Baguio City 2023 – Must Visit Places in the City of Pines

Baguio City BSU La Trinidad Stawberry Farm - ANAther Travel Show

Located in the Cordillera Central mountain range, Baguio City blends history, culture, and natural beauty. Known as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines,” its captivating past influences its present charm. Before becoming a modern city, it was home to indigenous people, primarily the Ibalois. The region’s cool climate and stunning scenery late on caught the attention of many. In World War II, Baguio City played a pivotal role. It became a center of resistance during the Japanese occupation, enduring significant hardships. The city’s spirit remained unbroken, and it played a part in the Philippines’ liberation. The Philippine Military Academy, established during American colonial rule, stands as a testament to the country’s military history and its contribution to shaping the nation. Baguio’s modernization, however, took shape during the American colonial period. Architect Daniel Burnham designed a master plan, envisioning a hill station for respite from the lowland heat.

Today, Baguio City is called the “Summer Capital of the Philippines,” and “City of Pines” attracting visitors for its mix of history, natural beauty, and culture. From its iconic views to the lively Ukay-Ukay market, Baguio has a special charm that captivates everyone. Being a part of an indigenous community, I appreciate that this place is preserving its roots up to this day. I couldn’t help but wonder why it was so famous and loved. Baguio City has always been just a sonorous destination growing up and I am excited to finally visit. As this is going to be my first time visiting the infamous place as well. If you’re listing a 3 to 4-day trip itinerary to the City of Pines, then one is for you! Let’s get on a journey together to uncover the history, charm, and magic that makes this place truly special.

The Wagner Homes

The Wagner Homes in Baguio City is the best choice for a group of travelers. Located at 110a Military Cutoff Road, this charming retreat offers a delightful escape for tourists seeking comfort and convenience. We booked this house at a check-in time of 2 PM and a check-out time of 11 AM, but they let us have an early check-in with an extra P500 fee. With rates starting at Php 7,800/night from Sunday to Thursday and Php 8,800/night from Friday- Sunday, The Wagner Homes provides an inviting haven for your next getaway. This 98-square-meter abode proudly stood for 12 years as a beloved choice for visitors exploring Baguio. One of the standout features that caught my attention was the generous 400-square-meter lot, offering ample parking space for up to 4 cars. The 2 cars we brought just fit perfectly in the lot, making this really a huge plus.

This is a welcome convenience for families, friends’ gatherings, or even company outings, ensuring that parking concerns won’t mar the excitement of your stay. Stepping inside, I was met with a warm and inviting interior, with 3 bedrooms thoughtfully designed to accommodate up to 12 guests. The spaciousness and comfort of the rooms made me feel at ease and at home. There are two toilets and a shower both equipped with heaters. However, one of them wasn’t working and the other produce almost only drops of water. Which was a bit downside and hassle. Should you wish to extend your stay a Php 500 fee allows you to extend your stay for up to two hours. However, any extension beyond this period will be considered a one-night stay and will be charged accordingly. Request late checkout at least 24 hours before your original checkout time is subject to room availability.

Burnham Park

Burnham Park in Baguio City spans 81 acres of fun activities and attractions. It is named after Daniel H. Burnham, an American architect who helped design Baguio. The park has a long history and was made with careful planning starting back in 1905, making it one of the oldest parks in the city. It was made to be a peaceful place away from the busy city life. The first thing we did was rent bikes for just PHP 50 each for 30 minutes. It’s not expensive, so lots of people can try it. Although we wanted to maximize the time, it started raining. Kudos to the nice people in charge that let us pause the time until we can continue. It was really kind of them. We also tried Burnham Lagoon, a serene man-made lake for a boat ride adventure costing PHP 250 for 30 minutes good for seven people.

If you prefer, you can hire someone to row the boat for an extra PHP 60. They also have the “Fun Rides and Recreation Area” offering an array of thrilling activities for those seeking indoor excitement. This includes roller coasters for all ages, bumper cars, a horror house, and a skating rink area. You can rent skating shoes and safety gear, so no need to bring your own. There are stalls that have a range of delicious snacks and satisfying meals, along with refreshing drinks. It’s a great chance to recharge and enjoy local flavors before you keep having fun at the park. If you bring your car, Burnham Park has easy pay parking. Starting at PHP 35 for the first 2 hours, and just PHP 10 for every extra hour. There’s no entrance fee in the park but they have separate fees for the activities. Worth it!

