Top 12 Things To Do in Baguio City
Nestled in the picturesque mountains of the Philippines, Baguio City stands as a captivating and vibrant destination that has enchanted locals and travelers alike. Known as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines,” this charming city offers a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its cool climate, breathtaking scenery, and plethora of attractions, Baguio City is a haven for those seeking a memorable and fulfilling getaway.
Beyond its natural beauty, Baguio City is a melting pot of culture and history. It is home to the indigenous people of the Cordillera region, known for their rich heritage and vibrant traditions. Exploring the city provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in this diverse cultural tapestry, from the colorful street art to the traditional arts and crafts showcased in local museums.
Join us as we embark on this virtual journey and list the top things to do in Baguio City. So, pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the City of Pines.
Explore Burnham Park
Address: Jose Abad Santos Drive, Baguio City
Opening Hours: 24/7
Entrance Fee: FREE
Rental Rates: P75/30 mins (Chopper/Big Bike); P50/30 mins (Go Kart); P125/30 mins (Grand Tour); P100/30 mins (Boat, good for 5 pax) + P50 if you want to hire a rower
Baguio holds a special place in my heart, as it was my first solo travel destination over a decade ago. Whenever I feel the need to escape and find myself, Baguio was my go-to place, until I decided to move in indefinitely in 2016. One of my favorite spots to visit has always been Burnham Park—a place that holds a sense of familiarity and serves as a compass for finding my way in this enchanting city.
Situated at the heart of downtown Baguio, Burnham Park is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, and shops, making it a bustling hub of activity. Despite the throng of people, especially during weekends and public holidays, there’s a timeless beauty about this place that brings me a sense of peace.
One of the highlights of Burnham Park is its manufactured lagoon, surrounded by vibrant tropical flowers. Here, visitors can enjoy the captivating experience of riding and rowing the iconic swan boats, biking, and go-karting. The park also boasts the impressive Melvin Jones Grand Stadium, which overlooks a soccer field. This versatile space serves as a venue for concerts, parades, political rallies, and Baguio’s grandest celebration—the Panagbenga Festival.
Go on an Eco-Adventure in Camp John Hay
Address: Loakan Road, Baguio City
Opening Hours: The trail is open 24/7, but it is advisable to hike during the day.
Entrance Fees: Yellow Trail – FREE | Tree Top Adventure – P100 (consumable) | Bell House – (P75 (Historical Core Entrance Fee). This fee also allows entrance to the Cemetery of Negativism.
If you find yourself short on time to explore the myriad attractions in Baguio, one place should be at the top of your list: Camp John Hay. Originally a rest and recreation facility for American soldiers, this camp has become a hub of remarkable tourist spots, making it a must-visit destination in Baguio City.
For thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts, Treetop Adventure within Camp John Hay is a definite highlight. Brace yourself for heart-pumping eco-adventures and the chance to connect with nature like never before. Feel the adrenaline rush as you soar through the air on the Superman Ride (zipline), experience the exhilarating Tree Drop (harnessed free fall), or take in breathtaking views on the Canopy Ride.
In addition to these adrenaline-pumping activities, Camp John Hay also boasts a world-class golf course designed by none other than Jack Nicklaus. This prestigious course has witnessed famous tournaments such as the annual Fil-Am Golf Tournament. Even if you’re not an avid golfer, you can still explore the Historical Core or soak in the enchanting ambiance of the Bell Amphitheater.
Enjoy a 360-degree View of Baguio at Mines View Park
Address: Gibraltar Road, Baguio City 2600
Opening Hours: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM. The operating hours might change, so please check their official website or Facebook page before visiting.
Entrance Fee: P20 (Adults); P10 (Children)
Once a bustling mining town in the early 20th century, Baguio City offers a glimpse into its past at Mines View Park. Perched on a ridge in the northeast part of the city, this park is a must-visit leisure destination while you’re in the area.
The highlight of Mines View Park is its viewing deck, providing breathtaking vistas of the Cordillera Mountains and Benguet’s historic copper and gold mines. Capture the essence of the experience by dressing up in traditional Ifugao attire, complete with loincloth, vests, headdresses, and even pose with a shield and spear for memorable photographs.
