Baguio mountains, as seen from Mines View Park
Baguio  is a city on the Cordillera Administrative Region in the middle of the island of Luzon, in the Philippines. Due to its cool mountain weather, Baguio is considered the summer capital of the Philippines. Because of its many pine trees it is also called the City of Pines.
To get to Baguio from outside of Luzon, one would still need to pass through Manila or Clark airport and from there get to Baguio by either of the following ways:
This is the most common and economical way to get to Baguio Cityfrom Metro Manila. Several bus lines ply the Metro Manila to Baguio route with terminals scattered across the metro. It generally takes about 5-7 hrs to get to Baguio by bus. An hour longer than it would by car due to stops along the way.
- Victory Liner, ☎ +63 2 727 4534, +63 2 833 5019 to 20, . has hourly bus service to Baguio from its Monumento Main terminal in Caloocan City, Cubao and Pasay terminals. Buses are generally modern and air-conditioned but seats are sized generally for Filipinos and tall people would need to take advantage of the various stopovers to stretch their legs. Cost is just ₱455 per person one way (Most expensive among Aircon buses going to Baguio). A non-stop deluxe bus service is also available for 750 Pesos per person one way, water and snack are served during the trip. Semi-Deluxe buses are now included with one stop at Tarlac Shell station , costs around 650 pesos, no toilet inside the Bus.
- Dagupan Bus, New York St., Cubao, Quezon City, ☎ +63 2 929 6123. Also serves the Manila to Baguio route via its Cubao Terminal. Buses leave on an hourly basis.
From Clark airport
- Partas Bus operates a bus service that stops at Clark airport and heads north from there, departing the airport at 5PM. Get off at Sison (arrival there around 8PM) and cross the road to the restaurant stop opposite and get on a Victory Liner bus that does a dinner stop there. The fare from Clark airport to Sison on Partas Bus is ₱193, then from there by Victory Liner to Baguio is an additional ₱90. Travel time is 3 hours Clark to Sison, then 1 1/2 hours Sison to Baguio, plus some waiting time at Sison.
From Angeles City
- Philippine Rabbit operates from Dau Terminal. ₱250. Journey takes about 4-5 hr.
From La Union
- Partas Bus ₱92. Journey takes less than 2 hr
- Partas Bus ₱324. Journey takes 6-7 hrs. Bus about every 2 hours.
Sky Pasada no longer lists Baguio as a destination. It seems that only private planes land at Baguio now. Sky Pasada stopped the flights on November 2011, but have not yet updated their website which states that they do fly to Baguio.
From Manila to Baguio by car, take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) from Quezon City until Clark and then hop on to the new Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) all the way north to Tarlac City, Tarlac. From there, it's back to the old McArthur Highway until Rosario Junction, La Union. Motorists drive through the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Pangasinan and La Union (if via Marcos Highway) or Benguet (if via Kennon Road).
Of the three main routes leading up to Baguio, scenic Kennon Road is the shortest, taking only three-quarters to one hour from the foot of the mountains in Rosario, Pangasinan.
Marcos Highway starts in Pugo, La Union (a little further to the northwest from Rosario) and takes about one hour but is a wider, less winding road with a more gradual uphill incline and is safer in the rainy season. It has spectacular vistas of the South China Sea on a clear day.
Naguillan Road is usually taken by travellers from the north and will take longer.
All three roads can get blocked by landslides and Kennon Road with its long winding stretches is both scenic and dangerous. If you are intent on driving to Baguio, it would be best to hire a Filipino driver for this purpose. Most rental car companies in the Philippines offer chauffeur driven rentals in addition to the usual self-driven rentals. Visitors need to keep in mind that while it takes at average 6-7 hr to get to Baguio by car, it takes much longer during holiday weekends like Holy Week.
Similar to Manila, jeepneys ply various routes within Baguio and its immediate surroundings.
Jeepney traffic in the centre of Baguio
More convenient for tourists perhaps, taxis are also common but once you are in the outskirts may be a bit hard to come by.
Taxis abound in Baguio. Currently, the rate flags down at 35 pesos for the first 500 m, with ₱1.50/100 m increments thereafter. All Baguio taxi cabs are painted white and have the proper identification markings on them. Maximum capacity in each taxi is 5 persons (4 passengers, 1 driver).
