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Baguio - Touring the Coldest City in the Philippines

Many are surprised to know that I haven't been to Baguio since I lived in Luzon for 22 years. Although I reasoned that I don't have money during those years while I was till busy studying, they are still shocked find out. Yes, Baguio is the most popular tourist destination in Luzon. Let me tell you why.

baguio city

Baguio is considered to be the Summer Capital of the Philippines. The obvious reason is  because it offers the lowest temperature in compared anywhere else in the country. Tourists go there to cool off from the scorching heat during the sunny season. And during February, they have the Panagbenga or Flower festival. It attracts thousands of tourist from different parts of world.

Last December, I finally had a chance to visit that unique and wonderful city. In this article, I'm going to relate some of my experiences.

How to Get to Baguio from Metro Manila?

Probably the easiest way to get to Baguio is to ride a bus in Cubao, Quezon City. I think there are more than one option for this but we chose Victory Liner bus. Their terminal is located along the southbound lane of EDSA Avenue somewhere between Cubao and Kamuning. From there, it will take 5 to 7 hours to reach Baguio City.

Note: Some of the aircon buses offers on-board WiFi internet connection.

Since it was a long travel, there are stop overs along the way to allow commuters use the rest rooms or eat a little. In our travel, we had two stop overs somewhere in Tarlac.

Hotels, Transients, and Inns

Since Baguio City is a popular tourist destination, it is quite easy to find places to stay. There are many hotels, inns and transient rooms that can be rented for several days. In our case, we rented one in along Kennon Road. It was very cheap and relatively comfortable for us. The room has three double decks, good for up to six persons.

Tip: make sure to check that the heater is working or else you will find it difficult to take a bath. :-)

The temperature in Baguio when we arrived is about 22 degree Celsius. Though not the coldest, I can already feel the chill. We had to wear jackets to feel comfortable. Funny thing about Baguio is that the taxi cabs were not air-conditioned. Even the SM Mall there has none.

Touring Baguio City

Since it was my first time there, my friends took me to some of the famous tourist spots in the area. First, they took me to Wright Park. You can ride a horse for a fee in the Riding Circle. I wanted to try but because of limited time, I just took a few shots of the place and  proceeded to the Mansion.
wright park
 Entrance to the Wright Park

The Mansion is just a across the end of Wright Park. That big house is the official summer residence of the President of the Philippines.

The Mansion, official summer residence of the President

After that, we went ahead to the Mine's View, a place where you can have an overlooking view of the mining sites of Cordillera Mountains. Aside from viewing the mines, I was able to wear native Ifugao clothes. There are many kinds of souvenirs being sold there like key chains, caps, and jackets.

Just a few meters away from the Mines View is the Mountain Maid Training Center. It is where the famous strawberry jam and other food souvenirs are being sold. I was particularly amazed to find out that the world's most expensive coffee, the Civet Coffee can be bought there.

Civet Coffee Baguio
 Civet Coffee - world's most expensive and exotic coffee

For your information, Civet is an animal in the family of cats that eats coffee beans and their feces can be turned into a delicious coffee.

Mountain Maid Training Center
 Mountain  Maid Training Center is where you can buy good
strawberry jams and other food souvenirs

After buying jams and Civet Coffee, we moved on and went to Camp John Hay. Also known as John Air Station, it was formerly used for rest and recreation of US Army personnel and their dependents. Since the US Army left the Philippines in the early 90s, it has become a major tourist spot in Baguio.

Some of the attractions in Camp John Hay are the Pet Cemetery, Statue of Liberty, and the Mile-Hi Center where you can buy original imported items at a huge discount. There's also the Manor and the Golf Course. The newest facility in the camp is the Zip Line.

camp john hay baguio
The Statue of Liberty in Camp John Hay

If you may ask, how about the Burnham Park? Well, I saw it from the outside while I was in the cab but I didn't had a chance to enter.

The Asin Hot Spring of Benguet

The next day, we went out of Baguio City to the hot spring in Asin, Nangalisan, Tuba Benguet. There, we rented the pool and cottage of  RiverView WaterPark. The pool was big and it was lukewarm because of the hot water from the natural hot spring mixed with the cold pool water. They also said that the water is sulfuric and can heal skin infections. Not sure about that though. :-)

RiverView WaterPark Benguet
RiverView WaterPark in Asin, Benguet

We stayed at the Asin River Park until the afternoon and then we left. We went back to the city and had a quickly visited Baguio Country Club. By the evening, we had a nice dinner with friends, the finale of our Baguio escapade. By 9 o'clock, we ride a bus going back to Manila, fully satisfied with the good times we had in Baguio.

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