Baguio City, Philippines, A Cooler Place to Stay Anytime of the Year

The Mansion, Baguio City, Philippines

The Mansion, Baguio City, Philippines

I love Baguio City

Living in Colorado makes me see the wonders of God when I am in the mountains, and secondly, it reminds me of Baguio City and the vast mountains in the Ilocos Region. The time I was still with STI – Systems Technology Philippines, I had frequent visits to Baguio City. At times, I would stay there for a few weeks to a longer month and those moments were some of my glorious times in the Philippines. The cooler weather as compared to Ilocos Norte where I am from was always something to look forward to. The fresh strawberries, mushrooms, and broccoli were my favorite picks whenever I was strolling by the market.  My mom would ask me to bring home fresh Baguio vegetables whenever I travel there.  Yes, we call them Baguio vegetables as these vegetables can only be grown in Baguio City. They have the best fruit jams, peanut brittles, wood sculptures, knitted shirts, weaved fabrics, native home decors,  and I would buy them for “pasalubongpresents.  I loved jogging in the morning and my favorite places for some rounds were the Mines View Park, The Mansion, Wright Park and the Botanical Garden.  These places are adjacent to each other and could be easily scouted on. The ambiance that each place offers brought me some relaxing and healthy moments in the mornings. I loved the idea of wearing my sweatshirts (which I rarely used them in Ilocos)   when jogging in the morning. The cold weather in Colorado makes me miss the light clothes I used to wear all year round in Ilocos though. When you are used to something, they become a part of you, and when they are gone, they are always greatly missed.

Wright Park, Baguio City, Philippines

Wright Park, Baguio City, Philippines

I had a chance to bring my American family to Baguio City and the weather was fantastic on a month of April after enduring a few weeks of humid and hot weather in Ilocos. The fun at the beach in Ilocos was great but the heat made my family feel sick.  We were in Ilocos the months of March and April, and the summer heat was pretty much on. I was used to living there but the adjustment when I visited was quite noticeable on my part as well. Baguio City’s climate made my family feel better. The winding road was just challenging and made my daughter feel sick. I should know better next time, and yes it happens to her also on our frequent travels to the Colorado mountains. It is wise to always carry medicines for these occasions so as not to spoil the fun. The best times to visit the Philippines are the months of January and February to beat the heat. Baguio City has the right climate any time of the year but avoiding the rainy or typhoon seasons which are the months of June through November should always be considered.

Baguio City is officially known as City of Baguio or Baguio. It is known as the summer capital of the Philippines. It is 4 hours drive approximately 250 km (155 miles) from Manila via R-8 and N Luzon W Expy/R-8. People love to cool off in this place in the summertime and this place has the fairest weather anytime of the year. The city is located approximately 5,050 feet above sea levels and it is the center of business, commerce, and education in northern Luzon, as well as the regional center of the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Traveling to Baguio City

Riding a bus or renting a van is your best bet to go to Baguio City from Manila or from any part of Luzon.  Avoid booking your bus travels online. I have made a research about the experiences of people booking their travels online and they have different stories and most have horrible ones. If you want to consider booking online, it is always smarter to use the bus company’s website and not a third party website. Why? If you ever encounter problems, you will deal straight with the bus line company. Your few days of stay in the Philippines is not worth the hassle. You are fine to call the Bus Line Companies for your booking or buy your tickets at the bus terminal during your trip. It just gets busy during peak season. Here is the list of holidays for the year 2018.

Burnham Park, Baguio City, Philippines

Burnham Park, Baguio City, Philippines – Daughter in native attire, Igorot costume

Regular Holidays:

January 12018, Monday – New Year’s Day
March 29, 2018 – Maundy Thursday
March 30, 2018 – Good Friday
April 9, 2018, Monday – Araw ng Kagitingan
May 1, 2018, Tuesday – Labor Day
June 12, 2018, Tuesday – Independence Day
June 15, 2018, Friday – Eid’l Fitr
August 27, 2018, last Monday of August – National Heroes’ Day
November 30, 2018, Friday – Bonifacio Day
December 25, 2018, Tuesday – Christmas Day
December 30, 2018, Sunday – Rizal Day