Taxis can also be booked for a whole day tour at ₱1,800-2,000 for a 8-9 hr tour of all the main attractions in and around town. Find a taxi at the Tourist Information Counter at the Victory Liner terminal or through your place of accommodation.
Car rental in Baguio is a good option for short out-of-town trips and traveling around the city. There are several agencies offering car hire in Baguio and there are both self drive and with driver options available. To rent a car in Baguio you should have an international driver's license. Baguio usually involves navigating a series of winding mountain roads.The traffic is on the right side of the road. As the Session Road and the public market have a very limited parking space, consider leaving your car outside the city center. Rates for car rental Baguio companies can go by the hour, the day or by the week.
- Camp John Hay - the former R&R facility for American military personnel during the American occupation. Was turned over to the Philippine Government in 1991. Now under the auspices of the Bases Conversion & Development Authority (BCDA), Camp John Hay is now a sort of country club complete with an 18-hole golf course, horseback riding, camping and many more. A condotel has also been in operation since 2001.
- Session Road - the main thoroughfare of Baguio, where most of the city activity is centered.
- Mines View Park - enjoy the view of the beautiful mountain scenery and get photographed with DOGLAS (yeah, that's the right spelling) the St.Bernard.
- Philippine Military Academy
- Burnham Park - go for a walk or go rowing on the small lake (₱100 per hour).
- Strawberry Fields - go strawberry picking which is a jeepney ride (₱12 from Magsaysay Av) out of the main city.
- Riverside Hotel - Enjoy Hot Spring Swimming Pools in a Valley surrounded by Lush Green Vegetation and stay the night (just 19 km from City Center), near the two Asin Tunnels drilled into the mountain facade by the Spanish colonizers using prisoners of war during the second part of the 19th century, one 158 feet and the other 95 feet long (starting at ₱1,300 pesos per night).
- Panagbenga, The Baguio Flower Festival is held every February. Street parades, colorful floats and costumes and native dance displays have drawn huge crowds to Baguio every year.
- Horse back riding, Wright Park and its surroundings. It costs ₱300 per hour (₱150 for half an hour), plus a guide fee if you want to ride beyond the park.
- Take a panoramic photo from the top deck of the SM Mall. It has great city views, and also views of the surrounding hills and park.
- Hike on Camp John Hay, passing the golf course, all to top, and visit the cemetery of negativism, with wicked tombstones.
- Rent a tricycle for ₱40/hr on the Burnham Park, and have lots of fun, seeing the Filipinos driving.
- North Haven Spa, 21 Avelino Street, Ferguson Rd, ☎ +63 74 3005022. 10AM-10PM. Aside from the usual Thai, Swedish and combination massage, you can have a Baguio strawberry, Benguet coffee or Cordillera rice scrub, an indigenous head massage or the Dagdagis or Kolkolis, the region’s traditional foot massage using runo sticks to stimulate the soles of the feet. ₱350-1,950".
- Spa de belles fleurs, 5th floor ES Clemente Bldg. Otek St (Chowking Burnham, in front of Baguio Orchidarium), ☎ +63 74 424 1230. M-Th 10AM-10PM / F-Su 10AM-12AM. Body and facial treatments. “Spa de Belles Fleurs” means spa with beautiful flowers in English. ₱300-1,000.
- Good Shepherd Convent, 15 Gibraltar Rd, Baguio City, ☎ +63 74 442 3865. Peanut brittle, strawberry jam, sesame crunch and ube (purple yam) jam.
- Woven articles - various articles ranging from wristbands and bookmarks through hand bags and rucksacks to slippers, all hand woven.
- Wood carvings - rice god figurines, traditional Ifugao houses and other nice carvings made from hard wood.
For unknown reasons phallic sculptures in wood or stone are common in gift shops. A popular novelty gift is the man-in-the-barrel. I won't spoil the surprise, but suffice it to say the same children advisory applies.
Baguio has the usual fast food joints that are so ubiquitous in major Philippine cities. For a true taste of Baguio, have a bite at the following establishments:
- Forest House Bistro & Cafe, Great food, great music, great service. This is one of the must-try restaurants in the city. Visit Forest House located at 16 Loakan Road, near Nevada Square.
