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 from Metro Manila. Several bus lines ply the Metro Manila to Baguio route with terminals scattered across the metro. It generally takes about 5-7 hr to get to Baguio by bus. An hour longer than it would by car due to stopovers along the way.
- Victory Liner, ☎ . , +63 2 833 5019 to 20has 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 450 Pesos 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. Some busses have free WiFi.
- Dagupan Bus, New York St., Cubao, Quezon City, ☎ . 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,Pangasinan (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 pesos, then from there by Victory Liner to Baguio is an additional 90 pesos. 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 pesos. Journey takes about 4-5 hr.
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. Majority of jeepneys going out of the city (P.M.A., Country Club, etc.) are stationed in Burnham Park where they normally load passengers to their destinations. It is possible to a rent a jeepney but it is not advisable when trekking long distances.
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 pesos/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 pesos 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. This 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 a sort of country club complete with an 18-hole golf course, horseback riding and camping, among other activities. A condotel has also been in operation since 2001. Recent renovations in the resort have added different activities such as a paintball arena and zip-lining. This place can get very crowded on weekends.
- Session Road. The main thoroughfare of Baguio, where most of the city activity is centered. SM mall and Burnham Park are walking distance.
- Mines View Park. Enjoy the view of the beautiful mountain scenery with other various attractions. If you're looking for the special "Man-In-A-Barrel" souvenir and other phallic souvenirs you will find them here.
- Philippine Military Academy. The Philippines' premier military cadet training center. It is recommended to visit P.M.A. during Saturdays as this is where the cadet groups practice field activities. The "Hundred Night Show" is a yearly play conducted by cadets and officers during December.
- Burnham Park. Go for a walk or go rowing on Burnham Lake. Visit the recently renovated Rose Garden or have fun with the kids in the Burnham Park Playground.
- La Trinidad Strawberry Fields. Go strawberry picking at these fields, which are a jeepney ride 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 pesos per hour (150 pesos for half an hour), plus a guide fee if you want to ride beyond the park.
- Baguio City Night Market, Harisson Road, Session Road, and surrounding streets. Around 11PM, when the normal hustle of the city cools down, the night market takes to the street. Buy clothes, shoes, and accessories at low prices. Make sure to bring a tumbler of coffee to fight off the cold as you peruse their goods.
- North Haven Spa, 21 Avelino Street, Ferguson Rd, ☎ . 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.
- Spa de belles fleurs, 5th floor ES Clemente Bldg. Otek St (Chowking Burnham, in front of Baguio Orchidarium), ☎ . 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 pesos.
- Good Shepherd Convent, 15 Gibraltar Rd, ☎ . Baguio City. 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 fastfood 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, 16 Loakan Rd. Great music, great service.
- Star Cafe and Restaurant, 39 Session Rd, Baguio City. Serving Chinese food here well before the dawning of the fastfood age.
- Café by the Ruins, 23 Chuntug St., Baguio City, ☎ . Quaint ambience, hearty salads, pastas and juices and good coffee or tea.
- Good Taste Cafe and Restaurant, Rajah Matanda St., Baguio City (behind Center Mall (Main branch) and Otek St. near Burnham Park (Second branch)).
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, ☎ . 27 hotel rooms and 6 cottages. Does not have a restaurant. 2,800 pesos.
- Atenara House, 40 Navy Road, ☎ . 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, ☎ . Deluxe and two bedroom suites with balcony, living area and kitchen. Coffee shop, lobby lounge, tour services, spa and massage services. From 3,600 pesos.
- Baguio Vacation Apartments. Within the Baguio Pines Garden Villas Subdivision, in the heart of the city. 4,400 pesos.
- Baguio Village Inn, 355 Magsaysay Rd.. Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Extremely clean, basic, quiet, situated on a busy street. Common shower area but very clean. Approximately 15-20 min walk to downtown (Session Rd.). Free WiFi. 350 pesos per person..
- Burnham Hotel Baguio, 20 Calderon St, ☎ . 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, ☎ . , 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), ☎ , fax: +63 74 4450 4574. Efficient and courteous staff.
- Citylight Hotel, 245 Upper General Luna Rd (near Baguio Cathedral), ☎ .
- El Cielito Inn Hotel, 50 North Drive, ☎ , fax: +63 2 250 6020. From US$42.
- Ferionnil Pension House and Dormitory, 140 T. Alonzo St, ☎ . Check-out: 12PM. 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 Cosmopolitan (Hotel Cosmopolitan), 1 Bokawkan Road cor. Naguilian Road, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A boutique hotel situated on top of one of the Baguio mountains. From Php2,080.
- 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), ☎ , fax: +63 74 446 0704. Over 100 A/C rooms and suites within Baguio's main shopping district. From 1,290 pesos.
- Lyn's Baguio Transient Homes, 79B City Camp Alley (very near Burnham Park and town), ☎ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 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, ☎ , fax: +63 74 619 3344. Clean and comfortable rooms. From US$36.
- Summer Place Hotel, KM 288 Marcos Highway, ☎ , , fax: +63 74 446 0560.
- Ridgewood Residence, 17 Julian Felipe St, Barangay Lualhati (near The Mansion), ☎ +63 2 2996411. +63 74 4466295. Check-in: March 28, 2013, check-out: March 31, 2013. Apartelle rooms aside from its standard and suite rooms.
- Paladin Hotel Baguio, 136 Abanao Extension, Corner Carino St., ☎ . Also provides a venue for business meetings or conferences and events. 1,750 pesos.
- Red Lion Pub/Inn, 92 Upper Gen. Luna Rd., Salud Mitra, ☎ . Check-out: 12noon. Local traditional foods along side international cuisine. Pool tables, karaoke rooms, darts area as well as live entertainment. 1,000 pesos.
- Sevilla I. Gammad, 79-B City Camp Alley, Barangay City Camp, ☎ . , Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 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 pesos.
- Tiptop Vacation Homes. Each of the guest rooms and apartments in Tiptop Vacation Homes include fully-furnished home equipment such as cooking facilities and cable TV. Wireless Internet access is available in some areas. Barbecue grille is also available, perfect for the cold weather. 2,500 pesos.
- 456 hotel, session road.. fan double rooms with own bathrooms. php800.
Most of the night life is centered at Nevada Square where numerous bars are clustered ranging from "hot-babe" hotspots to chill-out bars, this is the place to be. There are some good bars outside the square like Urban Sessions and Purple which is a stone's throw away from Nevada Square. 18 BC (Fridays - Reggae Night, Saturdays - Acoustic Night) and Padi's Point draws out bargoers with their regular band.
Internet access (computer shops)
Baguio has it's fair share of Internet cafes scattered around Session Road with Netgear Internet Shop being the closest from Session Road itself. Many of the malls within the area also have their own Internet cafes but take note that it is generally expensive. Expect to pay around 15-30 pesos (less than a dollar) per hour when going to internet shops outside malls. Hotels, restaurants, and malls are now offering free WiFi nowadays so if you're able to find a nice spot you can just waste your time surfing the web.
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 pesos/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.
As a number one rule, always secure your belongings. Keep your passports/visas/important papers at the hotel safe (if there is one available at your hotel) or in a safe place. Cellphone snatching and purse dippers are a problem but common sense and safety can keep you safe.
Crime normally increases during the holidays and Panagbenga as thousands of people visit Baguio City.
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 pesos and the ride takes 6-8 hr.