The Majestic City of Pines.
We all know Baguio too well with its famous and familiar cold climate, pine trees, and rich Igorot heritage. It has always been one of the most popular places to take a break from busy and stressful lives. Whether you are looking for some time to take a breather or to immerse yourself in its unspoiled culture and tradition.
Many of us have already visited Baguio not once, but a couple of times. Right now you may think you already know what you need to know. The places, activities to do, and other “basic” things a tourist should be informed of. How we wish that there was something to help us make the most of our Baguio experience?
Consider your wish granted because here is a TOURIST’S UPDATED GUIDE TO BAGUIO.
THE ABC’s of Baguio
As with other cities, Baguio has its well-recognized and regularly-visited places.
Located at Lower General Luna road, this museum houses precious memorabilia and belongings of the first Filipino president. Visitors are assisted by a tour guide who will explain the history and significance of the museum contents.
The Baguio Cathedral is just a few meters adjacent to upper Session road. The local Cathedral features an elegant neo-gothic design with a statue of the crucifixion scene in front of the cathedral façade where tourists have their photos taken.
The Benguet museum located beside the Benguet Capitol houses various cultural and traditional objects and historical records of the Igorot people. However for the purposes of cultural sensitivity, taking photos inside the museum is prohibited.
Also known as Igorot Village, this place boasts of elaborate themed gardens. It also has native huts which the Igorots normally use as their homes. The place is perfect for people who want to have a serene break amidst the noisy city. You can have your picture taken with the locals at the entrance but be sure to bargain first so you won’t end up paying too much and arguing with them.
Named after the city’s American architect and urban planner, Daniel Hudson Burnham, this park has so much to offer for its visitors. It has different facilities for recreation like boating, biking, skating or just taking a relaxing stroll around the park. The park also has beautiful and well-maintained gardens, grassy grounds, and an orchidarium where you can buy plants for your garden. There are numerous built-in benches and tables all over the park where you can sit or have picnics.
Camp John Hay used to be an American base before becoming into a business complex it is today. It has excellent hotels where you can stay, numerous fine restaurants to enjoy good food, and shops for high-end products. The place showcases its 5,330-yard, 18-hole, par-68 golf course with a golf clubhouse. It has ecotrails where you can enjoy long peaceful walks under the towering pines trees. It has the perfect picnic grounds for families and friends to just hang out together.
The Diplomat hotel is an old dilapidated building on top of Dominican Hill. Many people come visit the place for its reputation of being one of the most haunted sites in the country. For people who are not into its creepy factor, you can actually take your time in exploring the building. Though mostly run-down, you can still see a glimpse of its pristine past as you see its intricate staircases and fountains inside the building.
The Laperal White House or simply known as the White House is the infamous haunted house along Leonard Wood road near Teacher’s Camp. There have been a lot of paranormal sightings in the site especially by taxi drivers, starting the practice of honking your horn as you pass by the building. It was even featured in the famous documentary series, i-Witness, because of its reputation. The building has a tragic past, its owner dying in the house and during the Japanese occupation, there were rape victims and suspected Filipino spies beheaded in the place. Nowadays, it is the venue for the exhibit of beautiful and extraordinary bamboo art pieces. Contradictory to its haunting façade, the building interior is actually very exquisite with its traditional wooden staircases and rooms with fireplaces.
Mines View Park gives tourists an unprecedented panorama of Benguet’s mountains which used to have copper and gold mines. You can buy a lot of native handicraft products from local snacks to intricate wood carvings to take home as souvenirs and pasalubong. A must-try at Mines View Park would be the sweet corn and dried squid combo.
Located at Loakan, this 373-hectare compound is the premier military institution of the country and it is where future officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines study and train. Their spacious ground has a lot of spots to have your photos with. You can take pictures with decommissioned military choppers, tanks, mortars, field guns. The institution already requires visitors to pay small amount of P20 upon entry.
The Benguet strawberry farm is where you can go strawberry handpicking for P400. Although the farm offers strawberry handpicking all-year round, it is recommended to go at the months of December to March where the produce is abundant.
A few miles from the city proper, the Tam-awan Village is a place of showcased indigenous craft and art. The place features paintings by both renowned and budding local artists and also exhibits authentic Cordilleran huts. The village requires a small fee of P50 for adults but offers discounts for students, senior citizens and children.
More popularly known as the producer of much-loved Baguio pasalubong and snacks, the Good Shepherd Convent is run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. They make and sell products in order to help their scholars finish their college education. It’s good to know that every time you buy their product, you are helping in sending someone to school. The place also has a view deck which offers a spectacular view of the Benguet mountains. We definitely recommend taking home a jar of their delicious ube jam. We assure that you’ll end up eating it with a spoon all by yourself.
Aside for its iconic 200 hundreds steps, the Lourdes Grotto is place for people who want to invoke divine assistance for their personal intentions. A new chapel has been erected at the top of the site where you can offer your personal prayers and light candles. It is a highly visited place by board exam takers and college students praying for a passing subject grades.
Inspired by the Buckingham Palace, the Mansion was erected as the residence of the president of the Philippines during trips or events in Baguio. Tourists can only access the driveway near the gate and not any further. It’s a good place to take pictures.
This site along Brent Street is hard to miss for its bright pink buildings. The Pink Sisters Convent has a chapel where you can leave written prayers which the sisters will pray themselves, making board exam takers frequent the place. The chapel offers public mass on Sundays where you will hear the nuns sing like a heavenly choir of angels.
This is Baguio’s paradise for people who want to try horseback riding. It is wonderful if you want to feel that western-cowboy vibe as you ride along the park’s bare ground horse track.