Special non-working days:

February 16, 2018, Friday – Chinese New Year
February 25, 2018, Sunday – EDSA Revolution Anniversary
March 31, 2018 – Black Saturday
August 21, 2018, Tuesday – Ninoy Aquino Day
November 1, 2018, Thursday – All Saints’ Day
December 31, 2018, Monday – last day of the year

Additional special non-working holidays:

May 14, 2018, Monday – barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections
November 2, 2018, Friday
December 24, 2018, Monday

Mines View Park, Baguio City, Philippines, Cordillera Mountains

Mines View Park, Baguio City, Philippines

Suggested Bus Companies

Manila City to Baguio City:

Manila Terminal

Victory Liner – Reviews

Address: 551 M. Earnshaw St., Brgy. 401, Sampaloc, Manila

Phone Numbers: (02) 559-7735, 09985915073

Quezon City Terminal

Address: 683 EDSA, Cubao, Quezon City

Phone Numbers: (02) 727-4688, (02) 410-8986, (02) 727-4534, 09985915054

JoyBus – See Reviews

Cubao Terminal

Address: EDSA Cubao, Corner New York ST., Quezon City, 1109 Metro Manila, Philippines

Phone No. +63 2 709 0545

Pasay Terminal

Address: 103 Sgt. Mariano, Pasay, Kalakhang Maynila, Philippines

What Not To Miss

Burnham Park

It is a place to wear and show off your interest in the Igorot costume (native attire). A place to relax, have a round of bike,  and yes bikes can be rented in the area including the authentic Filipino bike with sidecars attached to them. A small pond to satisfy your love for boating and benches to just cool off and enjoy the smell of pine trees. The park is close to the Public Market and bus stations which means when you are done with your shopping, you can take some time to have some moments to relax and cool off on this place.

Burnham Park, officially known as the Burnham Park Reservation is a historical urban park located in downtown Baguio, Philippines. It was designed by American architect and Baguio city planner, Daniel Burnham who is also the namesake of the park. The area was formerly known as Baguio Meadow. According to the Baguio City Heritage Foundation in 2014, the open field was often used for football.

Wright Park

Wright Park is a quiet paved public walk with a long reflecting pool lined with beautiful blooming flowers and bushes, and tall Pine trees on both sides. It adds a capturing façade to the main gate of the Mansion. It is one of the many parks in Baguio City that you will never miss because as said, it is close to The Mansion and Botanical Garden which are well visited.  Its main features are the long and shallow body of water that looks like a pond, known as the Pool of Pines, and the park circle which is on one end of the park. A place to ride your favorite and colorful kind of pony and some Igorots dressed in their native attires are frequented for a pose in exchange for a tip if you would like the idea of taking pictures with them. Native handicrafts are sold by a few native peddlers. It is always best to buy stuff with the aide of someone who knows the market.

The Mansion

The Mansion House is the official summer palace of the President of the Philippines.  It was built in 1908 to serve as the official summer residence of U.S. Governors-General at the insistence of Governor-General William Cameron Forbes.  The house was badly damaged during the Second World War and was rebuilt in 1947. Since then, it has served as the holiday home and working office for each President of the Philippines during his or her visits to Baguio.

The Mansion consists of an elegantly designed Spanish Colonial Revival main building and a guest house.  The front gate is still one of the most photographed section of the property. Tourists can visit the Mansion House’s museum containing presidential memorabilia.

Across the road from the Mansion House is Wright Park, a quiet promenade with a long reflecting pool lined with pine trees.  A long stairway leads visitors to the back where ponies for children are available for hire.

Botanical Garden

Botanical garden’s façade is decorated with a sculpture made of cement and stone depicting the different rituals of the Cordillera tribes, with Igorots in their native costumes that you would love to join in your picture taking.

A valuable addition to the place is a bronze sculpture uniquely made by famous Filipino artist Ben-Hur Villanueva. It depicts the original builders of the city, composed of Cordillera natives, Americans, Chinese and Japanese working together. In the same place is a beautiful garden filled with towering pine trees, budding and flourishing flowers or colorful nurseries that make it more inviting. I find myself sitting in this place early mornings feeling the cold air with the smell of exquisite and delightful flowers.

