Before Boracay and its May 1 parties, before Zambales and its camping adventures, or Baler (or La Union or Siargao) and its surfing sessions, there was Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines.
Because it’s TBT, and before another destination pushes the City of Pines further back in our summer agenda, allow us to revisit Baguio and to put the spotlight on all the retro goodness we’ve enjoyed back in the day that, my my, we can still enjoy to this day.
1. Burnham Park
Designed by and named after American architect and urban planner, Daniel Burnham, it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Baguio.
When was the last time you went to the man-made lake and rode a boat? For only P150 you can enjoy boating for 30 minutes. Each boat can carry 4 to 6 people and provides each with a life vest. There are also numerous bicycles which you can rent for P50 per hour.
Aside from boating and biking, there are also food and toy vendors along the streets. If you’re tired and hungry after these activities, you can have a picnic sesh and dine with your family. But of course, expect that the park is crowded during the summer season.
Burnham Park is located at the Jose Abad Santos Dr, Baguio, Benguet. Opens daily.
2. Botanical Garden
Located at the east of Baguio’s downtown area, and in between the Teacher’s Camp and the Pacdal Circle, Botanical Garden features native huts and plants around the area.
It is also known as the Igorot Village because it is said to capture the ethnic spirit and cultural legacy of the Igorots. You can still find a group of Igorots at the main entrance who are dressed in their authentic native attire.
While plants are also being sold, you may rethink buying and bringing some home to Metro Manila (assuming you’re from Metro Manila); these plants may not be suitable for replanting in areas where the climate is more humid.
Baguio Botanical Garden is located at the Leonard Wood Rd, Baguio, Benguet. 7am-6pm.
3. Mines View Park
One of the main reason to visit Mines View Park is to, duh, view the mines. The beautiful scenery will let you witness the mountain ranges of the Cordillera Region from the view deck.
Tourists also have a chance to get dressed in full Cordillera regalia or bahag, shield and spear for the guys, tapis for the gals, and vests and headdresses for both. Just pay P20 and you can take pictures all you want.
A visit to the Mines View Park would not be complete without pasalubong. They have a pasalubong center in the area where you can buy authentic Baguio goodies. You may also want to stop at the Good Shepherd Convent where you can buy delicious strawberry and ube jams, and peanut brittle.
Mines View Park is located at the Europa Mines View Condominium Building 2, 2600, Gibraltar Rd, Baguio, Benguet. 5am-8pm.
4. Diplomat Hotel
If you like thrilling and spooky places, this place is a must. The Diplomat Hotel is popularly known as one of the haunted places in the Philippines. It’s around 15 minutes away from the Baguio City town proper.
The hotel was constructed in 1911 as a vacation house and seminary of the Dominican priests and was remodeled into a 33-bedroom hotel. It was managed by Tony Agpaoa, a Baguio-based spiritual healer. But after his death in the ’80s, the hotel was closed to the public.
At the time when the hotel was still operational, the employees and guests claimed that they have been hearing strange sounds and seeing headless ghosts inside the hotel. Yikes!
Explore the place by taking pictures of the place but of course, beware of extra heads in your photos. Lol!
Diplomat Hotel is located at the Dominican Hill, Diplomat Road, Baguio, Benguet.
5. Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay has seen a lot of changes over the years, but it is still, hands down, the place where you can feel the comfort of Baguio’s earthy vibes.
We’ll spare you the lengthy history lesson, but we’ll give you a brief background: The place was bombed during World War II, and fell back in the hands of the Americans in 1945. Almost half a century later, it was turned over to the Philippine government, which transformed the site into a tourist attraction.
Zipline ride, canopy ride and trekking are just few of the activities that you can enjoy in the area. But if you don’t want to get too adventurous, you can pay a visit to the Bell House which is part of the Camp John Hay Historical Core. There is a P60 entrance fee, which also allows access to the Cemetery of Negativism.
Camp John Hay is located at the Loakan Road, Baguio City.
Spend your night at the Harrison Road’s night market and splurge your money on ukay-ukay goods and delicious street food!
Photos by: Kim Maniscan
Header image by: Madel Crudo