I had the opportunity to visit the City of Baguio for a second time during my trip to the Philippines this year and was lucky enough to get to share the experience with about a dozen family members. We left for the city in the late evening and drove for six hours before arriving.
Here are the places we got to see while we were there, and ones I’d recommend seeing if you end up taking a trip there as well:
Sunrise at Mines View Park
If you Google places to go in Baguio, Mines View Park will definitely come up. I got to see a view of Baguio here before when I last visited the Philippines in 2014, but it was sometime in the day when the area was already busy.
My cousins pushed for the idea of experiencing Mines View Park at sunrise and it was a beautiful thing. We found parking easily and there were only a few people around.
We were also lucky enough to witness a magical sunrise that slowly emerged through the thick clouds in the sky. Words and photos don’t do this any justice. I highly recommend going here at sunrise if you can both to see it in person and because it really pays to beat the crowds.
On the way to our next stop, we saw this big dog that people could take pictures with for a fee. I didn’t take one with the dog, but I snapped a quick pic of it from where I was sitting:
We also waited for the toilets to open up because we’d been in the car for hours with no bathroom breaks. There was a small fee to use the toilet, which included a few sheets of toilet paper.
I don’t normally bother to photograph toilets because they’re just toilets. But I stopped to take a photo of this one because I had never peed in one like this. It was a toilet where you have to squat because the bowl is on the floor. You can’t flush this kind of toilet, either :/
The most awkward thing, though, was that the stalls were not very tall. The height of the door was shorter than my neck (and I’m not very tall) and I could see all the other women who were standing up as well. If I had peered over into my neighbor’s stall, I would have been able to see her taking care of business.
It was awkward, but it was all part of the experience. In the end, I was more amused with the inconvenience than anything. I later found out, though, that if you need to do more than pee, there were actually other regular toilets on site. You just had to pay a higher fee. It’s a small thing to note if you happen to read this post before going to Baguio and find yourself paying to use a toilet – pay a little extra for the regular toilet bowl, unless you would like to experience squatting to use the floor toilet 😛
On the plus side, there was a nice view of trees and sunlight right outside the windows of the building that the bathroom was located in.
Right outside of the bathroom, there were a lot of succulents for sale and it was nice to just walk around and admire them.
The Mansion is the official summer residence of the Philippine president and it’s one of the most popular attractions in Baguio. You can’t really get that close to see it, unfortunately but understandably. So you can spend a couple of minutes there before walking across the street to Wright Park.
This is a nice place to take a walk and also to view The Mansion from.
The Baguio Museum is a great place to learn about indigenous groups in the Philippines. Examining all the artifacts and reading all the information boards felt like a crash course in Philippine history. Although I’ve gone there a handful of times and even though my family is Filipino, I don’t know as much as I should about the Philippines. It was so interesting to learn about how many early Filipinos came from Malaysia and where in the Philippines the tribes live.
Photography is restricted in the museum so I don’t have a lot to post. But it is a worthwhile stop in Baguio and only costs up to P40 to enter.
Strawberry Farm (La Trinidad)
There’s a strawberry farm in a town just 30 minutes away from Baguio called La Trinidad. You can pick strawberries here, but there weren’t any for us to pick at the time, so we just bought some.
I’m sad to say this pack of strawberries wasn’t that sweet :/ But my cousins and I also did get to try some tasty strawberry ice cream from a local vendor.
While there weren’t any strawberries for us to pick, we still walked through the fields and appreciated the other crops being grown, including lettuce!
Tam-awan Village used to be the site of a vast pastureland, according to its website. The Village aims to increase awareness Cordillera culture, history and life. In the Philippines, the Cordillera region is located in Northern Luzon and is home to a number of tribes.
We didn’t really do too much here. We walked around and then my cousins and I got some sketches of ourselves done. They said it would take 30 minutes per person and cost only P150. I’d never had a sketch done before so I was pretty excited to get one done. We tipped the artists after they finished, and they seemed reluctant to accept the money but did end up taking it.
The BenCab Museum in Baguio features an intriguing array of artwork by Philippine contemporary artist Benedicto Reyes Cabrera, aka BenCab, who lives and works in Baguio.
I was especially captivated by a painting he did that depicted the Filipino experience in America decades ago.
BenCab’s artwork is housed in a beautiful building that also has a cafe (where we had some lunch) and boasts picturesque views.
For more information about the BenCab Museum, click here.
One place I didn’t include above because I don’t have any photos is Good Shepherd. It’s a really popular place you can go to buy peanut brittle, coffee, turmeric tea, etc. I do, however, have a photo of traffic going there. It was so bad that we just got out of the van and walked:
Baguio was a fun city to experience again with my family. We stayed at a condo booked through Airbnb for two nights and my uncle was kind enough to drive us around. All the places we got to spend time at were awesome, though I was sometimes overwhelmed with how crowded and windy and hilly the roads could get a lot of times. As long as you’re not the one driving and if you’ve got good company around, Baguio is a cool city to travel to in the Philippines 🙂