The paths are made of stone stairs and they make your tour around the area at different elevations which is a great addition for photographers. The Botanical Garden is the home of the Baguio Arts Guild and it is a place that displays Filipino craftsmanship. A row of souvenir stalls selling native handicrafts will make your stay engaging. It is a favorite venue for tribal gatherings and rituals, open concerts and other community activities.

Mines View Park

Mines View Park is five kilometers from downtown Baguio and it has an overlook ark to get an amazing view of the mountains including the Amburayan Valley and a neat view of elevated houses and the mining town of Itogon or abandoned gold and copper mines of the Benguet Corporation. You can reach the main part of the observation deck through a winding stone-covered stairway and it is pretty close to the parking area. You will love the shopping area here. In fact, we bought a few items on our visits like statues and carved wall decors made of woods.

Camp John Hay

Camp John Hay is a former military base for American soldiers and was designated in October 1903, when US President Theodore Roosevelt signed a presidential order. It is a place for them to refuge from the relative hotter weather of the lowlands.  The site is referred to the locals, the “Ibalois” as “Kafagway” and is owned by Ibaloi leader, Mateo Cariño.

In December 1941, Japanese warplanes dropped 72 bombs over the main gate of the camp during the onset of World War II in the Philippines. Camp John Hay served as an internment camp for the Imperial Japanese forces as well as the headquarters of General Tomoyuki Yamashita during the Japanese occupation period.

After the war, Camp John Hay was converted into John Hay Air Base in 1955 and remained under the control of the Americans until it was officially turned over the Philippine government in 1991. It was converted as a tourist destination and forest watershed reservation.

Session Road

You haven’t been to Baguio if you never get to see or cross the session road. Your story of Baguio City always starts from this road. A place to satisfy your hunger, hang out in the night time and nearby are accessible rides to the different places in Baguio City. A place to start and maybe end your shopping. Most street vendors are in this area. The famous ukay-ukay thrifty shops are all around the area, and the famous restaurants are all over, and a hilly road that takes you to all these places from end to end.

Baguio Market

With my frequent trips to Baguio City, I knew that I didn’t have to see all the scenic spots everytime. The city’s market or what we called “palengke” was never missed though. The ambiance and smell of native products, fresh produce can only be found in the place. The cooler weather while window shopping makes you on the go even with the presence of the crowd. It is deemed a top visitor attraction because of their unique and cheap products. They have all the native products in one place. Try their Cordillera rice wine called “tapuy”.

It is located at the lower end of Session Road on Magsaysay Avenue, and it is near Burnham Park. Adjacent to it is the Maharlika Livelihood Center that complements the market with boutiques and other specialty shops including money changers. It is best to visit the place the time you are about to head home to get the freshest produce and other stuff good for a present “pasalubong” so as not to carry the weight of these while roaming the city. You bet, you will love the shopping but, the weight of them won’t make you happy if you have to carry them along with you. Don’t worry if you are not able to shop that thing you wanted from Mines View Park, Botanical Garden or that scenic places you have visited,  you can find a wide variety of the handicrafts and souvenir items you’ve missed and mostly at a lower price on this place. Their strawberries, ube jams, and peanut brittles are not to be ignored.

Laperal White House

A Victorian style built by Roberto Laperal in the 1930’s as their vacation home. It is known to be a haunted house and its very interesting story is based on its history during World war II, that it was occupied and used as a garrison by Japanese soldiers. The house was built by Roberto Laperal in the 1930s.  Despite being closed after the owner’s death, the rumors of unearthly sightings are always spotted in the house. In fact, some stories behind these spotted scenes were covered or featured by a number of Philippine TV stations. Lucio Tan, a Chinese Filipino billionaire purchased the property in 2007 and made it into a tourist attraction.

Handicrafts, Local products of Baguio City, Philippines

Handicrafts, Local products of Baguio City, Philippines (Left to Right: Leis – made of everlasting flowers, Last Supper US$30.00, Statue US40.00)


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