Baguio, is undeniably one of the most popular tourist spot here in the Philippines. With its cool climate, rich culture and spectacular mountain views, this city is surely you won’t want to miss.

I recently went to Baguio with a friend and its my first out-of-town travel without my parents! It was a fun and liberating experience and although we had a lot of laughs, we also encountered some bumps along the way. That’s why I decided to create this short travel guide to Baguio and share with you some tips so you won’t do the same mistakes that we did 🙂 Let’s get started!

 

BASIC INFORMATION AND BACKGROUND

Baguio City is located in the mountain range of Northern Luzon, Philippines. Also known as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines”due to its climate, the city is approximately 4,810 feet (1,470 meters) above mean sea level.  The city is also a witness to the country’s rich history since it served as a hill station among american troops during the 1900’s and was bombed by the Japanese during World War II. 

In the present, Baguio is now one of the most popular tourist spots in the country and also the center of commerce and education in Northern Luzon. 

HOW TO GET TO BAGUIO?

If you are coming from the South, here’s a good news: The Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) now offers Premium Point-to-Point buses from Pasay to Baguio City! Me and my friend took this bus since we’re both from the South (Me, in Cavite and my friend in Las Pinas) and our experience riding the bus is really good! It is a 45 seater bus, each seat with food tray, USB charging port, aircon, seatbelt and recline. The bus has also Wi-Fi and a restroom too. 

The price costs 525.00 Php one way trip but if you will book online, there would be additional 200.00 Php for the service charge.  I recommend to book online especially during the peak season (October-February) for a hassle-free travel. My friend and I are supposed to take the walk-in option instead of reserving online, and our target departure is at 2AM. However, when we checked the website 3 days before our trip, the 2AM up to 6AM slots were already full. Thankfully, we managed to reserve the last 2 seats online for the 8AM slot. 

The bus schedule is hourly, starts at 2:00 AM and ends at 11:00 PM. To book online, visit biyaheroes.com

If you are coming from Manila, you can either take Victory Line Bus or Joy Bus. 

WHERE TO GO IN BAGUIO?

Camp John Hay

Why you need to visit: If you want to feel the “City of Pines” feel at Baguio, then Camp John Hay is for you. This huge park offers a hotel, an adventure park, restaurants and lots and lots of pines trees. 

Top Attractions here: 

  1. The Bell House – If you are a fan of old houses and history, then you must visit this attraction which is a preserved old american house, with an amphitheater nearby.  There is an entrance fee of 75Php per head and there is also a coffee shop inside. 
  2. Treetop Adventure – This adventure park offers zipline rides, trekking , bungee jumps and so much more. I haven’t entered this adventure park yet, but its getting popular among tourists who wants to add some thrill in their baguio trip. You can check out their rates here 

My experience: For me, this is the best spot to relax and unwind in Baguio City. The place is faraway from the hustle and bustle of the city and there are no huge crowds since the park is really huge. I suggest to take your lunch or breakfast at one of their picnic tables here or take a walk in their huge pine forest for a full awesome experience! 

The only downside is that, it’s hard to get around in the park when you don’t have a private car since the park is huge and there are no cabs or jeepneys available in the area. If you don’t have a private car, I suggest to rent a taxi (this will be pricey) to take you around Camp John Hay. 

Diplomat Hotel

Why you need to visit:  This place is one of the top 10 most haunted places in the Philippines due to many documented paranormal activities here. Also, this is a heritage site which is built in the 1900’s and has played a large part in Philippine History. 

 

My experience: I went here with my family last 2016 and of course, the horror junkie in me is excited when I got here. I didn’t felt any paranormal activity while we are walking around the hotel, however the atmosphere inside is so cold (even colder than the temperature in Baguio) and gloomy. However, I found the place to be mysteriously beautiful – it was my first time to go to an abandoned place and knowing the history of the building, it feels scary and fascinating at the same time.  

Just a short background of Diplomat Hotel: It was built in the 1900s as a retreat house in Baguio at that time. However, when the Japanese invaded the Philippines during WWII,  It was made as a garrison  which witnessed a lot of brutality. They say that many priests and nuns were beheaded and babies were killed in the fountain inside the hotel. According to the ghost stories I’ve read, people say that they can still hear crying infants at night and a ghostly nun is said to roam around the halls.

If you are a fan of haunted places just like me, then you should definitely visit this place. The hotel opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM everyday. 

Inside the hotel

This is the supposedly fountain where many babies are killed.

Strawberry Farm, La Trinidad

Why you need to visit:  Aside from the fantastic view of the farm, you’ll get a chance to pick strawberries yourself 🙂 According to the locals, the best time to visit the farm is around February to March (the strawberry season). 

