Đà Lạt & Baguio, Twin Cities


Đà Lạt, or Da Lat/Dalat, is the capital of Lâm Đồng Province in Vietnam. With twisting roads, pine trees surround the area earning the name City of thousands of pine trees. It has a cold temperature despite that Vietnam is a tropical country, and it is covered by mists throughout the year that it was also called City of Eternal Spring.

Baguio may not be the capital of Benguet province in the Philippines, but it is the most famous of all places in the mountainous Cordillera Administrative Region. It plays as the center of commerce, business, and education in the North. Likewise, twisting roads snake around the city clad with pine ridges, earning the name City of Pines. It is also surprisingly cold like Đà Lạt despite the country’s otherwise tropical climate, having the name Summer Capital of the Philippines

Foggy and cold

Both Đà Lạt and Baguio stand over 1500 meters above sea level. Baguio City is higher than the provincial city of Đà Lạt, but the difference is just a  few meters. This elevation gave both cities year-round coldness that contrast the usual climate of the tropical country. Fogs crawl on the ground anytime of the day, and the chilling atmosphere go well for a cup of hot drinks, daydream, and romance.

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Đà Lạt

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Baguio

Havens for coffee and tea

While the two cities serve both delightful coffee and tea, there is difference in what they’re famous for.

Đà Lạt is best known for tea, as its province of  Lam Dong has a land area of 26 000 hectares for growing tea trees. In the South, B’Lao tea is the most preferred, and in the North crave, the tea brands like Shan tuyet, Thai Nguyen and Suoi Giang are loved.

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Cau Dat tea

On the other hand, Baguio is best visited because of the variety of coffee beans available. These beans came from different part of Cordillera region, and some of the varieties won awards from giving bodies around the world. The most purchased is the Arabica. The city is also a hub of many commercial and home-grown coffee shops.

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Benguet Arabica

Basket of produce

Due to the low climate, both cities grow produce like cabbages, lemons, lettuce, potatoes, beets, and strawberries.

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Đà Lạt Market

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Baguio Public Market

Land of Flowers

Also, because of the climate, the cities grow a wide array of flowers. These make the city colorful and alive. Both Đà Lạt and Baguio hold a flower festival that attract a massive number of tourists.

Festival Hoa Đà Lạt takes place every other year (alternating with Đà Lạt Tea Culture Week), exhibiting flowers and other agriculture produce to promote the tourism and economic development of the city. Locals from different regions also participate in the festival, and the recent number of tourists rise up to 500,000.

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Panagbenga Festival takes place annually in the month of February when the climate reaches its lowest points. The municipalities of Benguet and other regions, as well as private entities, join a float parade made of thousands of flowers. The festival serves as the highlight of Baguio City, recently attracting over a million of visitors. Similar to Pasadena Rose Festival in California, it’s the biggest event to look forward to in the city.

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Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler

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City of Pines

The landscapes of the cities are covered with pine woods, giving a picturesque and romantic atmosphere that everyone cannot help falling in love with.

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Đà Lạt

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Baguio

Tangled History

The Philippines and Vietnam shared a tangled history on the American imperialism. Both countries were broken by war but its people eventually built their countries back to rise and be known all over the world.

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Đà Lạt

The only major involvement Đà Lạt had during the Vietnam War was within the 1968 Tet Offensive. Fierce battles raged from January 31 to February 9, 1968. Most of the fighting took place between the South Vietnamese MP units stationed in Đà Lạt and the Việt Cộng (VC) forces.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Da_Lat

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Baguio

Following the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army used Camp John Hay, an American installation in Baguio, as a military base. The nearby Philippine Constabulary base, Camp Holmes, was used as an internment camp for about 500 civilian enemy aliens, mostly Americans, between April 1942 and December 1944.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baguio

Quaint and Poetic

Aside from the exciting landscapes the cities inherently possess, you can also marvel at the architectures. Asian countries have this distinct vibe that features the tropical and earthly cultures, but due to colonization, there were shifts in the sights around the city. The addition of foreign culture makes each city more admirable.

College of Đà Lạt

Đà Lạt Railway Station

Đà Lạt Cathedral

Dominion of Mary Convent

Đà Lạt architecture is dominated by French colonial period, giving the city a classical charm. The famous landmarks include the Pedagogical College of Đà Lạt, the abandoned Đà Lạt Railway Station, Đà Lạt Cathedral or the Chicken Church, and the beautiful Dominion of Mary Convent.

Bell House

Diplomat Hotel

The Mansion

Baguio Cathedral

Baguio, however, is dominated by American architecture. Since the city is filled with pine trees, most of the buildings and houses are built like cottages. The well-known spots are the Bell House, The Mansion, the haunted Diplomat Hotel, and the Baguio Cathedral.

Twin City

Although Đà Lạt is bigger than Baguio, the similarity of the two cities cannot be missed. There are still many things we can compare that are best to be discovered by your own eyes. After all, both are the havens for lovers and poets and anyone who loves the peace and quiet. They are worth visiting!

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