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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 City, a popular tourist destination in the country, is in the interior of the province, however, the city is independent of the province.

Province of Benguet

Region: Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
Capital: La Trinidad
2000 census—582,515 (43rd largest).
Density—219 per km² (36th highest).
Area: 2,655.4 km² (49th largest)
Highly-urbanized Cities—1.
Congressional districts—1, plus the district of Baguio City.
Languages: Iloko, Tagalog
Governor: Raul M. Molintas (2001-2004)

NOTE: The data above includes Baguio City.

Table of contents
1 People and Culture
2 Economy
3 Geography
4 Tourist Attractions
5 History
6 External Links

People and Culture


Based on the May 2000 census, Benguet has a total population of 330,129 (582,515 if Baguio City is included), which makes it the most populous province in the region. 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%. If this growth rate were maintained, Benguet would double its population in approximately 64 years.

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.

Benguet is the homeland of several tribes, collectively referred to as the Igorot. Two of them, the Ibaloi in the southeast and the Kankana-ey in the northwest, are the dominant tribes of Benguet. 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%).


Most of the tribes in Benguet have their own languages or dialects. The Ibaloi tribe speak Nabaloy, which is similar to Pangasinense. The Kankana-ey tribe speak have their own language, which is related to the Bontoc language. Many inhabitants also speak Iloko, Tagalog, and English for trade and commerce.

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


Agriculture, mining, and tourism are the major industries in Benguet. Because of its temperate climate high in the mountains, Benguet is an ideal place for producing vegetables. Benguet is often called the Salad Bowl of the Philippines. 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.

Mining is another major industry of Benguet, which is one of the country´s leading gold producers. Other mineral deposits are silver, copper, pyrite, and limestone. Silversmithing is a large industry in Benguet, and many entrepreneurs sell silverworks at lower prices in Baguio City, compared to Manila.

The presence of Baguio City in Benguet draws a large number of tourists from the lowlands. Oftentimes, people who go to Baguio also explore the province, especially the strawberry and vegetable plantations in La Trinidad. (See also the Tourist Attractions section below.)



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



  • Atok
  • Bakun
  • Bokod
  • Buguias
  • Itogon
  • Kabayan
  • Kapangan
  • Kibungan
  • La Trinidad
  • Mankayan
  • Sablan
  • Tuba
  • Tublay


Tourist Attractions

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


Early History. The mountainous area now covered by Benguet is home to several native tribes which are collectively known as the Igorot. Two of these, the Ibaloi and the Kankana-ey, are dominant tribes of the area. Many of these tribes are believed by Filipino anthropologists to be of Malay descent. Before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers these tribes had a flourishing trade with the lowlanders such as the Ilocanos and the Pangasinenses.

Spanish Period. When the Spanish arrived, they attempted to colonize the highlands, having heard of the rich gold mines in the mountains. In 1572, Juan de Salcedo led a small expedition into southern Benguet, but the natives forced them to retreat. The first major expedition into the mountains occured in 1620, when Spanish explorers went into the La Trinidad Valley and briefly controlled some Igorot gold mines, which were later abandoned after a few years.

In the 1800s, the Spanish colonizers made more serious attempts at conquering the highlands. The first expeditions were done under the leadership of Col. Guillermo Galvey and it succeeded in establishing presence in the La Trinidad Valley, which he named after his 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. When the Americans took control of the Philippines, they established local civil governments in many parts of the country. In Benguet, the civil government was established on Nevember 23, 1900 by virtue of Act No. 49. H.P. Whitmarsh, a Canadian journalist, was appointed as the first governor of Benguet.

The Americans then established the 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. During World War II, Igorot guerillas and American forces fought battles with Japanese soldiers during the final days of the war in 1945.

Post-war Era. 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.

External Links

Cordillera Administrative Region: Abra | Apayao | Benguet | Ifugao | Kalinga | Mountain Province