While at Mines View Park, indulge in Baguio’s renowned strawberry taho, readily available from numerous local vendors. Additionally, the park offers a delightful shopping experience, featuring an array of shops selling woven items, knitted garments, wooden souvenirs, and silverworks. Don’t miss the chance to explore rows of succulents, flowers, and bonsai trees available for purchase.
Mines View Park seamlessly blends scenic beauty, cultural immersion, and souvenir shopping, making it a must-visit destination in Baguio City. Immerse yourself in the charm of this historical spot, capture stunning photographs, and take home unique mementos of your visit.
Sample Local Cuisine at the Farmer's Daughter
Address: Tam-awan, Longlong Road, Baguio City 2600
Operating Hours: Monday 10:00 – 16:30 | Tuesday to Friday 09:30 – 16:30 | Saturday & Sunday 10:00 – 17:00
Baguio City boasts a vibrant culinary scene, showcasing the rich flavors of the Cordillera and neighboring Ilocos regions. Locals have ingeniously incorporated the abundance of ingredients into innovative dishes that genuinely embody the region’s essence.
Restaurants and eateries throughout Baguio offer a wide array of these delectable dishes. Pinikpikan, a flavorful chicken soup, pinuneg, a savory blood sausage, and kinuday, a smoky smoked meat, are among the renowned favorites. Additionally, dinakdakan, featuring boiled, sliced, and grilled pig’s head parts, and bagnet, crispy deep-fried pork, are must-try delicacies.
For a comprehensive sampling of these delightful treats, make your way to The Farmer’s Daughter Restaurant, conveniently located near Tam-awan Village. This unassuming nipa hut establishment on the outskirts of Baguio surprises the taste buds with its traditional Cordilleran and Ilocano fare. The secret lies in their expert use of fresh local ingredients and meticulous cooking techniques.
Whether you’re a seasoned food enthusiast or simply eager to explore new tastes, the restaurant’s robust culinary offerings are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Purchase Souvenirs at the Good Shepherd Convent
Address: 15 Gibraltar Road, Baguio City 2600
Operating Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Daily). The business hours might change, so please check the official website or Facebook page before visiting.
Located near Mines View Park, Good Shepherd is a must-visit spot in Baguio City for their renowned ube jam and other delightful products. Tourists willingly wait in line to get their hands on these signature items, making it a quintessential pasalubong (souvenir) stop.
What sets Good Shepherd apart is its commitment to a meaningful cause. By purchasing their products, you contribute to their advocacy of supporting Cordillera youth in pursuing higher education. Look for the packaging label that proudly states, “You help send us to college each time you buy our products.” Your proceeds go towards empowering these students.
Aside from the famous ube jam, Good Shepherd offers a range of delectable treats, including seasonal strawberry and blueberry jams, peanut cluster, cashew brittle, lengua, snowballs, angel cookies, choco flakes, alfajor cookies, banana chips, and sampaloc candy, among others. To make your purchase, follow the simple ordering system: write down your desired items, join the queue, and hand over your order and payment to the attendant.
Immerse yourself in the joy of experiencing Good Shepherd’s flavorsome offerings, knowing that your purchase contributes to a noble cause. Just be prepared for potential crowds and limited availability during busy periods and the peak season.
Behold Filipino Artistry in the BenCab Museum
Address: KM6 Asin Road, Tuba, Benguet 2603
Operating Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM (Tuesdays to Sundays, Closed every Monday)
Admission Fees: General Admission (₱150), Students (₱120), Senior Citizens and PWDs (₱100)
Note: Admission to the Eco-Trail is an additional ₱150/head and a tour guide fee of ₱100 per group of 15 pax or less.
Immerse yourself in the wonders of Bencab Museum, a well-situated gem owned by Benedicto Cabrera, a celebrated painter and National Artist of the Philippines for Visual Arts. Located on Asin Road, this must-visit tourist attraction in Baguio offers breathtaking views of the pine forest, enchanting gardens, fertile farmland, and majestic mountains.
Prepare to be captivated by a remarkable collection of BenCab’s works alongside creations by other Filipino contemporary artists. Venture further, and you’ll witness the magic of varied indigenous crafts, awe-inspiring sculptures, and the vibrant arts of the Cordilleras. Each piece tells a unique story, waiting to ignite your imagination.
