to the national government and declare Burnham Park as a national park[13] but none has been passed as of 2018.


Burnham Park layout.

Burnham Park has twelve designated clusters as of 2018.:[15][16]

  • Athletic Bowl
  • Burnham Lagoon
  • Children's Playground
  • Igorot Garden
  • Japanese Peace Tower
  • Melvin Jones Grandstand
  • Orchidarium
  • Picnic Grove
  • Pine Trees of the World
  • Rose Garden
  • Skating Rink
  • Sunshine Park


Athletic Bowl[edit]

The Baguio Athletic Bowl is a track and field facility within Burnham Park. The Athletic Bowl area hosts an archery range and a nursery where the park administration grow seedlings.[17]

Burnham Lake[edit]

Burnham Lake
Burham Lagoon
City Pond (former)
TypeArtificial lake
First flooded1900s-1910s
Average depth3.04 m (10.0 ft)
Water volume34,000 m3 (1,200,000 cu ft)

Burnham Lake, formerly known as the City Pond,[18] is about a century-old man-made lake situated at the center portion of Burnham Park. In Early 2013, it underwent dredging which saw the removal of a meter (3.28 feet) thick silt sitting on the lake's bed. It was also dredged in 1994. After the 2013 dredging, the lake's volume is 34,000 cubic meters (1,200,000 cu ft).[19] The depth of the body of water is about 3.04 meters (10.0 ft). Boat rentals are available in the lake catering to tourists and residents.[20]

Tilipia, carp and koi are among the fauna of the lake. The color of the water can be dark to reddish brown at times especially during the summer season due to growth of algae and constant stirring of the water by boaters causes mud, algae, and other materials in the lake to be suspended which contributes to the water color.[20]

Gardens and other leisure areas[edit]

Rental bicycles, trikes and cycle rickshaws at Burnham Park. 2004.
Melvin Jones Grandstand

Burnham Park hosts a children's playground on its western portion.[21] Government of Baguio City and SM Prime Holdings Inc. signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the improvement and rehabilitation of the Children’s Playground inside Burnham Park.[22]

The Orchidarium, also on the park's west side is a garden dedicated to orchids.[21] Other types of flowers are also grown in the orchidarium. The garden hosts "The Orchid House" at its center which was constructed by Arnie's Garden, where flower vendors sell their merchandise.[23]

The Avong Ibaloi Heritage Garden is situated between the Orchidarium and the Children's Park.[24] The area was designated as a heritage park through City Council Resolution 182 in 2010 as part of the city government's effort to preserve the culture of the Ibaloi people as well as acknowledge their role in the city's history.[25]

The Igorot Park is a smaller park within Burnham Park which is a place where locals often play chess as early as the 1980s.[26] The Garden is dominated by a Statue of the 5 main Igorot Tribes the Ibalois, Bontocs, Kalingas, Ifugaos and the Kankanaeys.

The Melvin Jones Grandstand and the adjacent open field is situated at the eastern portion of the park. The venue hosts concerts, parades and other activities while association football could also be played in the open field.[21] Among the more notable events held in this area is the Mass presided by Pope John Paul II in February 22, 1981 as part of his papal visit to the Philippines from February 17–22, 1981.[27]

The Rose Garden is situated at the northern entrance of Burnham Park where the bust of the park's namesake, Daniel Burnham stands. At its center is an amphitheater.[2] Across the Burnham Park's rose garden gated entrance is Rizal Park, a small park[28] that is sometimes considered part of Burnham Park.[29] A dancing fountain was inaugurated in 2013 in the area.[30]

South of Burnham Lake a public rink constructed where skate rentals are available.[citation needed] Further south is the Pine Trees of the World which is meant to feature pine tree species from different parts of the world though none of the foreign pines survived.[31]


3,004 individual species were identified and recorded in Burnham Park according to an inventory and assessment of the park's flora in a journal published in 2009 by the University of the Philippines Baguio. Out of 72 species, 39 were herbs, 19 were trees, 8 were shrubs, and 6 were grass. The three most dominant species belong to the families of Myrtaceae, Moraceae and Bignoniaceae while two were identified as endemic in the Philippines namely Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) and mutha (Cyperus rotundus).[32]

There are about 2,600 trees within the vicinity of the Burnham Park according to the Baguio's City Environment and Parks Management Office's 2015 inventory. Most of the park's trees are concentrated at the Skating Rink area with 161 trees.[18]

2015 Tree Inventory
By the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) of Baguioc
Tree Count
Benguet Pine (Pinus kesiya) 372
Pink shower (Cassia javanica) 243
African tuliptree (Spathodea) 215
Agoho (Casuarina equisetifolia) 210
Alder (Alnus) 181
Eucalyptus 131
Others ~1248
Total ~2600

