No matter what season, Baguio is and will always be a good idea when the need to break away from our love-hate relationship with Manila arises. Summer in the Philippines can be quite frustrating, thus finding a cold sanctuary in the midst of a tropical country makes every Manileño drive their way up to Baguio. Its mountains, no matter how crowded, will give you enough space to contemplate, rest, and explore sans the perspiration. However, if you are a water baby, Baguio is not the place for you, but one hour away from it is the surf town of La Union where you can detour and equally cool yourself down.
Related story: A Budgetarian’s Guide to La Union
Meanwhile, -ber months excite us even more to visit Baguio. The city’s spine-chilling temperature that can go down to as low as 13 degrees Celsius is an indication that Christmas is fast approaching (in this case, it has already come and gone), but the chance to don layered clothes is still a possibility.
Calling Baguio the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” is something that we all have grown accustomed to, but with thriving years in the tourism industry, we can’t help but proclaim it as the “Ultimate Philippine destination for all seasons.”
Here, we listed a few places to check out on your next Baguio trip.
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5 AM – Trek to Mt. Yangbew
If you have been meaning to trek up to the glorious mountain of Pulag but are not exactly in favor of seeing a sea of people more than the sea of clouds, then Mt. Yangbew is the place for you. It is dubbed as the “Little Pulag” of Benguet that gives enough sea of clouds after an easy 20 to 30-minute trek. Upon reaching the peak, rolling hills and a number of horses will welcome you. After the tiring ascent, you may opt to horseback ride for a mountain tour for a thrilling trip down the mountain.
Thankfully, Mt. Yangbew is not as crowded as Mt. Pulag as it is still in its infancy year, and we hope it remains the way it is.
Environmental rates range from PHP 25 to PHP 100 per head, depending if you’re a a hiker, camper, biker, student, local, or foreign visitor.
Mt. Yangbew is located at Barangay Tawang, La Trinidad, Benguet.
8 AM – Stobosa Hillside Homes
A jeepney ride away from Mt. Yangbew are the now vibrant houses in Barangay Balili or the Stobosa hillside homes. What was once considered an eyesore of a mountain of over 150 houses is now a refreshing sight thanks to its facade being the canvas of a now floral mural, with sunflower as the main design because it wildly flourishes all over Baguio, inspired by the favelas in Brazil. The 18,000-square meter space was designed and painted by the Tam-awan Village artists under the project of REV-BLOOM campaign of Department of Tourism (DOT) Cordillera.
9 AM – Breakfast at Ili-Likha Village
Owned by filmmaker Eric de Guia, popularly known as Kidlat Tahimik, Ili-Likha Village is a whimsical tree house restaurant that houses a variety of restaurants inside like Lihim ni Maria, Brrr Grrr, Balbacua at Urban Kamote, Hayahay, and Shakilan ni Akohadaw, among others. These Instagrammable restaurants offer pizza, veggies, freshly squeezed lemon juice, burgers, balbacua, and lots of organic stuff for you to chew on.
11 AM – Slumber at Burnham Park
Burnham Park is one of the many parks in Baguio that we all wish we had in Manila. It is packed with biking and boating activities that many locals and tourists alike have always looked forward to doing when in the city. While those activities are most definitely brimming with fun, trust that lying down on the grass and sharing life conversations and food under the trees is the best thing to do here.
12 NN – Lunch at Oh My Gulay
Also owned by filmmaker Eric de Guia, Oh My Gulay is a café that offers anything and everything vegetable-concocted. Its very own versions of pancit, pasta, burger, salad, desert, and drinks are everything you need to prep for the cold and your city and mountain explorations. Interestingly, the vegan café is also a community art space dedicated and built in memory of the late Baguio artist Victor Oteyza, thus lots of well-curated photographs and paintings are installed inside.
While you’re at it, be sure not to miss their brewed coffee, hot chocolate, Saging at Mani Love Affair, Anak ng Putanesca, Pancit Gulay, or probably a little bit of everything! Oh My Gulay won’t disappoint, interior and food wise, we promise.
