DO you think it’s possible to enjoy a trip to Baguio for a day? The answer is yes! And what better reason is there than to escape the offensive heat of the summer season.
Going to the highlands is definitely an appealing choice – apart from the cool weather, going ‘up’ is fairly easy as options of going to these places are quite accessible.
Baguio, the country’s Summer Capital, is a favorite among the throng of tourists opting to escape the city. Not only is it one of the easiest to reach (only five to six hours away from Manila), Baguio is also considered a nostalgic choice. Everyone seems to have a childhood summer spent in the City of Pines, so everyone is quite eager to go back and discover once more why it’s so appealing.
So if you’re planning to go somewhere cool, but don’t have the luxury of time, here’s how you can enjoy Baguio in 24 hours – or less!
Leave at night
The best way to start your Baguio sojourn is to travel the night before. Buses such as those of Victory Liner usually has hourly trips to Baguio, but if you want to travel in style, opt for taking the Deluxe Bus which that has an 8:15 pm and 11:15 pm schedules. The buses travel non-stop, and have their own comfort area. Only 24 travelers are allowed per trip, and the buses have comfortable reclining chairs that tourists will surely enjoy.
As the bus travels without any tourist stop, one’s journey is cut down significantly (only 4-5 hours), leaving you with ample time to rest before exploring the city. Look for hotels where you can rest for the night (there’s a Microtel Hotel just beside the bus station), but you can also opt for more affordable inns that are abundant in the city. A 5-6 hours sleep will do wonders when you conquer Baguio in the morning!
Breakfast by the Ruins
Start your day with a visual feast! Got to Shuntug Road near the rotunda, and have breakfast at Café by the Ruins – an eclectic foodie spot that offers both art and great food!
This restaurant is a well-known artist hub with affiliations to local masters such as BenCab and Kidlat Tahimik. The place even has an artist circle, where it’s said that local masters converge over hot drinks and a bonfire on a cold Baguio evening.
The food offered is art in itself, with freshly baked breads one can enjoy with local strawberry jam and an array of pate to satisfy visitors with discerning tastes. If you’re looking for something light, try the Rizal’s Tsokolate-Eh with their famous ensaymada na may queso de bola. Pair that with the cheese omelet if you’re looking for something more filling. For rice meals, there’s the Lon-Si-Log, which is simply longganisa with egg and fried rice, and their champorado served with dried fish on the side will bring you back to vacations in Lola’s house.
Pine trees and horses
After breakfast, what better activity to do than enjoy a view of classic Baguio – towering pine trees, cold weather, and horseback riding! Proceed to Wright Park from Café by the Ruins by taking the cab (Baguio is known for very honest and friendly cab drivers).
Wright Park has a horse-riding circle that’s a hit among kids. The horse coral, where the animals are kept, is a great place to go for pictures as the horses have been dressed-up like colorful, mystical animals.
There are also shops around the park where you can dress-up like an authentic Igorot, and even have your picture taken beside the biggest, friendliest St. Bernard.
The stair leading up from Wright Park will bring you to the spot where the “Pool of Pines” is located. This is a man-made rectangular pool that clearly reflects the beautiful pine trees around it. Walk straight along the pool, and you will arrive at the gates of The Mansion – the President’s summer haven.
Strawberry Fields forever
You can rest along the tall pine trees if you opt to, or you can get a ride that will bring you to La Trinidad, Benguet – 15 minutes away from Baguio. Here, you can indulge in a famous tourist activity – picking strawberries!
The strawberry fields of Benguet are famous even among kids. Acres of strawberry shrubs with succulent berries. Aside from fruit picking, you can also do shopping for souvenirs, and try the famous strawberry taho or strawberry ice cream.
Walk a few meters away, and check out the La Trinidad Historical Museum to know more of the important events and culture of the province.
Strawberry picking might leave you famished for a big lunch. But opt for something healthy and head to Session Road to Oh My Gulay! This restaurant offers vegetarian dishes that are delicious and quite affordable.
The place is also decorated to pay homage to Baguio’s folk art, which you can enjoy while dining on salads and OMG’s famous pastas.
After lunch, just walk a few blocks from the restaurant to the Baguio City Market. You can start buying pasalubong at this time as you might not have an opportunity later. Buy vegetables, strawberries, coffee, peanut brittle, and brooms at very affordable prices.
Spend the rest of your trip reminiscing at the famous Burnham Park. You can stroll along its flowery gardens, or take a ride on the bike. Go boating around the lake as well, and complete the circle of your childhood vacation.
Up for a retail adventure? Go around the province’s well-known wag-wagan or ukay-ukay for that one-of-a-kind fashion statement. Have dinner at the surrounding grill stations, and order a hot bowl of dinengdeng (a famous Ilocano vegetable stew) to keep you from getting cold.
Take it easy after and have coffee or beer in one of the restaurants along Session Road. After dinner, you can proceed to Victory Liner once more, and book a comfortable ride back to Manila.
Repeat once more if you need a quick escape!