Baguio City: From the Eyes of a Local
August 5, 2016
BAGUIO CITY, PHILIPPINES
Also known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines and the City of Pines.
I normally wouldn’t blog about this place because it’s my hometown and I’ve grown too familiar with it to actually “love” it but when I decided to do this and went around to experience being a tourist, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. Baguio, being one of a favorite tourist spot has a cooler climate compared to the other places in the Philippines because it’s situated on top of a mountain.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
If you’re travelling from Manila and you don’t have a car, you can take a bus in Victory Liner or Genesis. I usually take buses from Victory Liner because its terminals are a lot closer from where I’m staying but I prefer Genesis because they have this “Joy Bus” which is like a deluxe bus. Despite being more expensive than the normal bus, it’s really comfortable and you have free food haha! Victory liner also has a deluxe bus too if you’re wondering. Both Victory Liner and Genesis usually have buses going to Baguio every hour but I’m not sure about Genesis’ schedule for the Joy Bus. The trip usually lasts from 5-8 hours depending on what you choose to ride with bus stops of course!
If you do have a car or rent a car, you may pass by NLEX then SCTEX then TPLEX and then the ever famous Kennon Road for the fastest route to Baguio. Get ready to be greeted by the Lion’s Head!
FEELING ALL “TOURIST-Y”
Assuming you travelled by car, you would have been greeted by the Lion’s Head. It is one of the most popular sites. Tourists usually park their cars in the given parking space to get a chance to take a picture with it because as I’ve heard, your trip wouldn’t be complete without a picture with the ever famous lion. The landmark was the brainchild of the Baguio City Lions Club to make a “mark” of their presence in that area.
Kennon Road Viewpoint
The only time I ever remember being here was when I accompanied my grandfather tour his friends around the city. You can see Kennon Road from the viewpoint, also several mountains. We explored the place and it turns out that it has a number of “kubo” or huts where you can chill and relax for a bit.
Philippine Military Academy or PMA
As soon as you get there, a guard will ask where you will go or what your business is and just say that you’re visiting! Hehe. You can visit it any day provided that you must NOT be wearing short shorts, sandals or slippers, or tank tops – this by the way was my mistake when we went there because I didn’t know so I ended up staying in the car while my boyfriend took pictures of the museums and their models. Also, it pays to ask questions on where to go and such because when we went there, we didn’t really have the guts to ask for directions and we somehow got lost but along the way, the cadets always salutes you or greets you with a salute so that’s actually pretty cool.
One of the nicest times to go there is when they have their drills. I personally haven’t tried going there during that time because it’s a bit far from where I lived but from what my friends have said, it’s actually pretty awesome.
Oh, also before you enter the actual premises, you will be asked to pay 20 php for environmental purposes or something. It is also inclusive of the access to the museum and the restrooms.
Camp John Hay
This, as far as I know, is where almost everyone goes to to escape the city since it’s situated away from the city proper.
This place has a ton of activities for you:
- Treetop Adventure
- Visit the Butterfly Sanctuary
- Have a picnic in their open field
- Hike!! (at the yellow trail)
But since we were on a tight budget, we chose to check out the Bell House, the Amphitheater, the Secret Garden and the Cemetery of Negativism instead.
The Bell House was named after General Franklin Bell, the owner of the said residence. He was one of the great contributors to the camp. The house is now a museum open to the public.
Entrance fee is 30 php for students so you better bring your IDs and if I’m not mistaken, the entrance fee for non-students is 60 php.
This is a place to take a glance at the ever green beauty of the mountains surrounding the city of pines. It’s a place to look at the old roots of once was a mine rush.
When you say “Mines View”, the first thing that pops in my head is the St. Bernard that you can take a picture with. Yes, it’s true, that almost everyone who’s ever been there has had a picture with the dog. I can’t blame you though for not falling for its cuteness. For only 50 php for 2 photos, you can pose with the adorable dog. Another attraction in Mines View is their horses decorated with flowers and hair dyed in pink. You can take a picture on them for 50 php for 3 photos. For site seeing, binoculars can be rented for 20 php/5 min to see the view.
To be honest, all I know about this place is that the president of Philippines stays here when he’s in the City. I don’t really know much because access to the public is limited.
Horses, horseback riding and lots and lots of horse poop. You can experience riding horses here for the fair price of 400 php/hour and 200 php/30 min.
Baguio Botanical Garden
This garden is a tribute to the Land of the Rising Sun expressed both in beauty and history. This is a place to enjoy the fauna experience in a unique way of viewing. This, in my opinion, is unique among the rest of the parks because of its cave. The cave makes your experience even more memorable.
Situated in Session Road, this Church is the biggest Catholic Church in Baguio City. It usually hosts religious events or activities. The church’s mass schedule can be viewed from their website. You may also offer a mass as one of their services. Aside from that, they have a chapel where they offer Latin masses every Sunday.
Burnham Park is famous for its man-made lake. It was named after Daniel Burnham the city’s planner.
Activities in the park include:
- Having a picnic
You may stroll or engage in outdoor activities like football, volleyball, or play Frisbee, provided that you have the equipment needed. You may also walk your dog.
There are also joggers in the morning; some of them jog around the lake while the others prefer to jog in the Athletic Bowl. If you’re not up for jogging, you may join the Zumba session. I’m not sure if you have to pay for it but the last time I joined the Zumba session which was about 2 years ago, you didn’t have to pay hehe 🙂
**If you don’t have a car and you only travelled by bus, you may rent a taxi or a jeepney or a van, just talk to the driver and ask if he could take you to these places and just negotiate for the price**
WHAT ABOUT SOUVENIRS?
Souvenirs are all around the tourist spots! You may buy keychains, bags, t-shirts, bonnets, etc. Don’t forget that trips are meaningless if you haven’t gotten yourself a souvenir of some sort.
There are tons of other tourist spots which I would gladly talk about in my next article. I do hope you’re convinced that my hometown is your next vacation destination. For more details about each place, you can read it in my blog below! xo