A friend wrote me, asking for travel tips for baguio:
My parents are visiting next month and we are planning a 3D/2N trip to Baguio. We are looking for places to stay, preferably yung mga house for rent since there will be 6 of us. In case may alam ka na reasonably priced, please inform us. Tsaka proposed itinerary na rin, hehe. Ang dami kse ng parks and we want to narrow it down to the must-sees. Thanks!
Here’s sharing an itinerary from the top of my head. Hope this works for others visiting Baguio! Do add your own tips.
* Burnham Park – go boating, ride a bike, stroll, buy souvenirs from street vendors; See the orchidarium with the pretty flowers/plants
* Session Road – walk, feel the city vibe; Try some of the local restaurants (Oh my Gulay)
* Baguio Cathedral – At the heart of the city
* SM Baguio – Go to the view deck, see the city in afternoon or evening – nice view.
* Market – buy your pasalubongs on the last day
* Ukay-ukay! – nuf said
Off-center (1-3 kms out)
* Lourdes Grotto – A classic. See your grandparent’s old “ekskarsyon” photos in Baguio and you’ll see the Lourdes Grotto. Drive up the hill, say a prayer at the grotto, then walk down and count the hundreds of steps. (btw, it’s a ten minute drive to Tam-Awan Village)
* Cafe by the Ruins – quaint cafe across the Baguio City Hall
* O Mai Khan – mongolian barbecue, mix your own dinner; Sizzling plate – steaks, sizzling dishes
Mines View Area:
* Mines View – the classic “view”, lots of photo opportunities with the view, the horses, the manangs/manongs, the dressed up flower booths. Souvenir shopping galore.
* Good Shepherd – buy some of the most sought-after ube jam and other food products
* The Mansion – Official Presidential Residence in Baguio; Photo ops only, no sleeping over.
* Wright Park – Horse Back-riding
* Botanical Garden – pose with the manongs/manangs, see the flowers abloom (sometimes)
* Pink Sisters – Quaint church; Get their delicious angel wing cookies, guess what they’re made of. Catch the Pink Sisters singing their prayers.
The Posh Greens of Baguio:
* John Hay – picnic grounds, food stalls, paintball, zipline, rapelling, skating, biking, hiking, butterfly farm. Visit the Manor, if only to see the garden beyond the hotel lobby.
* PMA – For a good chance of seeing cadets marching in formation, go there by 11am before the cadets march to their mess hall for lunch. Photos with military relics, photos with the cadets, a visitor’s center.
* Tam-awan Village – Genuine Ifugao huts brought to the city. An artist’s haven, visit their galleries. Get a caricature or portrait at a very good price. Drink some coffee. Catch the dance troupe on saturdays (Cordillera Dances at Tam-Awan Village, Baguio)
* Arko ni Apo – Right across Tam-awan Village, find a metal-works/wood-works art gallery by Benhur and Boom Villanueva. If you’re lucky, you might catch the artists at work, chat with them.
Advanced (a full-day!):
La Trinidad and more
* Strawberry Farms of La Trinidad — take a 30-45 minute ride to La Trinidad, go to the strawberry farms, pick strawberries for a fee. Try the strawberry wine
* Narda’s — a world-renowned exporter of woven textiles, their main branch is in Trinidad; (They have a branch near Victory Liner Bus station at the city center).
* Bell Tower – Buddhist temple, manicured garden, fountain. So zen.
* Easter School weaving – traditional cordilleran weaving. go straight to their weaving showroom where there are more than a dozen weavers at work. Chat with them, see how ingenious (and meticulous) weaving is! Once you’ve seen how they weave, THEN you come back up to see the end products — you’ll appreciate the end products more.
* (Tam-awan village is ten-minutes from Easter School by taxi or private vehicle)
* Session road – various folk/R&B live music and bars, Videoke; Jazz bar between Session and UB; Various bars at La Azotea, maybe even a concert at Vocas.
* Legarda – Kaffe klatch for great acoustic music! Gilligans, 18BC and other bars
* Nevada Square – clubbing, rockers, lounging, alcohol
Tips on using the above destination ideas:
a.) For first timers, cover the basics first.
Morning: Tour the Mines view area.
Afternoon, go around the city center. End with coffee or dinner at Ruins, O Mai Khan, Session or nearby restos
b.) For second timers or for the second day of a first timer, Visit the Posh Greens.
Start in the morning with PMA which is farther from the city. Ordinary lunch at the cafeteria (or make your way back to John Hay for lunch).
Afternoon, come back towards the city to John Hay (30 mins drive between PMA-John Hay). Spend the afternoon in John Hay, have some light snacks or coffee at the commissary or the filling station.
c.) Third day:
Do the Advanced itinerary (Start with farthest = strawberry farm) + the artist’s hub.
From Artist’s hub, you could proceed to Lourdes Grotto + Off-center (Cafe by the Ruins) to wind down the afternoon.
* This itinerary is light for a small group who’ll just go for picture taking without the activities.
* It’s a packed itinerary for a big group (a big group is slower going through the itinerary) or a group that will do the many activities available.
* Mix and match according to available time or preferred activities.
* The destination groups are within the same vicinity or route.
* Except for the city-center destination group, the destinations are arranged from farthest from city center going back towards the city center.
* Don’t bother driving around and wasting time searching for parking. Park then walk the city center, all within a 1.5km radius. If tired, get a taxi, city center is all within Php40 (de-metro).
* Off-center and MinesView area can be managed by taxi hired from point-to-point.
* For Posh Greens and Advanced (La Trinidad and more), it’s best to take private vehicle or day-hired-taxi. Commuting will add 15-45 mins each time you have to wait for a jeep/taxi.
* Baguio Hotels
* Book ahead, you don’t want to worry about accommodations. (sorry, I don’t have referrals in this department).
* If getting a transient house, ask how long it takes to drive to session road. If it’s more than 15 minutes, you’re far outside the city center.
Last tip: Lighten up! You’re with family and/or friends. Enjoy the travel time!
Enjoy your summer trip!
First published on Biyahe! A Guide: Baguio Itinerary
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