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Travel Guide to Baguio: The City That Kissed the Clouds Edit

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Michelle Tobias  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

Cover photo by Jazzminyah. Graphics by Manel Solsoloy.

At a Glance

Located in cloud-capped mountains, Baguio is the country’s highest city, lending a cool yet ethnic ambiance. It is American designed, with vast public parks, cultural museums and villages, pilgrim sites, and shopping centers. Come January, its streets are filled with floats of fresh flowers in celebration of the Panagbenga Festival.

Overview

Wrapped in mist and clouds, Baguio is the Philippines’ loftiest city. It is most known for its numerous American-designed public parks, which offer sweeping views of the surrounding Cordilleran mountain ranges. Baguio is also the cultural center of the Cordillera region, paving way to a number of art museums and ethnic villages. These distinct characteristics coupled with its crisp cool air mark Baguio City as the Summer Capital of the Philippines.


Fragrant with thousands of pine trees, Baguio is built with sprawling outdoor parks, designed by the American architect Daniel Burnham. Some of its best listed parks include Mines View Park, Burnham Park, Wright Park, and Botanical Garden. The most recommended attraction is the 690-hectare Camp John Hay, a former vacation and recreation facility for American soldiers.


What differentiates Baguio from all other cities in the Philippines is its indigenous culture and art. Notable artsy sites in the city include the four-storey BenCab Museum, the indigenous village of Tam-Awan, the nearby art gallery Arko ni Apo, and the eclectic Ili Likha Artist Village. Interestingly, visitors also go to Baguio for ghost-hunting in interesting places such as the Laperal Mansion, the Old Diplomat Hotel, and at Teacher’s Camp.


During Holy Week, pilgrims in and around Baguio flock Baguio Church, or take a 252-step ascent to Lourdes Grotto. Those looking for a natural kind of high can take a one-hour climb up Mt. Cabuyao before dawn and wait for the dazzling sunrise as the surrounding views bleed into color. The best time to visit Baguio is during its Panagbenga Festival, when the streets are filled with thousands of freshly picked flowers and wonderful scents!

8 Chillout Activities that will make your next Baguio trip UNFORGETTABLE

Words by Colleen Cabili

Asin Hot Springs

Just a mere 30-minute drive from the city proper is a series of resorts that source their water from below the ground. These natural pools are frequented by tourists and residents during the summer season, since the warm temperature of the water evenly balances out the cool but dry winds from the mountains. 

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Photo by Jacky Barnayha-Sadera.

Baguio Craft Brewery

Baguio Craft Brewery, the city’s go-to hangout place for freshly brewed, high-quality beer, started out as a passion project in the garage of its owner, Christopher Ordas. 

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Photo by Baguio Craft Brewery.

Session Road

Being Baguio's commercial center, this highway is usually every visitor's go-to after an exhausting day of touring the city. Lined with a healthy mix of homey and commercial restaurants and establishments, even the pickiest eater will surely leave Session Road burping! Must-tries in the area are Visco's delectable strawberry shortcake and Pizza Volante's Pizza Marengo. 

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Photo from instagram.com/jorubia_cementery.
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Photo by Yvethe Santiago.
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Photo by Myron Mendoza.

Ili-Likha Artists Village

This vibrant art and food hub by film director and writer Kidlat Tahimik can be found right in the middle of the busy Session Road.

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Photo by Aubrey Miles.

Botanical Garden

This spacious park at downtown Baguio has an art gallery maintained by the Baguio Arts Guild and several souvenir shops that carry native handicrafts for all ages. Amidst the towering pine trees are pocket gardens filled with flowering bushes and life sized relics of an Igorot Village.

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Photo from instagram.com/mik_mikiam

Tam-awan Village

Established by BenCab and the Chanum Foundation in 1998, the village contains authentic Ifugao huts alongside permanent exhibits, cafes, and stores that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the region. 

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Photo from Doug Kramer.

Harrison Road

At night, the lanes of Harrison Road experience a different kind of traffic—foot traffic, that is. This busy strip transforms into one of the country's biggest outdoor markets as rows upon rows of vintage and brand new clothes, shoes, accessories, and even electronics are sold at a much affordable price. Don't hesitate to practice your haggling skills here!  

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Photo by Bless Ong.

BenCab Museum

This four-level building in Tuba serves as home to National Artist Ben Cabrera and his extensive collection of contemporary Philippine art. The in-house restaurant located at the basement, Cafe Sabel, opens to a lush garden with a gazebo in the middle. 

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Photo from instagram.com/leslian_era.

Where is Baguio City

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Baguio City is located in the mountainous Cordillera Region in northern Philippines.

How to get to Baguio City

From Manila, the fastest way to get to Baguio City is by car, which takes 5 to 6 hours. Buses bound for Baguio can also be found in Cubao, Avenida, and Pasay. Travel time can range between 6 to 8 hours, at about P400/head. In Baguio City, the fastest and most comfortable way to get around is by taxi. The city’s main public transport, however, is the jeepney. Getting from one location to another in the city requires some walking and getting familiar with the jeepney routes.


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