Wednesday, November 23, 2016

[Travel] What to Expect in Baguio City for First Time Travelers

City of Pines.

In the mountainous ranges of Central Cordillera enclosed by the province of Benguet lies a city of rich history, culture and tourism – Baguio City. The Philippines is a tropical country so it means that at times, the weather is mostly hot in the summer season that tourists, local and foreign seek relaxation, leisure as well as learning in this gem city in the central north of the country. Its subtropical highland climate attracts visitors providing relief from the heat of the lowlands having officially named as the Summer Capital of the Philippines since the American Colonial Era. The city got its name from native Ibaloy’s word “bagyiw” means moss because the area has a lot of the kind of plant in the area. When the American came, they changed the face of the city to what we are enjoying today constructing bridges, buildings and landmarks reflecting history. Then came World War II to the earthquake in 1990, Baguio City is indeed a truly gifted precious land.


Mines View Park.

Mines View.


You may have a hard time finding a place to stay during peak season but booking sites like Traveloka.com allow you to compare prices and check out deals in advance. Also, if you are a shopper who wants to find product sales much cheaper than those in the lowlands, you can buy many products from fresh vegetables, fruits, jams to bargain items like those in the night market in Burnham Park. Food lovers also visit Baguio City to find the numerous specialty restaurants, mouth-watering street foods and sweets. I personally liked the organic strawberry ice cream and taho which is very uncommon in the lowlands. Even those who want a break from the city would find it the perfect place to be, with the many hotels, inns, and guesthouses in Baguio that cater to various kinds of travelers.





Baguio City boasts flower industry like no other city or province in the country.



How to get into Baguio City from Metro Manila?

The average travel time to Baguio City from Manila is 4 hours and 6 minutes with the distance of 247 Kilometers. There are two ways of travel.

With your own vehicle: You can through NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) then take exit 85 into SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) to take the lane and to Baguio via Tarlac. Just follow the road signs until you reach MacArthur Highway. Drive straight to Pangasinan, La Union then when you reached Rosario junction, turn right Kennon Road. There is also an alternate road in Marcos Highway, just drive into Rosario to the right entrance.

On Public Transport: The two main bus company that offer trip to Baguio City are Victory Liner and Genesis Transport. Victory Liner usually offers express trips. Their buses were equipped with free Wi-Fi connection and comfort rooms. Genesis Liner on the other hand provides travel time for 6-8 hours depending on the hour of your trip.


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Where to stay in Baguio City?

Exploring Baguio City would not be complete without planning where to stay. I suggest that you do a research about the types of accommodations based on your preference in consideration to your budget and comfort. In our last visit to Baguio City, we stayed in a friend’s house near the Burnham Park making us have easy access to the places we want to visit to taxi cabs. Transportation rates in the city are slightly cheaper than in Manila. For the budget conscious, you can look for cheap decent inns and rooms with breakfast included. Pension houses accommodate guests in house type rentals, they serve full day meals. Hotels were in various kinds ranging from those simple and neat to deluxe for those who prepared ample amount in their budget.


A view from the balcony of SM Baguio.


What are the most popular sites and tourist spots in Baguio City that you should explore?

The city of Pines is a land where history, nature and art meet. There are historical sites like The Mansion and Camp John Hay that could bring us back in time and learn about the important events in the Philippines the time they were built. Leisure parks like the very famous Burnham Park where you could ride the large swan boats in the lake, sit down in grass to have a picnic and indulge in street foods. There is also the equally precious Mines View Park overlooking the majestic mining town of Itogon in the northern part of the city. Last time we visited, there were influx of tourists but I could say that the view is very worth the visit. I love the colors of the variety of flowers being sold everywhere. The Baguio Botanical Garden exhibits charming flowering plants good for those who want to have ample of OOTD pictures the nature way. Not so far in the area is the Wright Park. This park in just in front of The Mansion with a rectangular pool sided by pine trees in the sides is seen in the area. It is where we bought the very unique strawberry taho (soft tofu) being sold by street vendors. For shoppers, the Session Road comprises of restaurants, boutiques, bookstores, department stores and bazaars. If planning to visit Baguio City through Kennon Road, you will see beautiful mountainous scenic views of trees for a good sightseeing. The premier military institution in the country, the Philippine Military Academy is one of the most visited and photographed sites with all its Pine trees, glorious statues, old military structures and vehicles plus the smile of handsome soldiers and military students roving around.


My favorite Strawberry Taho.


Wright Park.


With the natives.

Baguio Botanical Garden.

The Mansion.


Philippine Military Academy.

There are still so much to visit in Baguio City that I haven’t visited yet and mentioned in this article. For sure, they are worthy to be explored soon.


-Flordeliz Fullo


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