Ililikha Artists Village

The Ililikha Artists Village in Baguio City showcases a captivating artistic journey. Opening its doors from Tuesday – Sunday every 9 AM and 6 PM, this cultural haven quickly became a must-visit destination during my recent City of Pines escapade. Walking into the Ililikha Artists Village, made me feel “Alice in Wonderland” vibes with its artistic mazes and colorful designs. Just looks straight out of a dream! With its inception in 2014, courtesy of visionary film director Eric De Guia, also known as “Kidlat Tahimik,” this enchanting enclave serves as a thriving hub for local art to flourish. What makes the Ililikha Artists Village truly special is its enchanting architectural landscape. Boasting a medley of eclectic and colorful structures, mesmerizing art installations, and captivating sculptures. It shows art from a unique perspective on local artistry. I could say that the building itself is a masterpiece!

Ililikha Artists Village offers a diverse array of engaging experiences for visitors to enjoy. They have art galleries and studios, where local masterpieces are on display and available for purchase. As well as art workshops and classes guided by skilled artists. You can also chill by the small amphitheater that comes alive with live music, performances, film screenings, and poetry readings, providing a dynamic platform for artistic expression. Or you can just satisfy your cravings at the on-site cafes and restaurants just like we also did for our merienda. It was a perfect spot to savor a cup of coffee in the cold weather. Just don’t forget to buy any of the artisanal crafts, jewelry, and other creative treasures at the souvenir shops! So you can bring home with you a bit of the village’s artistic spirit. This way, you’ll be able to help the local artists as well.

Old Diplomat Hotel

Amidst the serene Dominican Hill on Diplomat Road in Baguio City, this landmark attracts tourists with its rich history. Originally constructed in the early 20th century as a restful haven for Dominican friars. The Diplomat Hotel has undergone a remarkable transformation throughout its existence. From its origins as a peaceful retreat, the hotel evolved to serve as a sanctuary for foreign diplomats during the tumultuous times of World War II. The echoes of the past still resonate within its walls. As it later transitioned into a seminary and a haven for spiritual reflection. Today, the Diplomat Hotel stands as a testament to time’s passage, with its once-grand architecture now a haunting reminder of days gone by. Despite its dilapidated state, this historic gem draws inquisitive souls who seek to experience its enigmatic ambiance and unravel its ghostly legends. Looks very eerie and interesting even from the outside!

Walking through the area, camera in hand, I found myself amazed by the mix of preserved ruins at every turn. The facade of the hotel, with its intricate designs, offers a glimpse into its past elegance. While going inside isn’t allowed for safety reasons, you can still capture the essence of this historical treasure from the outside. The Diplomat Hotel is more than just old walls; it’s a living record of the city’s strength and enduring spirit. Open daily from 6 AM to 6 PM, and with a cheap entrance fee of Php 10, it welcomes you to step into its story, even if just for a little while. As you wander its grounds and absorb the echoes of the past, you’ll leave with a stronger connection to Baguio’s history and the captivating tales that have shaped it. Moreover, share your ghostly sightings with us too!

Mirador Heritage and Ecopark

I recently visited Mirador Heritage and Eco-Park in Baguio City along with my kids. This beautiful park covers 5 hectares and is a blend of nature, history, and attractions. It’s located near the famous Lourdes Grotto and offers stunning views of the city. Our visit was all about exploring history, enjoying the landscapes, and making memories. The park has different sections, each with its own charm. The Rock Garden had a trail uphill with rock steps and boulders, giving us a great view of the city. The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, reminiscent of Japan, had swaying bamboo that created a peaceful atmosphere. We saw the Peace Memorial with a Japanese gate, and even though there was a line, the beautiful view was worth it. The bell there was made from a recovered bomb after World War II.