- Flying Gecko Restaurant and Cafe, 103 Session, (half a block uphill from Calderon Rd). A cool relaxed place popular with Japanese students. Mains ₱200-300, tapas ₱65/plate.
- Star Cafe & Restaurant, 39 Session Road, Baguio City. Serving Chinese food here well before the dawning of the fastfood age.
- Café by the Ruins, 23 Chuntug St., Baguio City, ☎ +63 74 4424010. Quaint ambience, hearty salads, pastas and juices and good coffee or tea to top it off.
- Barrio Fiesta, upper Session Road. Authentic Filipino food.
- PSD foods, UB square,Av. Gen. Luna, ☎ +63 443-8289, for a rock bottom cheapest meal of 25php. Very clean, free Wi-Fi after 3pm.
Baguio has a fine selection of accommodations, mostly cozy pension houses and small hotels that reflect this Philippine province's delightful homey atmosphere.
- AIM Conference Center Baguio, Igorot Lodge, Camp John Hay, ☎ +63 74 442-8878, . 27 hotel rooms and 6 cottages. Does not have a restaurant. ₱2,800.
- Atenara House, 40 Navy Road, ☎ +63 74 446 9808, . Deluxe and 2 bedroom suite with balcony, living area and kitchen. Coffee shop, lobby lounge, tour services, spa and massage services. From US$8/person.
- Azalea Residences, No. 7 Leonard Wood Loop, Barangay M. Roxas, ☎ +63 2 535 0519, . Deluxe and two bedroom suites with balcony, living area and kitchen. Coffee shop, lobby lounge, tour services, spa and massage services. From ₱3,600.
- Baguio Village Inn, 355 Magsaysay Rd.. checkin: noon; checkout: noon. 40 rooms. Extremely clean, basic, quiet, situated on a busy street. Common hot shower area but very clean. Approximately 15-20 min walk to downtown (Session Rd.). Free Wi-Fi. One of the best budget options in Baguio. Water refill station a few meters away, for ₱5-6/L ₱350. (16.4196558,120.5942792)
- Burnham Hotel Baguio, 20 Calderon St, ☎ +63 74 442 2331, . Friendly staff and cool lobby. The location is quite noisy, the rooms are old and literally broken down, and it is much more expensive than other choices. From US$20.
- Chalet Tepeyac, 177 Leonard Wood Rd, ☎ +63 74 444 6846, +63 74 442 3956, . 1940s vacation house nestled amid a well-preserved pine-clad hill. Accessible by public transport or by foot. There are twenty clean and cozy rooms, each with cableTV, telephone, private toilet & bath with 24 hr hot shower, and room service. From 1,860 pesos.
- City Travel Hotel Baguio, 15 Kisad Rd (across Burnham Park), ☎ +63 74 445 0456 (fax: +63 74 4450 4574), . Efficient and courteous staff.
- Citylight Hotel, 245 Upper General Luna Rd (near Baguio Cathedral), ☎ +30 74 444 7544 - 47.
- El Cielito Inn Hotel, 50 North Drive, ☎ +63 7 443 4846 (fax: +63 2 250 6020), . From US$42.
- Ferionnil Pension House and Dormitory, 140 T. Alonzo St, ☎ +63 74 443 6763. checkout: 12 PM. A cheap and very basic local place to stay near the Lizardo Trans bus terminus. 1,000 - 1,400 pesos (equiv. to US$20-28) depending on room type, including breakfast.
- Hotel Elizabeth, #1 J. Felipe Street corner Gibraltar Street,, ☎ 63 2 911 2161 loc. 148, . A/C rooms and suites equipped with private balcony and internet. Room and massage services and fitness room/gym. From US$83.
- Hotel Veniz, One Abanao St. (at the foot of Session Road, across Burnham Park), ☎ +63 74 446 0700 (fax: +63 74 446 0704), . Over 100 A/C rooms and suites within Baguio's main shopping district. Standard single room 1195PHP (Jan2013) with AC, HW, TV, WIFI, buffet breakfast, morning paper. Easy to book on their web site (no credit card needed).
