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Hot Spots to Cool Down this Summer

April 25th, 2008 by

Cravin’ for some cool livin’? Drop by at the beautiful mountains of the PhilippinesBaguio City!

Banaue Rice TerracesLocated at 5,000 feet above sea level and with mild temperatures ranging from 9 o – 28o C (48o – 82o F) , this city is called the ‘summer capital’ of the Philippines because people climb to the city to escape the summer heat.

Imagine this: the cool breeze ruffling your hair as you drive by the roads of the mountainside. You gaze at the blue skies with low fluffy clouds above you. All around are fragrant pine trees and flowers of all the colors of a rainbow.

Nice isn’t it?

Well then, take it all in as you visit the many parks and places that abound this little paradise. (No need to fret too much; hail a taxi, tell the name of the place and they’ll take you there.)

But First: How to Get to Baguio

The trip to get to your destination matters. You could choose to go by bus, by air, or by car, depending on your taste and temperament.

By bus

Length of trip: 5 hours from Manila to Baguio, plus 2 hours if there are stop-overs.

When: hourly

Where: Victory Liner terminals at Cubao (+632 727-4534) and Pasay (+632 833-5019 to 20)

Dagupan Bus, Edsa cor. New York St., Cubao, Quezon City, Tel. +632 929-6123, 928-5639, 727-2330, 727-2287

Fare: P 380 ($9)

Length of trip: 4 hours from Clark airport to Baguio

The Winding Roads in BaguioWhere: Partas Bus

When: Partas Bus stops at Clark airport and heads north, departing at 5 pm. Get off at Sison (around 8

pm) and cross the road to restaurant stop and get on a Victory Liner bus that does a dinner stop here.

Fare: P193 (around $4) from Clark airport to Sison / P90 ($2) from Sison to Baguio

By air

Length of trip: 50 min from Manila to Baguio (the plane lands at Loakan Airport which is 20 minutes from the city center)

When: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Where: Asian Spirit Philippines Domestic Airlines

Fare: P710 ($17) plus P250 ($6) insurance

By car

Length of trip: around 7 hours and longer during holiday weekends

When: anytime you want!

Where: Drive along North Luzon Expressway and pass through the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac and Pangasinan. There are three main routes leading up to Baguio by road: Kennon Road takes only 30-45 minutes to climb from the foot of the mountain (the shortest , the most scenic and the most dangerous), Marcos Highway takes up to 1 hour to climb, Naguillan Road is 3 hours longer. All three roads can get blocked by landslides. Driving as tourists are discouraged; 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.

Fare: P3000 – P 4000 ($60 – $80) per day for a van

Okay….we’re here! Where do we go next?

Traveling in Baguio

By jeepney

If you are already familiar with the place, you could try riding a jeepney. Minimum fare is P7.50 (¢18).

By taxi

Taxis are common in the city and the drivers are familiar with the places that tourists visit. The fare costs P25 (¢60) for the first 500 meters (.3 miles) and adds P1.50 (¢4) per 100 meters thereafter. Maximum capacity in each taxi is 5 persons (4 passengers and 1 driver).

Taxis can also be booked for a whole day tour at P1,800 – P2,000 ($43 – $47) for an 8-9 hour tour of all the main attractions in and around town. You can find a taxi at the Tourist Information Counter at the Victory Liner terminal or through your place of accommodation.

Places to See

Burnham Park

Take pictures of the beautiful flowers as souvenir (alas, picking the flowers are not allowed).  At the center of the park is an artificial lake where you and your friends could take boat rides for a fair price. Row your own boat for a challenge, or ask an oarsman to do it for you. A kid in age / at heart? Roam the playground or have a bicycle ride. Feel hungry? Eat some toasted corn, chicharon (crunchy pork skin), balut (boiled duck’s egg), or taho (soybean custard). Take a picnic at the grassy area, or dine in at the restaurants and ihawans (grilled food).

Session Road Session Road in Baguio

Located at the heart of the city, this place is where business and events are frequently held. During the Panagbenga festival held in February, see a parade of dozens upon dozens of flower-decorated floats. Visit the many shops and eateries that are in this area.

Mines View Park

Climb the stone stairs and view the breath-taking Cordillera Mountains and mines at the observatory deck. You could use a telescope to scan the grounds as well (Big Brother, I can see you!) Yell words of kindness and hear it echo back to you. Take a peek at the many stores that sell native food and novelty items like jewelry, wood carvings, brooms, utensils, embroidery, blankets, clothes, souvenirs, trinkets, toys and even funny-looking ash-trays.

Wright Park

Got the need for speed? Horse-back riding is for you! Choose a pony and gallop full speed at the outside oval or trot gently at the inside oval. A delightful way to commune with nature is to roam the mountains with a trusty steed. Explore the many scenic trails of Baguio for P300 ($7) per hour plus guide fee.

Strawberry Picking in BaguioStrawberry FieldsTake a trip to La Trinidad’s Strawberry Fields and pick strawberries during strawberry season (around November). A kilo costs P40 (¢80) to P100 ($2). Strawberry shakes, anyone?