Furthermore, within the grounds of Mirador Heritage and Eco-Park stands the revered Lourdes Grotto, a significant pilgrimage destination for devout Catholics. Ascending the 252 steps will provide a chance for contemplation as a gesture of seeking guidance from the Blessed Mother. Adjacent to it is the Jesuit Villa and Retreat House. Offering a serene environment for retreat, inviting visitors to find inner peace and reflection. From there you can see the sunset views over Baguio and the Lingayen Gulf. Despite the hot noon weather, the park still offered a refreshing experience. Topping it off, there’s Café Iñigo by Ebai with delicious treats and great views. This hidden gem is perfect for making special memories with loved ones. Remember, it’s open daily from 6 AM to 6 PM, and the entrance fee is PHP 100 per person (kids under 12 are free). Make sure to bring cash for the entrance fee.

GoodTaste Restaurant

During my recent trip to Baguio City, I found immense joy in experiencing culinary treasures that leave a lasting impact. As someone who loves food and exploring new places, I went to the famous GoodTaste Restaurant. Founded by Alfredo Go, GoodTaste has become well-known for its delicious food, generous portions, and affordable prices. Join me as I take you through my delightful dining experience at this establishment, where flavors come alive and culinary dreams are fulfilled. Spread across multiple levels, GoodTaste offers a spacious dining area to accommodate its growing number of visitors. The restaurant’s popularity is evident from the bustling crowds that eagerly gather at its entrance. Each floor exudes a lively atmosphere, setting the stage for a memorable dining adventure. To ensure efficient service, GoodTaste employs a clever system of dumbwaiters, which swiftly transport dishes between floors. This innovation is just simply genius and fun!

Specializing in Filipino-Chinese cuisine, GoodTaste offers a diverse menu that beautifully combines elements of both culinary traditions. I ordered their Group Meal D, good for a group of 12 which costs around Php 3,000 ($53). The highlight of the meal was the famous Buttered Chicken and Fried Chicken. With a crispy outside and juicy meat, creating a tasty mix of textures. There were also the savory Bird Nest Soup for the appetizer, Filipino Favorite Pork Lumpia, and Lechon Beans, a healthy combo of tender pork and savory beans. That’s not all, the meal also includes Miki Bihon, stir-fried noodles with veggies, and flavorful meat, a perfect blend of tastes and textures. In summary, our dinner was just a feast! GoodTast Restaurant offers free parking in the basement for 2 hours. Open from 6 AM to 10 PM, making it great for all-day dining and enjoying their delicious food.

Igorot Stone Kingdom

The Igorot Stone Kingdom in Baguio City is a captivating testament to the rich culture and traditions of the Igorot people. This park is a tribute to the enduring spirit of the indigenous communities in the Philippines. Its creation was guided by mystical encounters, and Pio Velasco, its visionary founder, aimed to preserve Igorot’s heritage. The park’s architectural marvels, including the Fertility Tower and Tower of Igorot God Kabunyan, symbolize the community’s reverence for life and spiritual beliefs. The Tower of Gatan and Bangan tells a tale of survival, echoing the Igorots’ resilient spirit. As I kept exploring, I was amazed by how well the stone walls were made. These walls were inspired by the famous rice terraces in Batad built using an old technique called “riprap.” Big stones and boulders were carefully put together with cement, showing how smart the Igorot people were in working with nature.

The park also showcases Igorot mining history and modern-day structures that blend tradition with progress. Though faced with challenges, the park has reopened, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in Igorot culture. As a tribute to the Igorot legacy, it stands as a bridge between the past and the present. Whether you’re a traveler or a local seeking connection, Baguio City offers a unique experience of the Igorot way of life. Open daily from 6 AM to 6 PM, the park invites you to explore its wonders for an entrance fee of Php 100 for adults, Php 80 for kids and senior citizens, and free for toddlers. Whether you’re a curious traveler like me or a local seeking to reconnect with your heritage, the Igorot Stone Kingdom offers an experience that words can’t truly capture. It’s a place where the local’s craftmanship intertwines with architecture and engineering.

