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A Glimpse of Baguio || Snapshots || Souvenirs || Travel Smarts
A Glimpse of Baguio
Situated amidst the mountainous region of Cordillera, 1,500 meters above the sea, 250 kilometers north of Manila, Baguio City is one of the few place in the Philippines blessed with a cool climate. On average, Baguio is at least eight degrees cooler than any place in the lowlands. Not surprisingly, Baguio has become the "summer capital" of the country. It is gifted with a variety of cultural, historical and scenic attractions which make it an important and interesting destiantion. As early as March, tourists and locals take the six-hour trek up the zigzagging Kennon Road. Within a mile of the city, the sweet scent of pine trees and flowers already permeate the air.

Artists are particularly drawn to this serene city. The annual Baguio Arts Festival attracts aspiring painters and sculptors from all over country. Writers convene in Baguio to meet and recharfe.

However, Baguio wasn't always a place of peace and leisure. In the early 19th century, the Spaniards stumbled upon this ore-rich valley - and fought feverishly with the local tribes to gain control of the land's bounties. While the Spaniards succeeded in founding some form of governance in the area, the mountain tribes proved too diffcult to rule. Thus, the Spaniards parceled out the province to the landed gentry.

It was the Americans, perhaps longing for colder climates who saw the vast recreational potential of Baguio. After building Camp John Hay, the Americans proceeded to carve Kennon Road from out of the mountain - and limked Baguio to Manila - and eventually to visitors of all creeds and races.

If you only have a day to spend in Baguio, start your tour with a walk down Session Road. The city's commercial artery, Session Road is where you get your first bite of the charm and serendipity of Baguio. Apart from a smattering of one-of-a-kind curio shops and fashion boutiques, Session also features an intersting array of culinary delights. Restaurants specializing in Chinese, Italian American, Japanese and Mongolian can be readily found along Session. From Session, take a cab to any of Baguio's prime attractions. Go horseback riding at Wright Park. Climb up the 252 steps to the Lourdes Grotto. Play a round of golf at John Hay. Cook a tasty chopsuey with the freshest of veggies from the Baguio City Market. Visit the Mansion. Stock up on strawberries. Or tuck under a warm blanket with the crackling of burning wood lulling you to sleep. For nighttowls, Baguio is alive with pulsating music and warm spirits. There are a number of bars and discos that swing until the wee hours of the morning.

Baguio has a number of attractions to please the most discriminating of sightseers. More importamtly, most of these tourist sports are easily accessible via taxi or jeepney from Session Road.

Burnham Park - Situated at the heart of the city, Burnham is the traditional venue of the city's numerous festivities. The park is named after the city's master planner Daniel Burnham. Its man-made lagoon is the site of many boating excursions, Bikers, hikers and skaters delight in the park's criss-crossing walkways. And of the romantic, a walk in the rose gardens is an absolute must.

Mines View Park - Over the years, the Park has been transformed into a shopping showcase of sorts. It's here where you can load up on the province's bounties: hand woven jacket and blankets, silver knickknacks and jewelries, and various jams and preserve. Of course, none of these goodies could complete with the Park's breathtaking view of the hills and valleys of the Cordillera and the gold mines of Benguet.


Club John Hay - A tour of Baguio is incomplete without a bite of the Club's jumbo-sized burgers and sundaes. Formerly the R & R center of the United States Armed Force personnel in the Phillippines, the Club features hotel type rooms, seven food outlets, an 18-hole golf course, six tennis courts, a six-lane bowling center, basketball and volleyball courts, a heated swimming pool plus more for a definitively sporty weekend.

Baguio Cathedral - Rising above the city skyline are the pinkish hues of the Baguio Cathedral. The cathedral is but one of a number of religious landmarks which dot the city. There is the Bell Temple, north of the city; the Maryhurst Seminary with its brilliant gardens; and Lourdes Grotto with its 252 steps to heaven.

Banaue - Although Banaue is nine hours away from Baguio by bus, the tourist who takes the time to see this marvel of culture and architecture would be greatly rewarded. Known far and wide as the eighth wonder of the world, the Banaue Rice Terraces were carved from the mountain ranges centuries ago by the Ifugaos, one of the oldest known mountain tribes of the province.

Sagada - One of the ten towns comprising Mountain Province is Sagada which is known for its numerous subterranean caves of their ancestors, the Sagadg area is a must-see for the archaeology buffs. Added attractions include the natural clear waters of Bokong Waterfall for a quick morning dip and the studio of renowned lensman Eduardo Masferres, whose collection of photographs of the Cordilleras is a photographer's envy.


The shopping opotions in Baguio are endless. You only need to know where to look.

Silver - Ifugao blacksmiths and Baguio craftsmen are renowned for their interesting collection of silver jewelry. The St. Louis University Silver Shop, just a few paces away from Baguio Cathedral, allows visitors to watch young silver craftsmen at work. Visitors can also purchase the pieces they want. Wright Park also festures row upon row of stalls selling silver accessories. For best buys, Ibay's Silver Shop and Phil. Treasure are recommended.

Hand-Woven Fabrics - The tribesman of Bontoc, Igorot, Ifugao and Kalinga weave beautiful cotton fabrics with elegant ethnic motifs called lepanto. You can find such fabrics at the City Market. If you'd like to see the actual weaving process, visit the Easter Weaving School down Easter Road where threads are magically transformed into bags, blankets and blouses.

Sweets and Preserves - If it's strawberry jam you want, proceed to the Good Shepherd Convent. The nuns of Good Shepherd raise funds for their various charities (including unwed mothers and their babies) by cooking up some of the most delicious tasting fruit preserves this side of earth. Try the nun's strawberry and ube jams, cashew and peanut brittle, and coco jam. During peak seasons, visit the convent in the morning as there's bound to be a long line for the jams.

Flowers and Vegetables - The Baguio City Market is a sanctuary for the most colorful of floral blooms. It's also where you can find the freshest produce straight from the farms of La Trinidad and Benguet - from sweet strawberries and giant red tomatoes to bright green lettuce and lively mushrooms. Baguio City Market also features handicrafts of all kinds from baskets to backpacks.

Travel Smarts

Getting There. From Manila, visitors can take a 45-minute flight via Philippine Airline landing in Baguio Airport. Or take the six-hour bus ride through Kennon Road, Marcos Highway or Naguilian Road. From the airport or bus terminal, it's easy to flag down a cab to get to your accommodations. Further down, Ambuklao Road leads to Banaue, and Halsema Highway to the rest of the Cordillera.

Staying In. As for accommodations, there are at least a thousand and one choices: from luxury city hotels, homey apartelles and pension house to quaint little country inns. First-time visitors are advised to make reservations before going up. During the summer, the number of tourists can go as high as 200,000. The peso is the medium of exchange - although the dollar is also widely accepted. Major credit cards are recognized in most establishments. And if you're a little short of cash, there's always the friendly ATM machine, which is already a fixture at Session.

Getting Around. Jeepneys and tricycles negotiate the city's winding road network with ease. Taxicabs also abound. But if you really want to see and smell Baguio, take long leisurely walks. It's far headltheir.