Before all other top destinations in northern Philippines jump on the tourism bandwagon, there already was BAGUIO CITY.
Over the years, this veteran in the field of travel has earned praise worthy appellations from tourists being “the city of pines,”the breezy city,” and “the summer capital of the Philippines” for its sweeping pine forests and year-round cool atmosphere. Yes, the city of Baguio is cold primarily because of its location. It rises to an elevation of 1,500 meters in the highlands of Benguet and is 8 degrees cooler on the average than any place in the country which makes it the go-to destination during the hot days of summer.
More than its climate and panoramic landscapes, Baguio is most visited for its diverse culture. It is an old-meets-new kind of place where there is a strong presence of ethnicity intertwined with a modern way of thinking. It hankers to remain relevant time and again, a pursuit made possible by its homegrown talents in the likes of national artist Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera who is known for his contemporary arts, mixed-media artist Santiago Bose who co-founded the Baguio Arts Guild, and sculptor Ben-Hur Villanueva who is notable for his metal and wood works.
Baguio’s constant reinvention has produced a surplus of delights that even extends to its food and shopping scenes. Go hip, chic, rock or sweet, Baguio has enough choices for you.
Days may come by, but for certain, with the beauty its bright morning, misty afternoon, and romantic evening bring, added with a vibe of light and tourist-friendly people, the city of Baguio will remain a top destination in the Philippines no matter what.
QUICK TIPS AND FACTS ABOUT BAGUIO
Here are few facts and tips to consider when traveling around Baguio.
- The best time to visit Baguio is during the months of February to May when the place is drier than usual.
- A flower festival called Panagbenga or the “season of blooming” in the words of the Kankanaey ethnic tribe is celebrated month-long in February. The festivity includes street dancing and parade of floats covered in creatively designed patterns of flowers.
- On an average, the temperature in Baguio ranges from 15˚ to 26˚C and can drop to 8˚C on the cold days of November to January. Adding up its altitude and forest situation, the place can go pretty foggy and damp and visitor may need to wear thick clothes, and a pair of socks or gloves.
- Baguio is the gateway to the highlands of Cordillera region where a number of notable rice terraces are located.
- Never go out without bringing an umbrella during the rainy season. Days may appear bright in the morning but may rain at a later time in the day.
- Public transportation in Baguio observes a curfew at 9PM except those that are traversing to Trancoville and Pacdal roads. You can take a taxi or go on foot to roam around the city passed curfew time.
- Baguio has a city ordinance prohibiting the use of styrofoam and plastic. Bring an eco-bag or your own container when buying souvenir items.
- Like in Metro Manila, there is a number coding rule for private vehicles traveling around Baguio City on weekdays. To get a coding exemption pass, visit the tourism office at City Hall Loop or contact them at (6374) 300 6500.
- There are five (5) major highways that lead to Baguio City. Kennon road with an entry point at Rosario, La Union is the most popular for its zigzag road and short route that takes you to breathtaking views over hills and mountains. While taking the road, take extra caution of the ravines and cliffs especially during night time and in wet season. On the other hand, the Marcos Highway which also has an entry point at Rosario, and another in Agoo, La Union is favored for its wider and safer lane.
- The rainy season posts danger while travelling to Baguio because of its road situation and cold atmosphere. Before travelling, know the weather condition and check your fog lights if the day goes likely to be damp and foggy. The streets of Quirino hill are prone to landslide, drive slowly and take extra careful while traversing.
- Baguio is a small town and oftentimes becomes very crowded. While here, it is advised to be aware of the surroundings for pickpockets specially when you are too occupied while walking or buying souvenirs at the public market or at the Session road.
- Igorots in native costume may ask that you take a photo with them for souvenir. You are expected to pay in return. Politely turn down the offer if you don’t have the money to pay.
- It is advised to buy a return ticket as you arrive or during weekdays to avoid the long lineup that usually happens on a weekend.
HOW TO GET TO BAGUIO
The city of Baguio can be reached only by land from different areas in Luzon. Here are buses and vans that you can find for each location.
