Thursday, September 1, 2016

Short History of La Trinidad

The valley of La Trinidad during pre-Spanish times was then called “Benget”, which means a marshy land (and the placid smell coming from it). Its original settlers were the Ibalois, who cultivated rice, kamoteng kahoy, camote, gabi, and sugar cane in their farms along the hillsides, and rice terraces along the mountain slopes, lake and rivers. Power and wealth was measured by one’s ownership of land and cattle, and it was redistributed by holding the prestigious feast of “peshit”

La Trinidad, the country’s Strawberry Capital, has its own unique contributions to the rich history of the Benguet and the Cordilleras.  The very name “Benguet” was once limited to the area of what is now the La Trinidad Valley.  La Trinidad is the namesake of Dona Trinidad, beloved wife of Spanish discoverer, Guillermo Galvey.  Sometime in the late 1800’s and 1900’s, La Trinidad was relatively the most developed settlement in the Benguet area. It likewise served as the capital of the administrative territory of Benguet during the Spanish era, the short-lived Philippine Revolutionary government and up to the early part of the American rule.

On June 16, 1950, La Trinidad became a regular municipality by virtue of RA No. 531.  Temperate-growing vegetables were introduced right after the war and for which the municipality was later widely known as the Salad Bowl of the Philippines.

With the commercialization of Benguet’s vegetable industry,  La Trinidad became the center of marketing activities in the mid 1980’s.  The establishment of the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post spurred the  municipality’s socio-economic growth.  This in-turn raised government income, and in 2002, La Trinidad became a first class municipality.

Today, with signs of near cityhood, amid an agriculture-based economy, La Trinidad continues to expand its commerce and industry giving emphasis to tourism.  It is the most developed and fastest growing economy among the municipalities of Benguet.  This owes mainly to its proximity to Baguio City and its role as seat of provincial government, educational center and trading hub of the province’s vegetable industry.

By the turn of the century, migration and urbanization steadily crept in, bringing with it a colorful tapestry of lowlanders and highlanders.

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