Enjoy a DIY city trip to Baguio, and don’t just go to nostalgic destinations. Visit its newest artsy attractions! Here’s your guide.
With the ever-present smell of strawberries, the perpetual cuddle weather, and the profusion of flowers, Baguio City is one of the most romantic places. That’s why when given the opportunity, I chose to explore it even if I had to go alone just before Valentine’s Day.
Here are just some old attractions in Baguio with new twists that I found in a brief sojourn:
Probably one of the most underrated destinations. Tam-Awan Heritage Village, the “Garden in the Sky”. It showcases Cordilleran arts and culture within its 2.5 hectare-wide terrains is shaped to follow the way of the mountains.
Tam-Awan Village features art installations such lizard sculptures symbolizing prosperity; ling-ling-o, a fertility pendant; and the rice guardian spirit, said to ward off evil elements. Artworks from various artists housed inside traditional Cordillera huts. On special occasions, the Tam-Awan Village livens up with cultural shows.
How to go to Tam-Awan Village: From Kayang Street in Baguio City proper, take a jeep going to Quezon Hill or Tam-awan. Fare is at PHP 8.50. Entrance is PHP 50 for adults.
Burnham Park, Baguio City
In full bloom for the month-long Panagbenga Season, February is the best time to stroll across the Burnham Park. It’s only fitting to find it at the heart of the City near many apartment in Baguio, being a picturesque activity center.
Here you can find bikes for rent at the Children’s Park and paddle a swan boat across the man-made lake. Maybe even play Frisbee in front of the Melvin Jones Grand Stand or stroll through flowery gardens exhibited for Panagbenga Festival.
Attractions near Burnham Park: Baguio City Cathedral, Session Road, and SM City Baguio. The Baguio Night Market opens every 9PM at Harrison Road
Ben Cab Museum
Filipino artist Ben Cab found the culture of northern highlands so fascinating, he made it his new home and muse since the 80s. The Ben Cab Museum sits on a hillside amidst local communities, fulfilling its purpose of bringing the arts closer to people.
The Museum’s wide spaces of glass walls adorned with wooden bul-ul sculptures and contemporary art exhibits featured various artists. Galleries dedicated to erotica, printed arts, wood carvings as well as Ben Cab’s masterpieces are found here. Guests can also enjoy Cordillera coffee at Café Sabel downstairs, in full view of a garden surrounded by Baguio’s towering landscapes.
How to go to Bencab Museum: From Kayang Street in Baguio City proper, take a jeep going to Asin Road. Fare is at PHP 15. Entrance is PHP 100 for adults.
Mines View Park
What remains of Baguio City’s American mining town past are the abandoned gold and copper mines of Itogon amidst the Amburayan Valley. Scenic views of mountain ranges with a towns perched in the middle can be seen atop Mines View Park.
Walking distance from the park is the Mines View Park Hotel which serves familiar Filipino dishes with a twist. Strawberry adobo, strawberry sinigang, and bibing-crepe (bibingka served with chocolate and fruits) are just some of the hotel café’s signature dishes.
How to go to Mines View Park: From Mabini Street in Baguio City proper, take a jeep going to Mines View. Fare is at PHP 10.
Camp John Hay
Older than Baguio City itself, Camp John Hay was a sprawling recreational facility for the US Armed Forces. Decades ago, it was known for Western food and indoor recreation activities such as billiards, bowling and pinball machines.
Later turned over to the Philippines, the present-day Camp John Hay preserved its colonial prestige. It morphed into private vacation houses and hotels, golf courses and shopping centers for imported goods. A recent addition is the Ayala TechnoPark, a hip place for the new generation of Baguio yuppies to chill after work.
How to go to Camp John Hay: Go to the east side of Burnham Park across Tiong-San Department Store, Harrison. Take jeepney going to Scout Barrio, Loaakan, Kias-PMA. Fare is at PHP 8.50.
North Luzon Attractions
- Baguio City
- Buscalan (Kalinga tattoos)
- Northern Blossom Flower Farm
- Mt. Ulap
- Cagayan Valley
- Mt. Pulag
Baguio City’s natural wonders, cultural heritage and innovative arts make it a charming place to keep finding fresh inspiration. It thrives at the intersection of the traditional and the contemporary. No wonder Filipinos and foreigners like keep coming back!
This article was later published at Manila Bulletin’s Lifestyle Section on March 6.