Camp John Hay

Spread across an extensive 213-hectare (530-acre) landscape, Camp John Hay in Baguio City holds a fascinating past rooted in its beginnings as a retreat for the United States Armed Forces during the American colonial period. Over time, this expansive area has evolved into a captivating destination for tourists. Brimming with a variety of attractions and activities that ensure an unforgettable getaway. It is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts, offering an array of captivating activities to ensure endless entertainment. Awaken your inner explorer as you embark on an enthralling horseback ride through scenic trails, surrounded by the embrace of lush landscapes. For those in search of exhilarating experiences, the paintball field guarantees action-packed fun. While our visit coincided with the temporary closure of the zip line, we surely did have such an unforgettable exploration. Specifically during our trekking in the forest trails where we got lost!

The 2-3 hour trek through nature’s beauty was a mix of excitement and trepidation, especially as we navigated steep paths and occasionally found ourselves lost. We were just confused about finding the exit and getting separated from half of our team! If you plan to explore this trail, remember to pack water, a change of clothes, and comfortable running shoes – they were my saving grace! We also went to the Butterfly Sanctuary prior to this. For Php 80 per head, you can enter the garden full of flowers and butterflies! And for those seeking relaxation, you can unwind and picnic in designated areas. Families are in for a treat, too, with a fun playground and a mini-golf course that promise joy-filled moments for kids and adults alike. This is the best for you whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply someone looking to unwind.

La Trinidad Strawberry Farm

As the capital of Benguet in Baguio City, La Trinidad holds a distinct title—it is fondly known as the “Strawberry Capital of the Philippines,” owing to its abundant and succulent strawberry plantations that paint the landscape in hues of red and green. Among the notable establishments were the renowned La Trinidad Strawberry Farm, the picturesque Benguet Strawberry Farm, and the delightful Strawberry Farm in Bahong. These farms, each with its unique charm, attract visitors to partake in strawberry picking. However, during my visit, luck had it that I arrived during the off-season for strawberry picking. While I missed out on the hands-on experience of plucking strawberries straight from the earth, fortune favored me with a silver lining. Sellers lined outside the farms, offering baskets of freshly harvested strawberries of exceptional quality. All for an affordable price, just around Php 100 for 1/4 kilo!

My food journey went beyond just eating the strawberries. I also tried a strawberry shake for Php 100 and it was such a steal! The strawberry flavor mixed with milk was so refreshing and tasty and sweet! When visiting La Trinidad’s strawberry farms, timing is key. The best time to come is during the summer months, from March to April, which is the strawberry season. If you do visit during the season, you’ll have the chance to pick your own strawberries, usually priced around Php 500 to Php 700 per kilo. It’s a fun and hands-on experience that you won’t want to miss. Remember to dress comfortably and wear suitable footwear as it can get hot during day time and muddy on rainy days.

Baguio Night Market

Discover the vibrant allure of Baguio City Night Market, a bustling shopping haven cherished by locals and visitors alike. As the clock strikes 9 PM, Baguio City Night Market awakens with a vibrant buzz, transforming the streets into colorful stalls. The energy is contagious as excited buyers and sellers come together in this lively hub. The Night Market is particularly renowned for its Ukay-Ukay stores, a hub for affordable second-hand clothing and unique fashion finds. These stalls offer fashionable discoveries that won’t break the bank. During my visit, I managed to snag an impressive haul of 18 clothing pieces, all within the confines of my Php 1000 ($17.54) budget. Can you believe it? Crunching the numbers, you’ll find that each piece of clothing falls well within the Php 50 range. It’s truly an incredible value and affordability that the Night Market offers. To me, very well spent!

But the Night Market experience goes beyond mere shopping. It’s a cultural immersion, a journey through vibrant streets where the pulse of the city is felt through the interactions of both locals and visitors. As you stroll through the bustling lanes, you’ll sense everyone seeking their own perfect find. And let’s not forget the culinary delights that await in the dedicated food section. The air is filled with enticing aromas of street food. Luring you to indulge in a late-night feast or a midnight snack of local delicacies. From sizzling skewers to bowls of cheesy sweet corn, the Night Market boasts an array of flavors that cater to every palate. For food enthusiasts, it’s a paradise waiting to be visited. Furthermore, the colorful stalls, the lively atmosphere, and the incredible finds – all contribute to an unforgettable experience that captures the essence of Baguio’s charm.

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