My first Baguio trip was in the year 2003, together with my family. What I remembered was that we left Pasay in the afternoon and arrived in Baguio late in the evening. My dad and I went back to Baguio the second time around during the Holy Week and I went there again for my Field Methods class.
Here are a few tips to conquer the summer capital of the Philippines!
TRANSPORTATION – There are a lot of bus companies which cater trips from Manila to Baguio and/or vice-versa. However, when planning to go to the Summer Capital, I would suggest reserving them online during Peak Seasons (April through May; Christmas Season) for they easily get jam-packed. While Victory Liner is the top choice, there are also other buses plying to Baguio, such as Genesis.
Most trips to Baguio via Victory Liner have at least one stopover, with the Sison stopover in Pangasinan as the largest. There are a lot of food items to choose from, such as Alaminos Longganisa rice meal, Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdog, Pork Barbecue, and even Benguet Coffee.
Upon arrival in Baguio, there are a lot of taxis and jeepneys which can bring you to any point of the city. Minimum fare for taxis costs around Php 40-60, depending on the distance.
As for the jeepneys, here are some of the routes:
BAGUIO PLAZA-TRANCOVILE (from Session Road to Slaughterhouse Area)
BAGUIO PLAZA-DREAMLAND (from Session Road Area to Dreamland Subdivision)
BAGUIO PLAZA-LA TRINIDAD (to La Trinidad)
BAGUIO PLAZA-MINES VIEW PARK (to Luneta Hill and Loakan-Gibraltar Area)
The Slaughterhouse Area was originally a slaughterhouse, as per namesake. However, it later became a transport terminal for vehicles plying to the rest of Benguet like the town of Kabayan which is a favorite destination of mountaineers, thanks to the famous Mt. Pulag. Some vehicles are also bound to the rest of the Cordillera Administrative Region, such as the provinces of Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province.
LODGING – There are a lot of options to choose from. While some hotels, such as Microtel (near Victory Liner Terminal and SM City Baguio), Hotel Veniz (near Abanao Square), Venus Parkview (right across Burnham Park), and Casa Vallejo (also near the Victory Liner Terminal) are located in the city’s commercial district, there are also transient houses that charge less, albeit far from the metropolis. One of the most luxurious lodging areas in Baguio is The Manor at the Camp John Hay which charge around Php 5000 per night.
FOOD – While fastfood chains, such as Jollibee and McDonald’s are located at the Session Road area, homegrown restaurants are also found in the Summer Capital. For cakes, pizza, and pasta , Vizco’s is one of the favorites, especially for its Strawberry Shortcake. There are also cafés in the Gibraltar Area which overlook the mountain view. Casa Vallejo’s Hill Station serves some of the finest food dishes. Other dining options may be found in Baguio Technohub and SM Baguio. Strawberry taho is likewise available around the city, especially in Mines View Park, Luneta Hill (near Victory Liner), and Burnham Park.
TOURIST SPOTS – While Mines View Park, The Mansion, Wright Park, Burnham Park, and the La Trinidad Strawberry Farm remain as the top tourist destinations, the BenCab museum in Tuba is likewise a must-visit. While it displayed the works of National Artist Benedicto Cabrera, it likewise showcased the art culture of the Ibalois in a nutshell.
SHOPPING – Baguio City is known for the ukay-ukay (thrift shops) which sold pre-loved branded clothing (for instance, Gucci, Balenciaga), shoes, and bags which are sold for as low as 30 pesos. While there are several ukay-ukay shops along Session Road, the night market is one of the recent tourist destinations. While the city’s public market sells a wide range of delicacies for pasalubong, knitted crafts may be bought here, such as cardigans and bonnets.