Baguio attractions and activities

Baguio Cathedral

This ‘city of pines’ has long been a popular place for Manilenos to escape the heat of the lowlands, and so some of the most important Baguio attractions are the parks and open spaces around town. The most famous of these is central Burnham Park which lies at the heart of the city. There is a boating lake (Php100 per hour), manicured gardens and several impressive monuments here.

Session Road is the main commercial hub of the town and where a variety of shops, fast food joints and offices are based. Traffic around this area can be a problem, and so it is wise to leave extra time whilst sightseeing in Baguio during rush hour. Cheap taxis are available all around the city when the hilly terrain takes its toll on aching limbs.

Baguio Cathedral

This rather gaudy church northeast of Burnham Park is decorated in a subtle shade of pink and rather resembles a wedding cake. It is worth popping by, however, as the inside is rather more traditional. (website: www.baguiocathedral.blogspot.com).

Horseback riding in Baguio

Taking place at Wright Park and the surrounding countryside, this is a great Baguio activity for children and will not break the bank at only Php300/hour. There is an additional guide fee if you want to ride outside the park.

Mines View Park

Enjoy the spectacular views of the beautiful pine-covered mountain scenery and take photographs with local St Bernard dog Doglas.

Panagbenga Flower Festival

The famous Baguio Flower Festival is held in the town every February. Colourful street parades, gaudy floats and bright costumes come together with native dance displays and cultural shows. Huge crowds come every year so be sure to book your accommodation early here.

St Louis University Museum of Arts and Culture

Come and browse through hundreds of regional artefacts including tribal weaponry, reconstructed native houses and traditional costumes. The best museum in Baguio by some distance. (website: www.slu.edu.ph).

Camp John Hay

The former US R&R facility for military personnel was turned over to Philippine control in 1991. Today Camp John Hay is more a glorified country club with 18-hole golf course, camping, horseback riding and much more. There is a condotel here which opened in 2001 and a very good restaurant. (website: www.campjohnhay.ph).

Botanical Gardens/Igorot Village

These botanical gardens are worth visiting for the native Igorot huts which have been painstakingly recreated within the grounds. There is a great variety of highland flora here as well for budding botanists.

Easter school of Weaving

This craft attraction in Baguio teaches about traditional Cordilleras weaving techniques and also stocks a wide selection of high-quality woven items for sale. Authentic tapis and other garments make great gifts and you can watch the looms spin their colourful cloth downstairs too. (website: www.easterweaving.com).

Strawberry Fields

The area around Baguio has a perfect temperate climate for all manner of fruit, with Strawberry Fields fruit farm great for strawberry picking with the kids. It’s just 30-minute jeepney ride from the city centre.

North Haven Spa in Baguio

Offering one of the most unique pampering experiences north of Manila, this favourite of Baugio spas offers Thai, Swedish and great combination massages.  Local specialities include Baguio Strawberry, Cordillera Rice or Benguet Coffee scrubs. Or try the indigenous head massage from northern Luzon called a Gisgisto, or perhaps the Kolkolis traditional foot massage which uses runo sticks is more appealing. Treatments from Php350-1,950.

Shopping in Baguio

Baguio is a shopper’s Mecca in the Cordilleras with all manner of traditional artisanship taking place in the region being sold in the city.

Peanut Brittle, Sesame Crunch, Strawberry Jam and Ube (purple yam) Jam can be bought from the Good Shepherd Convent.

Hand-woven woollen articles are also popular in the chilly city and range from bookmarks and wristbands to hand bags, rucksacks and slippers. Check out Maharlika Shopping Centre directly north of Burnham Park or the fabulous City Market slightly beyond for a great selection.

Wood carvings such as traditional Ifugao houses, rice god figurines and phallic sculptures are particularly popular in the town. Another souvenir which is perhaps unsuitable for kids is the ‘man-in-the-barrel’ doll with a lurid trick!