High Road to Baguio

by - Thursday, May 21, 2015

If you’re looking for a getaway this summer, Baguio is the best place to spend it. 

Anna Magtibay
Photo credits Mr. Jeric Domilom

From above the mountain peaks of Cordillera nestled the summer capital of the Philippines --- Baguio City. The popular tourist destination and well-known for its cooler climate and is also rich with beautiful scenery, arts and local foods to enjoy.

And if you are a budget traveler there are a lot of things that you can do or see for a cheap price in and around the city.

What to do

Here’s a quick tour of a few spots in Baguio:

Burnham Park

Everybody knows Burnham Park. It’s the official go-to place and romantic place for couple. This is named after Daniel Burnham, the popular American architect and urban planner who came to the Philippines. He designed the Burnham using the urban plan of Washington D.C. (also his creation) as his template.
You can definitely enjoy the sights and try the activities like biking or boat paddling.

Camp John Hay

If you are in the mood for some ‘walking time’ or you love to run and if you are a cyclist, take the opportunity to explore the beauty of Camp John Hay.

In 1903, a land in Benguet was ceded to United States, and Roosevelt named in Camp John Hay (CJH). In 1905, John Hay died. CJH was a recreational facility even then, completed in 1913 by J. Franklin Bell, then the Commanding General of the Philippine Department.

One of the popular for scenic trail for jogging and hiking is the Yellow Trail and Teacher’s Camp’s. Alternatively, you can do some rounds of jogging at Burnham Park.

Baguio Night Market

Be prepared for a night of the longest ukay-ukay shopping along Harrison Road at the city center, across Burnharm Park from 9 pm onwards for cheap clothes, bags and shoes.

If you are a foodie buff like me you can also try all kinds of street foods here.  

Baguio Cathedral

They say that if it’s your first time to visit a church, you should make a wish and your wish will come true. Baguio Cathedral is one of the rare Philippine cathedrals not built by the Spaniards. This beautiful structure has twin spires and is one of the most photographed buildings in the city. From Session Road it is accessible by pedestrians who ascend a long concrete stairway of more than a hundred steps.

BenCab Museum

If you are into the culture of arts and history, then check out BenCab Museum where it homes the works of National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto Cabrera and other contemporary artists. The museum consists of 8 galleries (Bencab gallery, Cordillera Gallery, Print Gallery, Indigo Gallery, Erotica Gallery, Philippine Contemporary Art, Maestro Gallery), a café (Café Sabel), a viewing terrace, a function room, and farm/garden outside. It opens from 9 AM to 5 PM, Tuesdays to Sundays. Entrance fee is at P100.

Where and What to Eat?

There are a lot of good place and food to dine when you’re in Baguio. So here’s a list you may want to try:

Session Road
While you’re walking around session road, you can find a lot of nice restaurant and café which will entice you with their good food and nice interior design.

Chona’s Delight at Tea House
Take one big spoonful of combination of moist chocolate cake, cream, and still more chocolate with only P130. They also serve their newest product the Strawberry Delight.

Puto bumbong at Solibao
Every day is Christmas if you’ll taste Solibao’s Puto Bumbong that will definitely  perfect for a cold Baguio evening. Apart from its puto bumbong, Solibaon also serves notable Filipino classics, such as pansit palabok.

Strawberry Taho

It’s not Baguio without tasting the popular strawberry taho. The strawberry chunks and syrup added to the classic taho we know. It is available widely in the City’s parks.

Choco-late de Batirol (Camp John Hay)

One thing that you shouldn’t miss is to have your breakfast at Choco-late de Batirol. They serves rich, hot tsokolate (flavors include cointerau and strawberry, among others) and Filipino breakfast choices.

Café by the Ruins

I was mesmerized with the thatched-wood interior design of Café by the Ruins and its famous dishes, from the homemade ‘breads and spreads (pates)’ to organic salads, sandwiches and region’s bounty dishes such as the pinikpikan, Baguio Bagnet and mango curry. If you are a coffee lover like me, try their very own ‘Ruins’ coffee’ an Arabica coffee steeped with cardamom, and topped with whipped. They also served Iced Ruins’ coffee, Ruins’ Herb Tea and etc.
As a first timer in this restaurant I wonder why its called ‘Café By the Ruins’. As what they say, the site where it stands used to be the pre-war residence of the governor of Benguet. The structure was destroyed by the American forces, in pursuit of the Japanese Army. All that was left behind was a wall which in 1988, the owners of the lot ingeniously built around to be incorporated into the overall theme of the café.  

Update: A fire broke out at the Cafe by the Ruins on April 30, 2017. No one was hurt as the staff and the customers were able to get out. According to the investigation, an iron works from an adjacent building or cigarette butt thrown by a construction worker may have caused the fire. The Manager said that they don't have any plan on rebuilding the original cafe but they do have a second branch, Cafe by the Ruins Dua at 225 Upper Session Road, Baguio City. 

Café Sabel

Visiting BenCab Museum maybe tiring so why not try its in-house café, Café Sabel. They serve gourmet pasta, sandwiches, and salads using local ingredients while enjoying the sight of the interior design plus the garden view outside.

79 Korean Restaurant

Slurp down ramen under the streetlights of Baguio as this Korean restaurant serves tasty food yet affordable. The price range usually starts at Php 79, so not but if you’re craving for some Korean cuisine.

How to get there

Buses to take:

  •  Victory Liner (Cubao, Quezon City; Pasay)
  • Genesis Transport (Avenida, Manila; Cubao, Quezon City)
  • Philippine Rabit (Avenida, Manila)

Where to Stay

If you have time there are discounted hotel that you could book ahead of time online or the easiest and cheapest way to find a place to stay in Baguio is through Transient House which start to P350.00 to P500.00. 
Here are the list of Transient House you could contact:
Rose Matnog - 09274788913
Manny De Guzman – 09166922512/09219865001
Marivic – 0918797203
Agnes – 09161757175
Nanay Ella – 09175082825
Home Stay – 09153012797
Malou – 09178489123
Wilma – 09175077485
The cool breeze, fresh local dishes, and arts that Baguio can offer what more could you ask for. Take the trip to this summer capital.
If you want to know how much budget you’ll be spending with this trip simply write your comment or message me and don’t forget to follow. 

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