Upon reaching the bottom of the gallery (yes, you’ll start the tour from the topmost floor, going down), you’ll be greeted by Café Isabel, an artsy café that beckons you to savor delicious drinks and meals.
Finally, BenCab is also home to a farm and garden where you’ll find an eco-trail. Here, herbs and spices, like basil, rosemary, and coriander, are grown and used in the dishes served at Cafe Sabel. The well-laid-out trail will lead you further into the property, where you’ll see yards of native houses, a nursery area for other organic vegetables, and even a bridge that will take you to the other side of the mountain, separated by a river.
Truly, exploring the BenCab Museum is one of the finest ways to appreciate Baguio City and the entire province — an activity you can do, no matter what time of the year.
Be one with Nature in the Botanical Garden
Address: 37 Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City
Operating Hours: 6 AM – 6 PM Daily
Admission Fees: General Admission (₱150), Baguio Residents 13 y/o and above (₱50), Children 13 y/o and below (₱30)
Nestled within bustling Baguio City, the Baguio Botanical Garden is one of the most exquisite destinations, offering a serene respite from the city’s commotion. In homage to Baguio’s century-old legacy as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, the garden was christened Centennial Park in 2009, though it’s referred to simply as the Botanical Garden.
Venturing into this enchanting expanse unveils a captivating odyssey where diverse sections beckon with their unique allure. Upon entering, a grandiose sculpture takes center stage – a bronze masterpiece by the skilled hands of Ben Hur Villanueva, an esteemed Filipino sculptor. This artistic marvel embodies the collaborative spirit of Cordillerans, Americans, Chinese, and Japanese in the construction of Baguio.
Delight awaits as you chance upon pocket gardens and pavilions paying homage to Baguio’s international sister cities, including South Korea, Japan, China, Canada, Thailand, and the USA. Each of these enclaves bears distinctive emblems representing their respective nations, enveloping visitors in a cross-cultural embrace. Additionally, remnants of the Igorot Village find a home here, with towering statues poignantly depicting diverse Cordillera tribes.
Hunt for Bargains at the Night Market
Address: Harrison Road, Baguio City 2600
Hours of Operation: 9 PM – 2 AM Daily
If you’re seeking evening activities in Baguio, make a stop at the vibrant Baguio Night Market. Renowned as a hub for bargain shopping, Baguio beckons to those eager to put their haggling prowess to the test, and the Night Market stands as the ultimate arena for this thrifty pursuit. This marketplace of deals is a veritable haven for fashion-savvy individuals with an eye for savings.
From 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM, a section of Harrison Road, nestled northeast of Burnham Park, undergoes a metamorphosis into a lively flea market. Here, an array of ukay-ukay stalls lines the avenue, offering a treasure trove of finds to complete a casual ensemble without denting your budget. Ukay-ukay, a local term, denotes surplus goods imported from foreign lands, encompassing pre-loved clothing, bags, and footwear, all presented at pocket-friendly rates.
Once your shopping spree concludes, indulge in a delicious ear of sweet corn, a comforting bowl of noodle soup, or other delectable street fares available within the vicinity.
See Indigenous Art Forms in Tam-awan Village
Address: 367 Long Long, Benguet Road
Operating Hours: 7 AM – 8 PM Daily; Bonfire 6 PM – 11 PM (for ₱120 on top of the entrance fee)
Admission Fees: General Admission (₱60), Seniors and Students (₱40), Children 10 y/o and below (₱30), Kids under 3 y/o (FREE)
To further delve into the rich tapestry of the region’s indigenous artistic expressions, embark on a journey through Cordillera’s heritage with a captivating starting point: Tam-Awan Village.
Conceived by the Chanum Foundation in 1998, Tam-Awan Village artfully emulates the essence of traditional Ifugao villages, offering visitors a window into the myriad facets of this captivating region.
The term “Tam-Awan,” resonating within the local dialect, encapsulates the notion of a vantage point. This nomenclature aptly suits the village, perched gracefully upon a hillside, gifting visitors with a panoramic tableau that stretches across the expanse of the South China Sea.
Amid this breathtaking vista and ensconced within verdant foliage, your exploration of Tam-Awan Village is destined to be a source of delight. Dispersed across the terrain, a collection of Cordillera huts beckons, each a testament to the region’s heritage. Additionally, you can opt to embark on a brisk hike that will lead you to various vantage decks within the village, allowing you to indulge in even more splendid views.
