Kennon Road to Baguio in Baguio City - Philippines
Kennon Road is now passable only to light vehicles so that other routes to Baguio City, like Naguillian and Marcos Highway, are now available to all vehicle types. But once upon a time, Kennon Road was the only link to the City of Pines.
In 1900 Americans built the first road that linked Kafagway to the lowlands. Initially, they built both ends of the 30-kilometer long road at the same time. Later they saw the road had to be winding to elude clusters of mountains and make both ends meet. Thus, Kennon Road was built, along the Bued River Canyon. And in 1909 Kafagway was renamed Baguio City.
There’s a toll gate about a fourth of the way up Kennon Road near Rosario, La Union boundary, requiring a Php 15.00 (about $.30) fee each car. First, the ascent is gradual, along rice paddies and small villages. Then, steep walls of mountain sides come into view later and the ascent becomes abrupt. Kennon Road’s winding path is said to be the steepest and sharpest path to Baguio.
Then Bridal Veil Falls shows itself—a thin stream of cascading water even at summer time, somewhat similar to the splash of water from a faucet turned fully open. The falls ends up in a clear pool of, surprisingly, warm water. Bathers often stop by for a dip in the hot spring puddle. We also notice camps 3 to 6 as our ascent to Kennon Road gets more challenging and tricky.
When the turns get crazily sharp, that’s the point at the Kennon Road where we’re almost at the Lion’s head. There are actually two of them—the smaller one carved by nature and the bigger one carved by man and sponsored by the Baguio Lion’s Club.
The bigger one has a view deck beside it, colorful, of lime stone, and near a souvenir stall. The original one is still there. The Lion’s head has become a popular symbol of Kennon Road and is always associated with Baguio City. A few more turns from there, past camp 8, and the 45-minute trek up Kennon Road ends.
We enter the city through the intersection at Baguio Medical Center and take Gov. Pack Road to the city proper. Kennon Road, revealing nothing but huge rocks, mountains, and greens, dramatically uncovers a sprawling and thriving city on a mountain plateau which is more exhilarating to see at night.
Kennon Road is still the best path to take up Baguio City to visitors who have grown fond of its humble beginnings.