The KAFAGWAY Tour Guides:
To begin with, many were informed but only a handful responded by the invitation of the Department of Tourism’s Seminar and Workshop on Tour Guiding. There were several postponements before this workshop materialized; that some doubted it would come into existence, considering the minimum number of participants required were at least 30-35 persons. But as a common expression says: “If all stars are aligned success is about to come! And this happened last May 18, 2009.
Indeed, there were 22 energetic professionals who came. Motivated firstly, to help promote the City of Baguio as a tourist destination, though the place has been as such for quiet a time, but due to the emergence of tourist sites in other regions, there is a need to regain the title as a premier destination. Secondly, other members within the group desire to hone their craft in tour guiding , for some were doing just as chaperon, lacking in commentary skills about the place, if not the history of it. Furthermore, majority of the guides come from Manila, depriving local tour front liners to do the job. Local guides are not accredited by the proper government bodies or agencies, thus the necessity in professionalizing the trade is a welcome idea and it is good for the industry too.
After almost 2 weeks of fun experience and we were fortunate, to have attended the workshop, KAFAGWAY was conceived among the batch. Of the possible names submitted this one came out triumphant. Why KAFAGWAY in the first place?
The original inhabitants are -Kankana-ey and Ibaloi tribes, dominant among the various ethno-groups; they called the entire place KAFAGWAY, popularly now known as BAGUIO CITY, since the area is a low open grassy space which means KAFAGWAY in their native tongue/dialect. In addition to it, the grass that grows abundantly was identified by way of this name also. Thus to come to a point, it‘s a spot, vicinity full of KAFAGWAY grass. This grass is classified under bamboo specie, at present termed Runo grass, used as house decor and paneling. The main characteristics of bamboos are, brilliant, strong and resilient; the group would rather associate to these magnificent traits. But then again, why not use names like Baguio, Pines, Strawberry or Cordillera so that it has easy name recall? These names are commonly used, though pleasant to hear. However, the group wanted a name that is historically grounded thus KAFAGWAY was preferred.
We seldom find this grass now, even the younger generation could barely distinguish it in their midst, as it give-way to the rapid development of the city. Nonetheless, tourist guests could interrelate the real KAFAGWAY- they are guides: with big smiles and welcoming spirit. They would like to share their colored-colonial past, culture and tradition, eager to tell the dreams and aspiration of the City of Baguio.
In behalf of the residents of the City of Baguio, KAFAGWAY Guides welcomes you to the Summer Capital of the Philippines.