Oh My Gulay is located at 5/F La Azotea Building, 108 Session Road, Baguio City.
1:30 PM – BenCab Museum
BenCab is a four-storey museum that showcases the works of owner and National Artist Benedicto Cabrera, and other primed masters and contemporary artists in the Philippines. For just PHP 120, you will be able to lay eyes on the most compelling sculptures, paintings, and indigenous weapons and crafts that highlight the way of life in the Cordilleras, the conservation of our environment, and fostering of arts.
Also inside the museum are its in-house café called Café Sabel, named after Cabrera’s infamous muse, a souvenir shop, and farm and garden.
BenCab Museum is located at Km. 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet. Open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 9 AM to 6 PM.
Related story: Four Play II at The Ben Cab Museum
4 PM – Snacks at 50’s Diner
50’s Diner is definitely one of the restaurant destinations in Baguio. It has been a crowd favorite of both groups of families and friends because of its good customer service, Instagrammable retro interiors, nostalgic playlist, and generous servings of both American and Filipino food. Not to mention that they blend the best chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and ube ice cream shakes in town!
Sadly, their old branch was demolished just recently, but their branch along General Luna is still standing strong, while the newest one has just opened in Porta Vaga Mall.
50’s Diner is located at 4/F Porta Vaga Mall, Session Road.
4 PM – Good Shepherd
Good Shepherd, a staple, has got you covered for pasalubongs for your family and friends back in Manila. It has a wide selection of affordable ube and strawberry jams, Benguet coffee, turmeric teas, peanut brittle, lengua de gato cookies, and a lot more! Just be sure to come before it closes at 5 PM.
Next to Good Shepherd is a viewing deck that showcases a breathtaking mountain view lined with stalls that sell packs of freshly picked strawberries.
5 PM – Mines View Park
Outside Good Shepherd is the road to Mines View Park. The stretch of road is also packed with pasalubong vendors with offerings that range from food to brooms, silver accessories, key chains, and other souvenir items. Inside the park is a newly opened museum, an array of plants for sale, photo opportunities with the pink-haired horses, and, of course, the unparalleled view of the mountains in its viewing deck.
7 PM – Stroll down on Session Road
Come day or night, Session Road is probably one of the most dynamic areas in the city. It has a stretch of restaurants, cafés, and bars to choose from to keep you hyped up during your stay. The road is also a good spot for photoshoots, making the location feel like you’ve just strolled down the cold streets of Hong Kong.
Sipping a good cup of coffee, indulging in a hot slice of pizza, or munching on a tender cut of steak is also a brilliant idea to do here before you dive into the sea of people and merchandise on Harrison Road’s night market. Don’t worry, every choice you can think of is here.
9 PM – Shopping along Harrison Road
When the clock strikes 9, locals and tourists alike know exactly where to go: Baguio Night Market. The busy road of Harrison magically transforms into a shopping haven at this time of the day until the wee hours of the morning where you can find thrifted denim jackets, jumpers, hoodies, pants, skirts, dresses, all sorts of shoes, wallets, caps, hats, sunglasses, specs, and anything that will satisfy the shopaholic in you for as low as PHP 30! Yup, your arm and kidney are safe here.
Food stalls at the start and end of the road are also here to keep you energized throughout your hunt.
12 MN – Safe and sound sleep in Darlyn’s Transient
Every corner in Baguio has hotels and transients to house you during your stay, but Darlyn’s Transient in Ambiong, Benguet is our chart-topper among all of them. It is a secluded transient owned by a family of four, who will keep you warm with their kindness, brewed coffee, and perfectly cooked meals throughout your stay. The long but bearable road to Darlyn’s Transient is a destination itself that’s dramatically packed with pine tree and wild sunflower sightings, Mt. Ketchup, and unobstructed views of both Baguio and La Trinidad, Benguet.
Related story: Darlyn’s Transient: A Home Turned Destination in Benguet