Parking space[edit]

A 3,000 vehicle capacity parking facility has been proposed to be built at the Melvin Jones Grandstand area of the park by the city government. However such plans has been met with opposition from heritage conservationists who have gathered 15,000 signatures for a petition against the plan.[33]


  1. ^ a b c "Executive Order No. 244 - Transferring the management, administration, and maintenance of Burnham park to the City Government of Baguio". The LawPhil Project. Arellano Foundation. 10 February 1995.
  2. ^ a b "Burnham Park Master Development Plan". University of the Cordilleras. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  3. ^ Cabreza, Vincent (27 April 2015). "Burnham Park declared heritage site". Inquirer Northern Luzon. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Mansion House". Malacañan Palace Presidential Museum and Library. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  5. ^ "On the Baguio Urban Ecosystem". Indigenous Perspectives. Baguio: Tebtebba Foundation. 10: 4. 2012. ISSN 1655-4515.
  6. ^ a b Brody, David (2010). "Building Empire". Visualizing American Empire: Orientalism and Imperialism in the Philippines (Illustrated ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 161. ISBN 0226075346. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  7. ^ See, Dexter (13 March 2015). "City, Dot question Burnham Park declaration as heritage site". Baguio Herald Express. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  8. ^ Fianza, Julie. "Burnham Park report". City Government of Baguio. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Executive Order No. 695, s. 2008". Official Gazette of the Philippines. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Presidential Decree No. 1762, s. 1981". Official Gazette of the Philippines. 6 January 1981. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  11. ^ Refuerzo, Aileen. "Fund for survey and titling of parks & city cemetery sought". Baguio Midland Courier. Philippine Information Agency. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Proclamation No. 401, s. 1953". Official Gazette of the Philippines. 27 June 1953. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b See, Dexter (25 July 2010). "Solon wants Burnham Park returned to national gov't". Baguio Midland Courrier. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Proclamation No. 2144, s. 1981". Official Gazette of the Philippines. 9 December 1981. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  15. ^ Fontanilla, Giovani Joy (29 April 2015). "Saving Burnham Park". Sun Star Baguio. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  16. ^ Catajan, Maria Elena (30 August 2018). "Foundation to block Dino Park". Sun Star Baguio. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  17. ^ "Planong paglilipat ng nursery park sa Ibaloi Heritage Garden, ibinasura" [Plans to move the park's nursery to the Ibaloi Heritage Garden junked]. Amianan Balita Ngayon (in Filipino). 11 February 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  18. ^ a b Empian, Ofelia (2016). "Bringing back the scent, charm of the old Baguio". Baguio Midland Courier. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  19. ^ Cabreza, Vincent (7 January 2013). "New Baguio attraction: Empty Burnham Lake". Inquirer Northern Luzon. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  20. ^ a b Polonio, Jessa Mardy (15 June 2016). "Murky Burnham Lake still good for business". Sun Star Baguio. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  21. ^ a b c Comanda, Zaldy (1 January 2016). "Burnham Park not a heritage site yet". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  22. ^ "SM, Baguio ink deal to develop Children's Park". Sunstar Baguio. July 7, 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  23. ^ "Tourists flock to Baguio orchidarium". ABS-CBN News. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  24. ^ Catajan, Maria Elena (28 September 2017). "Ibaloi tribe elders endorse Sinot as IP rep anew". Sun Star Baguio. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  25. ^ "On the Baguio Urban Ecosystem". Indigenous Perspectives. Baguio: Tebtebba Foundation. 10: 43. 2012. ISSN 1655-4515.
  26. ^ Buenaobra, Jhoanna Marie (7 February 2013). "'Masters' keep Baguio chess park alive, lively". Inquirer Northern Luzon. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  27. ^ Refuerzo, Aileen (15 October 2015). "Pope John Paul II monument proposed". Sun Star Baguio. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  28. ^ "Students plant roses in re-designed Baguio rose garden at Burnham Park". Balita. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  29. ^ Fianza, Julie (3 January 2016). "Rizal's zeal for change praised". Baguio Midland Courier. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  30. ^ Arranz, Jho (30 June 2013). "City inaugurates dancing fountains". Baguio Midland Courier. Philippine Information Office. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  31. ^ Cimatu, Frank (13 April 2011). "Looking beyond Burnham Park for tourism". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  32. ^ Soriano, Dahlia (January–June 2009). "Inventory and Assessment of the Floristic Composition of Burnham Park, Baguio City". UB Research Journal. University of the Philippines Baguio. XXXIII (1).
  33. ^ Zafra, Tricia (24 May 2015). "Brigada: A heated debate in Baguio City over parking in parks". GMA News. Retrieved 15 January 2018.

External links[edit]