Go Horseback Riding in Wright Park
Address: Romulo Dr, Baguio City 2600
Operating Hours: 6 AM – 9 PM Daily (Note: The operating hours might change, so please check the official website or Facebook page of Wright Park before visiting.)
Entrance Fee: FREE
Wright Park has gained its reputation as a prime spot for horseback riding, particularly for beginners. This longstanding gem within Baguio’s tourist landscape is home to a collection of vibrant horses meticulously tended to by the Pony Boys, owners, and caretakers of the horses.
If you’re up for the experience, a horse ride costs ₱300 for an hour or ₱200 per 30 minutes. Enveloped by the embrace of pine trees and flora, the park also reveals a rectangular pool, its waters mirroring the majesty of the surrounding pines.
Wright Park is a family-friendly attraction. Alongside the serene pool, an elevated platform offers visitors a vantage point to appreciate the park’s ambiance and the graceful horses in action.
For an immersive experience, you can don Igorot attire available for rent and even take photos with the Igorots in their traditional garb for a minimal fee. Shops offering indigenous handicrafts and henna tattoos are also common in the area.
Drop By the Bell Church
Address: Bell Church Road, La Trinidad, Benguet
Hours Open: 6 AM – 5 PM Daily (closed from 12 NN – 1 PM)
Entrance Fees: FREE
Perched atop the hills near the border between Baguio City and La Trinidad is the Bell Church. This temple is a significant cultural and religious cornerstone for the Chinese community in Baguio and Benguet.
Founded in 1960 by Ng Pee, an immigrant from the Canton Region, Bell Church is an architectural marvel that echoes the hallowed traditions of Chinese design, momentarily transporting visitors to a realm that defies geographical boundaries.
Unlike other tourist routes, the Bell Church remains secluded and isn’t usually included in tours, cultivating an atmosphere of tranquility distinct from bustling attractions and its placement thoughtfully determined by the principles of Feng Shui.
If you set your eyes on the nearby hills, you’ll spot a number of exquisite Chinese gates and pagodas. These structures are particularly breathtaking during the moments just before sunset. At this time, the sun’s glow graces the trees and the intricate Chinese structures, creating a truly picturesque scene.
Pray at the Baguio Cathedral
Address: Mount Mary, Cathedral Loop, Baguio City 2600
Hours Open: First Mass Starts at 5 AM, Last Mass Ends at 7 PM
Also known as the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral, the Baguio Cathedral proudly resides atop Mount Mary Hill, locally known as “Kampo” by the Ibalois. It features a unique facade, featuring a rose window and a pair of square belfries topped by pyramid-shaped roofs. You’ll also find a viewing deck overlooking Session Road and Baguio’s bustling downtown commercial district within its spacious courtyard.
To access the Baguio Cathedral, one can ascend a staircase of 104 steps. For those seeking a quicker journey, vehicles can navigate the road up the hill. Alternatively, you’ll find a direct path to the cathedral’s parking area by using the escalators within the nearby Porta Vaga Shopping Mall on Session Road and disembarking on the top level.
Truly, Baguio City is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. From the refreshing embrace of nature to the vibrant cultural sites and delectable culinary offerings, this city has something to captivate every traveler’s heart. Whether you’re exploring the serene beauty of Burnham Park, immersing yourself in the local art scene at BenCab Museum, or relishing the panoramic views from Mines View Park, Baguio City promises unforgettable memories.
As you traverse its charming streets and engage with the warm-hearted locals, you’ll uncover a city that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity. The enchanting blend of cool climate, scenic landscapes, and rich heritage makes Baguio City an exceptional destination that leaves an indelible mark on anyone fortunate enough to visit.
So, whether you’re seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle or an adventure that ignites your senses, Baguio City beckons with open arms. Explore, indulge, and create cherished moments amidst the beauty and wonder that this unique city graciously offers. Your journey through Baguio City will undoubtedly be a tapestry of experiences you’ll carry with you long after you bid the city farewell. Trust me, I’ve been here long enough to know.
Note: All photos, otherwise stated, are from Mitch Velete