Via Metro Manila – travel time is 6 hours, fare is P450. (If you are looking for a travel guide for Manila, check this link: Manila Budget Travel Guide)
- Dagupan bus at Cubao (02) 727-2330
- Genesis bus at Cubao (02) 709-0803
- Joy bus at Cubao and Pasay (02) 733-8622, (02) 853-3115
- Victory liner at Pasay, Caloocan and Cubao (02) 727-4688
Via Aurora – travel time is 8 hours, fare is P300
- D Liner bus at Maria +63 919 622 1649
- Lizardo Trans at Baler
Via Bataan – travel time is 7 hours, fare is P530
- Genesis bus at Mariveles (047) 237-3310
Via Clark – travel time is around 4 hours. From the airport, take the shuttle service to Dau terminal. Fare is P100, travel time is close to 20 minutes. At the terminal, take a Victory Liner bus with trips at 2:00PM and 4:00PM to Baguio City. Bus fare is P300.
Via Cagayan – travel time is 6 hours, fare P350
- Dalin bus at Tuguegarao and Aparri (074) 424 4301
- Gabriel trans at Aparri+63 927 515 0170
- Van at Tuguegarao+63 947 148 2544
Via Cavite – travel time is 7 hours, fare is P500
- Saulog at Cavite City (02) 727-2330
Via Laoag – travel time is 6 hours, fare is P480
- Farinas trans (077) 772-0126 to 27
- Gabriel trans +63 927 515 0170
- Partas (077) 771-4898
Via Ilocos Sur – travel time is 5 hours, fare is P480
- Partas at Vigan and Candon (077) 771-4898
- Philippine Rabitt at Vigan
- Van at Candon +63 930 326 5492
Via Ifugao – travel time is 6 hours, fare is P480
- Ohayami at Banaue and Lagaue +63 916 600 9333
Via Isabela – travel time is 7 hours, fare is P500
- Northern Luzon bus at Santiago +63 977 339 8480
- Van +63 947 148 2544
Via La Union – travel time is 3 hours, fare is P250
- Van at San Fernando +63 930 326 5492
Via Nueva Ecija – travel time is 4 hours, fare is P240
- Solid North at Cabanatuan
- Van Ban Trans at Cabanatuan and San Jose (074) 304-2795
- Van at Gapan +63 926 637 9697
Nueva Vizcaya – travel time is 4 hours, fare is P240
- Van at Isabela +63 947 148 2544
Via Pangasinan – travel time is 3 hours, fare is P200+
- Dagupan bus at Dagupan
- Genesis bus at Dagupan
- Victory liner at Dagupan
- Victory liner at Bolinao
- Van at Dagupan
- Van at Carmen +63 916 588 1845
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN BAGUIO
Here are 11 top tourist spots that you can cover in one-day tour or with an itinerary for 2 to 3 days while in and near Baguio city.
MINES VIEW PARK
STOBOSA HILLSIDE HOMES
TOP THINGS TO DO IN BAGUIO
Here are top things to do and activities that are worth a try in the city of Baguio.
- Take a visit at the abandoned Diplomat hotel and experience the ghost stories it is widely known for.
- Jog around the famous parks of Baguio early in the morning, join in the zumba session, or just walk around to breathe the cold, fresh air.
- Try the strawberry taho, one of Baguio’s staple food.
- Test your wits, play chess with some of the bright locals at Burnham park.
- Stroll the hillsides of Baguio and appreciate the wild sunflowers that grow during the months of November to May.
- Feel Baguio’s vibe and join the Panagbenga flower festival in February.
- Appreciate the local scene and artists at play by going around the Session road.
- Go on a reading spree at Baguio’s most famous bookshop, the Mt. Cloud Bookshop.
- Bargain for some vintage clothes, hip jackets and fine pair of boots at the Ukay-Ukay boulevard on a night market.
BAGUIO SAMPLE ITINERARY
In getting around Baguio, one can go DIY if you are on a shoestring budget or an arranged tour package. The sample DIY itinerary below is good for 3 days and 2 nights which assumes a party of two and will set back a budget of P1,270+ per person, excluding expenses for activities in the park, accommodation, souvenir and other incidentals.
