Metro Manila · Baguio City
Thanks to its cool climes and beautiful natural landscapes, the city of Baguio is one of the favorite weekend getaways among Manileños. Tourism in the area is usually at its peak during the summer months and the holidays.
Throughout the year, temperatures in Baguio are roughly 8 degrees Celsius lower than in Manila and other lowland areas in Luzon. For a couple of years in the early 20th century, Baguio was even declared the Philippine "Summer Capital" and the whole government would transfer there between March and June to make its decisions in a cooler climate.
Baguio has a population of almost 319,000, according to the 2010 National Statistics Office Census. That number can double when tourists flock to the city during the holidays.
What To Do
There are many trails, parks, and pine forests to explore in and around Baguio. Thanks to the mild climate, it is a good place even for longer hikes.
Popular destinations are:
- Camp John Hay, a rest & recreation facility. Take a walk on the educational Eco Trail with its romantic bridges!
- The Mansion, the official summer residence of the Philippine President.
- Mines View Park, with a ridge providing a spectacular view of mountains and valleys.
- Baguio Botanical Garden.
- Baguio Eco Park, a new ensemble of three theme parks, namely Dinosaurs Island, Holy Land, and Tuba Science Museum.
- Tam-awan Village, a compound that showcases the rich cultures and traditions of the Cordillera people, housing replicas of traditional Ifugao and Kalinga houses as well as an art gallery and a coffee shop.
Within the city itself, main attractions are:
- Burnham Park, where you can rent a row boat, go cycling, visit the Orchidarium, and more.
- Baguio Cathedral.
- Session Road, the main road with many shops, bars, and restos.
- Baguio City Market. Do not leave Baguio without pasalubong! The place is famous for its strawberries, jams, peanut brittle, Lengua de Gato cookies, honey, coffee, fruit wines, and many other delicacies. You also get cheap broccoli, cauliflower, and other vegetables that are very expensive in Metro Manila.
- BenCab Museum, where tourists can see up close the work of National Artist BenCab, otherwise known as a master of Philippine contemporary art. A cafe and a souvenir shop are found here as well. The museum is closed on Mondays, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
How To Get There
Baguio is located 240 kilometers north of Manila. The trip by car or bus takes about six to seven hours, including breaks and depending on the traffic. The last segment is a pretty winding road through the mountains. It can strain one's stomach but also offers breathtaking views.
One-way bus tickets to Baguio cost about 350 to 450 pesos. Most bus companies offer hourly trips throughout the whole day and night, for example from the bus terminals in Cubao, Quezon City.
Popular bus companies that go to Baguio are:
Victory Liner and Genesis also offer luxury trips, driving non-stop to Baguio in four to five hours. The buses have toilets, wider seats that can recline fully, foot rests, WiFi, and stewardesses who serve snacks and drinks. It is definitely worth the higher price of 650 to 720 pesos per trip!
Where To Stay
If you like it quiet and do not mind walking, we recommend to stay in one of the lodges a bit outside of the city center, for example near Teachers Camp.