Baguio

Baguio Travel Guide

Photo by Jayjordanbaquiran on Pixabay // CC0

Photo by Jayjordanbaquiran on Pixabay // CC0

Introduction

Situated eight hours north of Manila in the mountains of Northern Luzon, Baguio has long been a summertime getaway for locals and colonial authorities.

With a variety of churches, a former American military base, and some of the highest peaks in the Philippines a short distance from town, it is a great place to spend a few days when exploring Luzon.

Cultural Attractions

Start your time in Baguio by learning about one of the better artists in the Philippines by dropping by the BenCab Museum. Dedicated to the life work of famed artist Ben Cabrera, you’ll be treated to some excellent contemporary art this skilled creator has made over the course of his career.

In addition to this, traditional works of art that include wood carvings, sculptures, and experimental art by the likes of Leonard Aguinaldo will make your visit here a stimulating one. Just be sure to plan your visit on any day other than Monday, as this institution closes on this day of the week.

Fans of churches will not want to miss Baguio Cathedral during their visit to this city. Boasting twin spires, stained glass windows, and its distinctive pink exterior, this attraction is a highlight for many domestic tourists that head up here during the summer from Manila.

This cathedral also has some serious history behind it. During the Second World War, this place served as a refuge for locals seeking protection during the Allied bombing raids that eventually ended the Japanese occupation in Baguio.

The thousands who ended up dying in these bombardments are buried in the adjacent graveyard, making it a heavy spot for those who end up including this attraction on their travel itinerary.

Those wanting to explore more religious highlights in Baguio will want to check out Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. A shrine that draws scores of pilgrims per year, it commemorates the visions that the Virgin Mary prior to giving birth to Jesus.

To reach the shrine, you’ll need to scale a couple hundred steps, so bring water and a good pair of shoes when visiting this sacred place. At the top, you’ll be able to buy a candle to light in honour of the Virgin Mary, or other people in your life. Note that it gets particularly crazy up here during Holy Week, so be sure to get up there early in the day if you are travelling in Baguio during this time.

America had a long military presence in the Philippines – while they are gone in the present day, you’ll still be able to get an idea of what life was like for their armed forces in the Baguio area by visiting Camp John Hay.

Situated on a hill covered in fragrant pine trees, there are several points of interest worth checking out – start with Bell House, a modest but authentic look into the way things were in the wartime Philippines, move on to the gardens out back, then walk through the Cemetery of Negativity.

The latter attraction is a unique one, as it lampoons how negative thinking can lead to the downfall of a person – get some good shots while you are at it.

Other Attractions

While in the Baguio area, don’t miss the chance to go on a day trip to Mount Pulag National Park. Protecting the land around the third highest mountain in the Philippines, it draws climbers from around the country and the world to scale its cloud-shrouded peak.

Sitting at over 2,900 metres above sea level, it can get chilly up top, so bring warm clothes if you decide to challenge Mount Pulag yourself.

Ever wondered what goes on at military schools? When in Baguio, you’ll have the opportunity to tour Philippine Military Academy. While access is limited to certain areas, you’ll get to see cadets performing drills, inspect military equipment such as tanks and planes, and there is a small museum that explains the history of this prestigious institution. With admission at only 20 pesos per head, it is a cost-effective place to visit on your holiday in Baguio.

Watch local residents go about their daily lives by paying a visit to the Baguio City Market. Throughout, you’ll find a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on sale, with strawberries being particularly popular.

You’ll also find fast food, treats like peanut brittle, and second-hand shops called ‘ukay-ukay’, making for an all-encompassing experience that will make a visit here worthwhile.

Relax after a long day of sightseeing by visiting Burnham Park. A lush green spot amidst the concrete and diesel fumes which define downtown Baguio, it is a great place to exercise and for families to go. Boasting a lake complete with paddle boats, and with a skating rink as well, it is an awesome spot to unwind with your loved ones.