 

My experience: Since it was Sunday and already December (aka the peak season), me and my friend got stuck in traffic in our way to the farm. The strawberry farm, which is supposedly 20-30 mins travel from the city, became more than an hour 🙁 However, we still get to enjoy our trip since the view of the farm is really beautiful plus the mountains nearby. 

We were supposed to do the strawberry picking, however there’s no strawberries left for us since there are many tourists and it’s not yet the strawberry season, so the strawberries are not that many 🙁  If you are planning to go to the strawberry farm, be sure to go here early to avoid the crowd (and also the high noon sun) and for a chance to pick strawberries. 

 

There's also a lettuce farm here 🙂

Got a broken heart? Worry no more, just buy their strawberry ice cream!

We might not got the chance to taste their strawberries, but we got to taste their ice cream. It's delicious!

Beside the strawberry farm are numerous shops for your pasalubong duties, from strawberry jam to peanut brittle and so on. There is no entrance fee here at strawberry farm, but if you will pick strawberries, the farmers usually charge 500 PHP (USD $10) per kilogram of the strawberries you picked. 

Mines View Park

Why you need to visit:  This view deck park will let you experience on top of the world- the mountain ranges of Benguet is much more wonderful when you see it in person. 

My experience: The park is not that huge, however I enjoyed marveling at the view deck. You can see the mountain ranges of Benguet and we also did a lot of picture taking here (of course!). The only thing was, there are many tourists so its hard to take a photo op, so I suggest to go here as early as 5 AM( the opening hour) to avoid the crowd and also to view the sunrise. 

Aside from viewing, there’s nothing to much to do here , however, there are available shops here where you can buy pasalubong and other stuffs. We also got to try their strawberry taho 🙂 

Botanical Garden

Why you need to visit:  This large garden is a good place to relax and unwind- it’s like a smaller version of Camp John Hay. You can have a picnic here or jog here in the morning (which I recommend!). 

My experience: We went here at early as 7AM so there are only few tourist in the park. The last time I went here (before my recent trip) was 9 years ago and a lot has changed for sure. The place has already a Chinese Garden, a small Korean garden, and a large sanctuary. I think they will add more gardens since we saw an unfinished construction beside the sanctuary. 

Filipino Chinese Friendship Garden

Wright Park

Why you need to visit:  Just a short walking distance from Botanical Garden and a short jeep ride from Mines View Park, Wright Park is also a nice place to relax because of its tall pine trees. 

My Experience: We haven’t walked so much around the park due to time constraint since our check out is at 11AM, and we already arrived there at 9:30 AM. Even if’s a short amount of time, we had some picture taking and sat in one of the benches under the pine trees. It feels like we are in a set of Twilight movie, especially that it’s only the 2 of us in the particular area in the park. 

GETTING AROUND IN BAGUIO

If you have a private car, then you don’t need to worry much about getting around since you can either Waze or Google Maps your way to the tourist spots. However, for those like us who don’t have a private car, getting around is not that easy. Baguio is a large city – however there are group of tourist spots that are near to each other (ex: Botancial Garden and Wright Park). Depending on your itinerary and budget, you can choose which works out for you: 

Jeepneys – This is the cheapest way to get around, and you can easily find them too- especially if your hotel is in the city proper. The minimum fare as of this writing is 10.00 PHP. 

Taxi – Although a bit pricey compared to jeepneys, this is the most convenient way. This is recommended if you are with a group since its more affordable. Flagdown rate is 50.00 PHP. 

There are available Grab Taxis here, however they are very limited. 

Travel on foot – This is what we did on most of our trip since some of the tourist spots are near to our accommodation. Although it’s quite difficult since some of the roads are uphill- it’s a good exercise and you can save money too! 

WHERE TO STAY IN BAGUIO?

Through Airbnb – You can find a lot of budget accommodations as low as 700 per night. Our accommodation is located at Pacdal Road and it is near to Botanical Garden, Wright Park and Mines View Park – and also a short jeepney ride from the city. This is one of the best rooms I’ve checked in so far since it is very spacious and clean! Not to mention that it has a kitchen and a veranda where you can enjoy the view of pine trees 🙂 

You can check the room’s availability here

Here are some budget accomodations located in the City Proper: 

Hotel Veniz – Check Availability 

Paladin Hotel – Check Availability 

City Light Hotel – Check Availability 

How about you? Do you have any recommendations on where to go and where to stay in Baguio? Love to know your thoughts so I can include it in my itinerary the next time i visit Baguio 🙂  Comment down below!

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Published by Crizelda Nicolas