Lion’s Head in Baguio City - Philippines

It is the face of Baguio City for just about everyone: the famous Lion’s Head overlooking Kennon Road. If you come and see only one Philippine tourist site in the region, make it the Lion’s Head. In fact no visit to Baguio is complete without having your picture taken with the head in the background. It is unmistakably an image of the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

It all began with an oddly shaped boulder along Kennon Road, a major highway leading to Baguio. This was once nothing but a natural rock formation made of limestone. However in time, residents noticed that the rock was shaped like the head of a male lion, with a mane.

Eventually a group of people who members of the Lions’ Club decided to perfect what nature had begun by accident. That is, they wanted to refine the rough leonine shape and make an actual lion’s head. Obviously it was the group’s desire to imprint their identity on the city’s landscape. And so they did.

Then Baguio City mayor Luis Landazabal is credited to be one of the spearheaders of this Philippine tourist site project. He was then the club president. Work is said to have started in the year 1968 but was halted the following year. A subsequent president, Robert Webber, took over the project in the early 1970s. Webber relied on his own team of engineers and miners from his mining company to set up the Lion’s Head. For the actual artistic carving of the façade, he hired Reynaldo Lopez Nanyac, a successful woodcarver of the Ifugao tribe. Nanyac finished the Lion’s Head in 1972.

Future club leaders would work on the lion project again and again. The head was repainted several times from gold-black to white and brown to yellow, but old wisdom prevailed and it was restored to its formidable gold and black look.

In 1990 a major earthquake hit northern Luzon, causing damage to the Lion’s Head. The occasional vandalism by local residents did not help. But the Lions’ Club members were able to restore the head to its original majesty.

The Lion’s Head is at Camp 6 several kilometers from the Kennon Road view deck. This formidable piece of architecture is about 40 feet tall and casts an imposing glance over the land with its dark countenance. Near the head you will find many stands where you can buy snacks and drinks to refresh yourself during your visit. It takes about 45 minutes to drive along Kennon Road to see the Lion’s Head. It is among a major Philippine tourist site that you cannot afford to skip.

 




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