Side note: Here is a travel guide for Batad-Sagada-Baguio good for 5 days.
Things to note for this Baguio itinerary:
- BenCab Museum is closed on Mondays.
- The jeep terminals are mostly located near Baguio Public Market at the lower part of the Session road.
- The Harrison Night Market is the most known place to buy Ukay-Ukay clothes. Stalls will start opening at 9:00PM and closing at 2:00AM.
|Arrive in Baguio||1:00PM|
|Explore Session Road||5:00PM|
|Mt. Cloud Bookshop||7:00PM|
|Sunrise at Mines View Park||5:00AM||P10|
|Try Strawberry Taho||7:00AM||P20|
|Buy Souvenir at Good Shepherd||8:00AM|
|Back to City for Lunch||12:00PM||P200|
|Stobosa Art Mural||2:00PM||P15|
|Lion’s Head at Kennon Road||3:00PM||P15|
|Chill at BenCab Coffee shop||5:00PM||P200|
|Back to City||6:00PM||P15|
|Old Diplomat Hotel||9:00AM||P15|
|Camp John Jay Eco Trail||11:00AM||P15|
|Check out and depart||2:00PM|
WHERE TO STAY IN BAGUIO
Here are top picks when it comes to accommodations in Baguio City Proper:
If you are heading to Baguio for the Panagbenga festival, a good base to stay is between Burnham park and Baguio public market for easy access to the road and transportation. Below are some of the accommodations around the area. Tip: Secure your accommodation ahead when travelling during the peak season in November to May.Up for grabs: Register at booking.com and use the link in your next booking to get US15 back. Link here!
Baguio top-rated budget hotels near Session Road:
- Lynn’s DoDropInn (Apartment) Check rate and availability here
- Zeb’s Transient House Check rate and availability here
- Baguio Holiday Villas Check rate and availability here
- Paragon Hotel and Suites Check rate and availability here
- V Hotel and Apartel Check rate and availability here
Accommodations near downtown area that are less than P1,000.00
- Bed and Bath at Station 120 Check rate and availability here
- RDJ Transient rooms Check rate and availability here
- Yellowbelle Place Check rate and availability here
- Benguet Transient House Check rate and availability here
Other popular accommodations:
- Travelite Express Hotel Check rate and availability here
- NYC Manhattan Suites Check rate and availability here
- Hotel 45 (where I stayed, near SM Baguio) Check rate and availability here
- Hotel Veniz Check rate and availability here
- The Manor at Camp John Hay Check rate and availability here
A giant lizard at the stairways inside the Tam-awan village.
Like in any parts of the Cordillera region, the locals speak Filipino and English in Baguio. However, here are some good phrases that might prove useful when you find yourself endearing with the locals.
English to Ilocano (the most prevalent language among the locals in Baguio city)
Thank you – Agyamanak
Good morning – Naimbag a bigat
Good afternoon – Naimbag a malem
Good evening – Naimbag a sardam
How much is… – Sagmamano ti…
Where is… – Ayanna ti…
BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER
Lastly, have fun and don’t forget to be awesome! 😉
EXTEND YOUR TRIP
Go to the nearest top destination from Baguio, the highlands of Sagada. Click the link for the travel guide.
Or, visit other top destinations in Luzon:
- Balabac Budget Travel Guide
- Baler Budget Travel Guide
- Zambales: Anawangin, Nagsasa and Capones Budget Travel Guide
- Palaui Island Budget Travel Guide
- Pagudpud Budget Travel Guide
- Laoag Budget Travel Guide
- Vigan Budget Travel Guide
Or, go to Visayas and visit these fascinating islands:
- Siquijor Travel Guide
- Negros Travel Guide
- Cebu Travel Guide
- Iloilo Travel Guide
- Gigantes Islands Travel Guide
Or, go to the surfing capital of the Philippines – Siargao! Budget Travel Guide here.
Or visit other countries in Asia:
- Bangkok, Thailand Budget Travel Guide
- Chiang Mai, Thailand Budget Travel Guide
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Budget Travel Guide
- Johor Bahru, Malaysia Budget Travel Guide
- Singapore Budget Travel Guide
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