- Lyn's Baguio Transient Homes, 79B City Camp Alley (very near Burnham Park and town), ☎ +63 91 58133144. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12noon. Hot shower, 24 hr running water, WiFi zone, complete cooking utensils, refrigerator, sala, fan, veranda with scenic view, garage. 700-3,500 pesos for 12 persons.
- Microtel Inns and Suites Baguio, Upper Session Road, ☎ +63 74 619-3333 (fax: +63 74 619 3344), . Clean and comfortable rooms. From US$36.
- Paladin Hotel Baguio, 136 Abanao Extension, Corner Carino St., ☎ +63 74 4422408, . Also provides a venue for business meetings or conferences and events. ₱1,750.
- Red Lion Pub/Inn, 92 Upper Gen. Luna Rd., Salud Mitra, ☎ +63 74 3043078, . checkout: 12noon. Local traditional foods along side international cuisine. Pool tables, karaoke rooms, darts area as well as live entertainment. ₱1,000.
- Ridgewood Residence, 17 Julian Felipe St, Barangay Lualhati (near The Mansion), ☎ +63 2 2996411. +63 74 4466295, . checkin: March 28,2013; checkout: March 31,2013. Apartelle rooms aside from its standard and suite rooms.
- Sevilla I. Gammad, 79-B City Camp Alley, Barangay City Camp, ☎ +63 92 28313352, +63 91 58133144, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12noon. Apartments can accommodate from 2 -15 pax/apartment. Each has its own private CR with hot shower, sala with TV, kitchen with LPG cooker. Scenic view from terrace. ₱800-3,000.
- Summer Place Hotel, KM 288 Marcos Highway, ☎ +63 74 446 5400-01, +63 02 7838355 (fax: +63 74 446 0560), .
- C Boutique Hotel Baguio, No. 5 Arellano cor. Moran, Barangay Gibraltar, ☎ (074)619-0158, . All rooms have cable network television, well-stocked minibar, wireless internet access, fully furnished bedroom & bath. Some of its facilities and services are restaurant, bar, laundry service (wash and fold), 24-hour front desk service, transport service and concierge service. Rates start at 3,900.00 PHP.
- Baguio Holiday Villas, #10 Legarda Road, Baguio City, ☎ +18.104.22.16878, . checkin: 2:00pm; checkout: 12:00nn. Baguio Holiday Villas offers air-conditioned superior and deluxe accommodation. Semi-furnished Suites and Apartelles are also available. Located just 10 minutes away from Baguio City's commercial and business areas.
Internet access (computer shops)
In university towns like Baguio, you'll have no trouble finding cheap and fast internet access. Most of the hotels have free Wi-Fi and internet access centres have spread like a rash across the town. On thoroughfares like Session Road you'll see dozens of signs hawking various establishments. Expect to pay ₱15-30 pesos an hour. Not only will you find Internet access, you will also find cheap gaming stations. Many hotels have free Wi-Fi in the lobby.
Many of the hotels do not have laundry service and finding a place to get your clothes washed can be difficult.
- Elegant Washers Laundry Shop, #31 Bonifacio St, (corner of Bonifacio St. and Magsaysay Ave). ☎ +63 74 423-0432. 10 min walk from Burnham Park. ₱35/kilo for two day service or 50 pesos for next day rush service. Open 7 days a week from 8AM-7PM. Just ring the bell at the front desk if you don't see an assistant.
- Lala Laundry, Luna Ave. (on the corner of Mabini St and Luna Ave). There is no sign on the outside of the building, but you can identify the correct building by the Mang Inasal restaurant on the second floor. Go up the stairs and you’ll see a sign near the staircase for Lala Laundry on the third floor. You may have to let out a howler if no one is at the front desk.
Mount Pulag in Benguet is the highest mountain in Luzon (2922 MASL) and a very popular hiking destination with its stunning scenery and "sea of clouds" views of the Cordillera mountain range. Different trails offer a diverse range of difficulty and days required. A must-visit trekking destination for outdoor enthusiasts travelling in the Philippines. TrailAdventours (info@trailadventours) arranges trips to Mt. Pulag either from Manila or Baguio City.
Take a bus heading north to Sagada from the Lizardo Trans bus terminal. The first bus is at 6AM and there are several services afterward. The fare is ₱220 and the ride takes 6-8 hr.