Baguio Botanical Garden

Curious about the people? Tour here and marvel at the tribesmen’s costumes, houses and arts. You could also buy plants here like small pine trees, orchids, ornamental flowers and others , if in case you want to take a piece of Baguio wildlife with you. (Remember to replant them somewhere with cold weather also, unless it is a cactus on a pot!)

Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary

Fancy a mystical tour? Have a guide take you to a “Cosmic Journey.” It is a pilgrimage that bathes your soul in the wonders of Mother Nature.

Camp John Hay

Sports-lovers: try out paintball, wall climbing, mini-golfing for P85 ($2), and pony-riding for P 250 ($6) per hour. You could also chase the butterflies at the butterfly sanctuary or stroll along the eco-trails. After that, take a break and have a picnic at the picnic grounds.

Asin Hot Springs

Hot springs in the cool mountains? Of course! Walk the hanging bridge 30 feet from the river. Soak in the heat of all-natural sulphuric water. It’s all good.

Balatoc Mine Tunnels

Have a guided tour inside the mines of Itogon, Benguet. Wear miners’ costume, wear a chapa (a kind of ID) and ride the train cart to explore the tunnels. Listen as miners teach you the tricks of the trade. Brace yourself for demo explosions. Pan the river for some gold. Leave the tunnel with a rich experience. The rate for adults is P250 ($6) while the rate for students is P150 ($3).

Mount Santo Tomas

Wanna go higher? Climb Baguio’s highest peak and get a view of the whole city, plus the South China Sea. Don’t forget to bring your cameras for picturesque memories.

SM Baguio

This is a suave six-level mall overlooking the city. In here, there are lots of shops, entertainment centers, movie theaters, and restaurants. There is no air-conditioning in this mall; the coolness inside comes from the Baguio climate. The roof is open and covered with tents like a circus. Sometimes the mountain fog even creeps inside: added entertainment! Nice view especially at sunset. I was here

Baguio City Market

Offers a lot of goods at a cheaper price than the rest of the Philippines: vegetables, fruits, rice, meat, delicacies, brooms, clothes, and the shopping list goes on and on.

Now, wasn’t that relaxing?

In these times of global warming and frantic living, why not go back to experiencing the simple life? Get away from it all. Take a hike. Go to Baguio City.

12 Responses to “Hot Spots to Cool Down this Summer”

  1. Miriam Says:

    Wow! Truly informative! I’ve been to Baguio tons of times and I agree 100% with your article. Breezy Baguio is just a refreshing break specially during the Philippines’ scorching summer. I think I’d like to pack up and go up there again! Thanks for your article :)

  2. Josi Says:

    Looks like Baguio has a lot of interesting places for a tourist, and traveling there seems to be really cheap, too. I’m most interested about the Panagbenga festival that you mentioned. Maybe you can write an article about it also?

  3. Claire Says:

    Sadly, I’ve never been to Baguio. After reading this article, I realized that I’m missing so much with what our country has to offer in terms of must see places and vacation spots. Definitely i’ll go to baguio on my next vacation leave. :)

  4. charity Says:

    I’ve been to baguio several times but i never thought there are still a lot of places to visit there. I heard there’s also a rose garden in that area or is it already in benguet? I hope the writer can also update us regarding the traffic. I heard its almost packed with FX taxis. can you also extend your article regarding sagada? thanks.

  5. Kitci Says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing. I went to Baguio last February for the Panagbenga Festival. That’s another Baguio experience that I will never forget!

  6. Chris Karol Says:

    Hi Charity, the rose garden is located at Burnham Park, Baguio City. The traffic in Baguio is normal, however expect moderate to heavy traffic during rainy seasons due to the many FX taxis roaming the city.

    My next article will be about Sagada. Check it out on May 8, thursday! :)

  7. Chris Karol Says:

    Panagbenga means ‘a season of blooming.’ This is a tribute to the city’s colorful flowers and a balm to soothe the pain of the 1990 Luzon earthquake. It is held at February and lasts for more than a month, with peak performances during weekends. At this festival, you would see floats decorated with thousands upon thousands of many colored flowers. You could also watch the native dances of the tribes, see the PMA cadets march in their gleaming uniforms and hear bands play all kinds of catchy songs. If you plan to go to Baguio, I suggest going up during January if you want to experience the city at it’s coldest…and stay untill March during the entire Panagbenga festival! :) Baguio is a nice place to stay a long time.

  8. Francis Says:

    Nice post ! although you forgot to mention Philippine Military Academy, and the Chinese Looking place. Also, the topmost picture does not signify Baguio at all..

  9. undoy Says:

    what time does maryknoll eco sanctuary open? thanks

  10. fm Says:

    ParkRoyal Hotel in Singapore “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED”

    we stayed there on our last trip – my wife simply loved the room – we were there for our first wedding anniversary – helpful staff – they even upgraded us – lovely chocolate cake on arrival

  11. Tagaytay: Second Summer Capital Of The Philippines Says:

    […] south of Manila, is quickly emerging as another popular summer destination of the Philippines. As Baguio City is becoming too crowded with development, industries, and pollution, and Sagada is a bit too far […]

  12. gilbert Says:

    magkano hotel pinakamura pero maganda

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