Baguio City, the undisputed Summer Capital of the Philippines remains to be a top favorite among all other travel destinations in the country. Admittedly, I used to have a negative impression about Baguio and underestimated the things that it could offer, no thanks to the negative news I’ve been hearing from people.
Many say that Baguio city is getting worse and worse as time goes by. Some business entities keep cutting down trees that make the city looks more like a city of concrete instead of green. And the people that crowd the city are causing pollution, the terrible traffic situation, and other environmental issues.
The irony is not lost to me that the economy of Baguio is growing but its true beauty is slowly dying. I believe we should continuously remind our people and our government that once the damage has been done, we can no longer enjoy Mother Earth’s providence.
If there is a way to travel back in time to see Baguio in its old glory and to experience the subject of many regrets of people who have seen its old beauty, I definitely would. In reality, though, I can only appreciate the Baguio in present time. I may not have seen Baguio in the olden days but I still think it’s beautiful. My recent trip the City of Flowers and having had a chance to do some little explorations, I can definitely see myself living in Baguio.
If I get a chance to resign my current job and then work and live in Baguio, I’d do it in a heartbeat due to the following reasons:
1) The Weather
This terrible heat we are experiencing in Manila these past few months makes me wish that I’m living in Baguio. The city is cold even at noon time and sleeping is no trouble even without an electric fan. The morning we arrived in Baguio, we were welcomed by a 16 °C temperature, too far from the 30° C heat of Manila. Since I got back, not a day goes by that I didn’t wish Baguio weather is the kind of weather I’ve been wishing for since that day I arrive back here.
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2) Parks and Gardens
Baguio City remains the home of beautiful parks and gardens in the country despite the growing numbers of residential buildings and business establishments. There’s the famous Burnham Park where you can see people jogging early in the morning, parents teaching their kids how to bike, tourists paddling on the man-made lake, and people watching the dancing fountain at night. It’s an ideal place to take a walk, talk with friends, or just hang out for relaxation.
Other parks and gardens that I visited are the Botanical Garden where I enjoyed an afternoon walk to the view of various plants and flowers, the Wright Park where you can also see The Mansion, the Rizal Park that honors our national hero, and the tourists’ favorite, Mine’s View Park (or should I say houses’ view park?)
3) Food trip
Before taking the trip, I read a number of reviews on where to eat in Baguio City and the list was pretty overwhelming. As much as I would love to try them all, I couldn’t due to my short visit. But these restaurants, bars, and cafés are one of the reasons why I’m so excited to go back to Baguio and do more food trips.
Here are some of the places I visited:
- Cafe by the Ruins
As stated in some reviews, one of the best places to have breakfast in Baguio is Cafe by the Ruins so without a second thought we immediately went there to know why. I suggest you go here before you start your day activities in the city. You will love its charm and rustic interior design. Though, I find the meals to be a bit expensive. I order tinapang bangus for PHP340.00. It comes with a big serving of fish and salted egg, one cup of red rice, drink of your choice, and fresh fruits. The staff is attentive and courteous, which makes dining really comfortable. Based on our experience, I can guarantee you that this is a must-try place in Baguio City.
- Oh My Gulay!
This place had me saying “Oooh!” the moment I stepped inside. Its unique concept is really fantastic. Who would have thought that in the busy street of Session Road there’s an old building named, La Azotea where you could find this perfect spot that offers healthy food (they only serve fresh vegetables). It’s like an oasis in the center of Baguio.
We ordered pestong kamatis, salad, and Oh My Gulay rice. Everything was delicious. Its unbeatable concept comes with fresh and affordable vegetarian meals.
- Good Taste
One of most crowded restaurants in Baguio City that I visited is Good Taste. Famous with people on a budget, they serve big servings of super affordable food that taste really good. No doubt this place is a favorite by many tourists. You have to be extra patient though because their service is slow. We ordered the all-time favorite buttered chicken and chopsuey, good enough for 3 persons. We even had taken out some of our food for our breakfast the next day.
- Ketchup Food Community
KFC has an awesome concept. You can order at any restaurants inside the community and they will deliver the food to the table or restaurant of your choosing. The restaurants inside the community are Canto, Green Pepper, Happy Tummy, Rancho Norte, and Rumah Sate. We just ordered and dined at Canto though. I ordered half a serving of baby back ribs, which was affordable and pleasant. I also loved the ambiance, I just didn’t like the stinky smell outside brought about by the fact that the place is near the Wright Horse Track.
- Beans Talk
Lastly, don’t forget to buy the best pandesal at Danes Café. Also, try the street food in the night market, ihaw-ihaw and buy Pasalubong at Good Sheperd near Mines View Park.
4) Wagwagan, Ukay-Ukay, and the Night Market
Why shop in the mall if you can wag-wag (shake) then ukay-ukay (dig) clothes for as low as PHP10.00. Alynna, my friend’s sister, gave us a tour of her favorite shopping place in Baguio City. She calls it Wagwagan, located on the hill top behind the Baguio City Market. I was really surprised to see clothes that cheap. As we walked and dug further, we found items that went as low as PHP5.00. Now this is what I call a shopping haven. If you’re lucky you even can find unused signature items here.
Shopping never ends in Baguio City as part of Harrison Road is closed for vehicles and open for vendors and public to do their shopping at night. The night market is open from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight. Just be mindful of your personal belongings as I heard stories of pick-pocketing in this very busy area.
5) BenCab Museum
I’m really not an art fanatic except for sculptures so I thought that I would not appreciate what’s inside BenCab Museum; I was wrong. To be honest, I didn’t know who BenCab is so I wanted to slap myself when I found out that BenCab houses the artwork of the national artist, Benedicto Reyes Cabrera. In his career that spanned four decades, he won several local and international awards for his artwork.
The place combines art and nature. The museum is divided into different art categories and it has a cafe where you can stay for lunch or snacks. The outdoor setting is the best part of the museum for its awesome view of nature.
General Information from their website
Tuesdays to Sundays 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (last entry at 5:30 p.m.)
Closed on Mondays, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
General: PHP100.00 Students and senior citizens with valid ID: PHP80.00 Special rates for student groups with prior arrangement
- Guided tours of the Museum and Gardens may be arranged at the reception.
- Outside food and drinks are not permitted in the Museum. Food and drinks are permitted only in Café Sabel and may not be carried into the galleries or other areas.
- Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the Museum.
- Still photography for personal use is permitted. No flash or tripods allowed. Videotaping is permitted in the lobby only. No photographs or videotapes may be reproduced, distributed, or sold without permission from the Museum.
- Sketching is permitted in the galleries (pencil only, no ink or paint) with sketchbooks no larger than 8 1/2 x 11 inches (21.6 x 27.9 cm). No easels, stools, or sketching while sitting on the floor is permitted.
Car: 15-minute drive from Baguio City center
Public transport: Jeep to Asin from jeepney terminal near Baguio market
6) Baguio Taxi Drivers
I super hate most of the taxi drivers in Manila. On the contrary, I super love the taxi drivers in Baguio. They never rejected us no matter how far the destination and regardless of the traffic situation. They are courteous all the time, always return the change, and didn’t try to negotiate fare rates, or ask for tips. When we did give them tips they sounded real grateful. I wish Manila taxi drivers would learn from the good taxi drivers of Baguio.
My 3-day stay in Baguio is definitely not enough to explore what I consider to be the COOLest city in the Philippines. I love that it only takes a short travel from Manila, I love the weather, and I love the view. I’d certainly like to go back to my newest favorite city. Baguio is a perfect place to breathe the fresh air, rejuvenate, and relax.
How about you? What are the things that you love about Baguio?