Situated amidst the
mountainous region of Cordillera, 1,400 meters above the sea, 250
kilometers north of Manila, Baguio City is one of the few places in
the Philippines blessed with a cool climate. On average,
Baguio is at least eight degrees cooler than any place in the
lowlands. Not surprisingly, Baguio has become the "summer
capital" of the country. It is gifted with a variety of
cultural, historical and scenic attractions which make it an
important and interesting destination. As early as March,
tourists and locals take the six-hour trek up the zigzagging Kennon
Road. Within a mile of thec ity, the sweet scent of pine trees
and flowers already permeate the air.
are particularly drawn to this serene city. The annual Baguio
Arts Festival attracts aspiring painters and sculptors from all over
the country. Writers convene in Baguio to meet and recharge.
Baguio wasn't always a place of peace and leisure. In the
early 19th century, the Spaniards stumbled upon this ore-rich valley
and fought feverishly with the local tribes to gain control of the
land's bounties. While the Spaniards succeeded in founding
some form of governance in the area, the mountain tribes proved too
difficult to rule. Thus, the Spaniards parceled out the
province to the landed gentry.
the Americans, perhaps longing for colder climes, who saw the vast
recreational potential of Baguio. After building Camp John
Hay, the Americans proceeded to carve Kennon Road from out of the
mountain - and linked Baguio to Manila - and eventually to visitors
of all creeds and races.
only have a day to spend in Baguio, start your tour with a walk down
Session Road. The city's commercial artery, Session Road is
where you get your first bite of the charm and serendipity of Baguio.
Apart from a smattering of one-of-a-kind curio shops and fashion
boutiques, Session also features an interesting array of culinary
delights. Restaurants specializing in Chinese, Italian,
American, Japanese and Mongolian can be readily found along Session
Road. From Session, take a cab to any of Baguio's prime
attractions. Go horseback riding at Wright Park. Climb up the
252 steps to the Lourdes Grotto. Play a round of golf at Camp
John Hay. Cook a tasty chopsuey with the freshest of veggies
from the Baguio City Markey. Visit the Mansion. Stock up
on strawberries. Or curl up under a warm blanket with the
crackling of burning wood lulling you to sleep. For
night-owls, Baguio is alive with pulsating music and warm
spirits. There are a number of bars and discos that swing
until the wee hours of the morning.
Attractions / Things to Do
Rising above the city skyline are the pinkish hues of the Baguio
Cathedral. The cathedral is but one of a number of religious
landsmarks which dot the city. There is the Bell Temple, north
of the city; the Maryhurst Seminary with its brillian gardens; and
Lourdes Grotto with its 252 steps to heaven.
Although Banauo is nine hours away from Baguio by bus, the tourist
who takes the time to see this marvel of culture and architecture
would be greatly rewarded. Regarded as the eight wonder of the
world, the Banaue Rice Terraces were carved from the mountain ranges
centuries ago by the Ifugaos, one of the oldest known mountain
tribes of the province. The Banaue Rice Terraces have been
declared a "World Heritage Site" by the UNESCO.
Situated at the heart of the city, Burnham is the traditional venue
of the city's numerous festivities. The Park is named after
the city's planner, Daniel Burnham. Its man-made lagoon is the
site of many boating excursions. Bikers, hikers and skaters
delight in the park's criss-crossing walkways. And for the
romantic, a walk in the rose gardens is an absolute must.
A tour of Baguio is incomplete with a bite of the jumbo-sized
burgers and sundaes at the Club which was formerly the R&R
center of the United States Armed Force personnel in the
Philippines. Today, this privately-managed club features hotel
type rooms, seven food outlets, an 18-hole golf course, six tennis
courts, a six-lane bowling center, basketball and volleyball courts,
a heated swimming pool plus more for a definitely sporty
weekend. For more information, contact the developer at
telephone numbers 637-0111, 637-5348, 637-5332.
Over the years, the Park has been transformed into a shopping
showcase of sorts. It's here where you can load up in the
province's bounties: hand-woven jackets and blankets, silver
knickknacks and jewelry, and various jams and preserves. Of
course, none of these goodies could compete with the Park's
breathtaking view of the hills and valleys of the Cordillera and the
gold mines of Benguet.
One of the ten towns comprising the Mountain Province is Sagada
which is known for the numerous subterranean burial caves of their
ancestors. The Sagada area is a must-see for the archeology
buffs. Added attractions include the natural clear
waters of Bokong Waterfall for a quick morning dip and the studio of
lensman Eduardo Masferres, renowned for his stunning photographs of
The Baguio City market is a sanctuary for the most colorful of
floral blooms. It's also where you can find the freshest
produce straight from the farms of La Trinidad and Benguet - from
strawberries and giant red tomatoes to bright green lettuce and
lvely mushrooms. Baguio City market also features handicrafts
of all kinds from baskets to backbacks.
The tribesmen of Bontoc, Benguit, Ifugao and Kalinga weave beautiful
cotton fabrics with elegant ethnic motifs called lepanto. You
can find such fabrics at the city market. If you'd like to see
the actual weaving process, visit the Easter Weaving School down
Easter Road where threads are magically transformed into bags,
blankets and blouses.
Ifugao blacksmiths and Baguio craftsmen are renowned for their
interesting collection of silver jewelry. The St. Louis
University Silver Shop, just a few paces away from Baguio Cathedral,
allows visitors to watch young silver craftsmen at work.
Visitors can also purchase the pieces they want. Wright park
also feature row upon row of stalls selling silver accessories. For
best buys, Ibay's Silver Shop and Phil. Treasure are recommended.
If it's strawberry jam you want, proceed to the Good Shepherd
Convent. The nuns of the Good Shepherd raise funds for their
various charities (including unwed mothers and their babies) by
cooking some of the most delicious tasting fruit preserves this side
of the earth. Try the nuns' strawberry and ube jams, casher
and peanut brittle and coco jams. During peak season, visit
the convent in the morning as there's bound to be a long line for
From Manila, visitors can take a 45-minute flight via Air
Philippines or Asian Spirit landing in Baguio Airport. Or take
the six-hour bus ride through Kennon Road, Marcos Highway or
Naghuilian Road. From the airport or bus terminal, it's easy
to flag down a cab to get to your accommodations. Further
down, Ambuklau Road leads to Banaue, and Halsema Highway to the rest
of the Cordillera.
Jeepneys and taxis negotiate the city's winding road network with
ease. But if you really want to see and smell Baguio, take
long leisurely walks.
As for accommodations, there are at least a thousand and one
choices: from luxury city hotels, homey apartelles and pension
houses to quaint little country inns. First-time visitors are
advised to make reservations before going up. During summer
the number of visitors can go as high as 200,000. The peso is
the medium of exchange - although the dollar is also widely
accepted. Major credit cards are recognized in most
establishments. And if you're a little short of cash, there's
always a friendly ATM machine at Session Road.
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