I went to Baguio sometime in August to enjoy the cool breeze and to get away from the hustle-bustle of the Jungle (Metro Manila). Besides, Baguio is one of the most affordable, accessible, and uncomplicated places one can go to.
I went there via a Victory Liner’s bus (from their EDSA-Pasay terminal) and I had a really safe, convenient, and cozy ride.
Unfortunately, heavy rains caused by an LPA started to pour on my first day. *sigh*
I stayed in Holiday Park Hotel and I have to admit that it was one of the nicest hotels I ever checked in to. I got a Deluxe Double Room for Php 2,500 per night but the room was humungous, clean, and very pleasant for its price. Their staff was very welcoming and approachable. They have free wifi and a common pantry where you can get free water (cold and hot), among others. Most importantly, it is in the center of Baguio which makes it very proximate to the places of interest. It was really a total steal!
Baguio’s prime tourist spots are best explored on foot. But you can always take their public jeepneys or taxi. Most of their cabs are non-aircon for the very obvious reason and Baguio has the nicest and courteous taxi drivers. They return change (even loose change!) and they don’t ask for tips (a breath of fresh air because these rarely happen in Manila, right?)
What did I do in Baguio? A lot. Despite of the heavy rains? Yes.
From the hotel, I took a cab to the Pink Sister’s Covenant and I explored the other neighboring tourist attractions on foot.
Pink Sister’s Covenant
Such an idyllic place which is perfect for those who seek for silence and peace.
Brent International School
This not so far from the Pink Sister’s Covenant though there’s not so much to see here because I was not allowed to go inside.
A few walks away from the Brent International School is the famous Teacher’s Camp. Ghost stories, anyone?
It is located in the east of Baguio’s downtown area. It’s between the Teacher’s Camp and the Pacdal Circle. The Botanical Garden also known as the Igorot Village features native huts typical of the type of Igorot dwellings found in the Cordilleras.
Facing the main gate of The Mansion is the Wright Park, one of the many scenic parks of Baguio.
The official summer residence of the President so this isn’t open for public. I just admired it from afar.
Mines View Park
Unfortunately, I did not experience the “breathtaking panoramic view of Benguet’s gold and copper mines and the surrounding mountains” because it was hidden beneath the fog. *sigh*
But while I was at the Mines View Park, I got to taste their delicious strawberry Taho. Aaah, this is really something you don’t find elsewhere but in Baguio.
In the evening, I went to SM Baguio (which is one cab away from the hotel) and down to the Session Road.
From the hotel, I took a cab going to Camp John Hay.
Camp John HayThis is frequented by tourists because of its pine tree-lined roads, beautiful landscaping, and wide open spaces.
The heart of the Camp is called the Historical Core. I had to pay Php 60.00 to get into the Core.
Historical Core: Cemetery of Negativism/ Lost Cemetery
Welcome to the resting place of all negative thoughts that have become and continue to be man’s worst foe.
Historical Core: The Giant Panagbenga Flower
Historical Core: Totem Pole
Totem Pole shows the succession of historical figures during the first half of the 20th century. The totem pole was carved by Ernesto Dul-ang, a Filipino artist.
Historical Core: The Bell House and Amphitheater
These places were named after Major General J. Franklin Bell who designed the Amphitheater.
Historical Core: Camp John Hay History Trail
After I visited the Camp John Hay, I passed by this very posh hotel, The Manor.
I had my lunch at Good Taste Café and Restaurant which is just a few walks away from my hotel. They serve very affordable and authentic Filipino food. Its name says it all.
I continued the sightseeing after lunch but this time I rented a cab because of the tourist spots’ distances.
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto
It is located on a high hill of the western part of the city. The top of the grotto, where you will find the image of the Lady of Lourdes, could be reached by climbing the 252 steps or by driving a light vehicle through a zigzagging, narrow and steep asphalt-paved road.
“Tam-awan Village in Pinsao Proper, Baguio City uniquely blends indigenous aesthetics and exquisite Cordilleran craftsmanship with an artist’s concept for a village adapting to Baguio setting. Tam-awan Village is an experience in itself. By living in the huts, guests get an opportunity to immerse in an atmosphere that allows them to get a glimpse of village life.” (excerpts from Tam-awan Village’s official website)
Burnham ParkI did a little rowing of boat and little strolling around the park.
It was my last day in the city but it was still raining hard. I went to Session Road and Baguio City Market to buy pasalubongs.
Recommended Additional Itinerary
- Arko ni Apo – which is just across the Tam-awan Village. It was closed when I was there.
- Ben Cab Museum
- Wood Carver’s Village
- Balatoc Mines & Crosby Park – It is 30 minutes away from Baguio City. We badly wanted to try this but due to the unfavorable weather during our stay we opted to defer it for our safety.
- Strawberry and Flower Farms – again, because of the inclement weather we didn’t get to visit these places.
Other Must-try Restaurants
- Café by the Ruins
- Little John’s – in Camp John Hay
Anyone can celebrate Baguio–whether you are with your family or with your friends; whether you are just after the ukay-ukay shops or local crafts; whether you are in your honeymoon or you are in the stage of mending a broken heart; whether you are after its cold breeze or its green pines.
Anyone, absolutely anyone, can revel in the beauty of Baguio City.