The pine-scented atmosphere, cool weather and the perfect temperature to let your hair down, Baguio is the ideal getaway to escape the summer heat in the Philippines because of its proximity to Manila.
The country’s summer capital is a frequent name on everyone’s list of favourite destinations in Northern Luzon. If you want to enjoy outdoor activities in the Philippines during the summer season without the sweltering heat, then Baguio is the place for you.
From going on a cultural journey to the museums and villages to immersing yourself in all the places where the locals frequent, here are the top 10 things you should do in the City of Pines.
Visit Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay was established back in 1903 as a rest and retreat location for the American forces in the Philippines. The Philippines being a quite warm country, the city was a perfect choice for a cooler atmosphere to relax in. It now serves as a getaway place for vacationers and locals alike to hike, relax, eat and play sports. There are a number of things to do and explore on over 600 acres at Camp John Hay. This vast space is full of winding roads and trails that lead throughout the mountain area. Popular landmarks here include the Cemetery of Negativism, Bell House and the amphitheatre where you can walk among beautiful flowers in bloom.
For those looking for something fun to do aside from just sightseeing, the Treetop Adventure inside Camp John Hay has several thrilling rides that you can enjoy including the Superman Ride (zipline), Canopy Ride, and Tree Drop (harnessed free fall).
Explore the Bell House
The Bell House was the home of the former American commanding in the Philippines, General J Franklin Bell. For years, it was the retreat house but now it has been transformed into a museum that visitors can walk through to see how the traditional American architecture was. All around the Bell House are perfectly manicured gardens as well as a giant amphitheatre with raised gardens around a central stage. Make sure you have your cameras ready as this is one Instagrammable location. Now, smile and Say Cheese!
Visit the BenCab Museum
The BenCab Museum is actually located in Tuba, a nearby municipality, but is open to receive tourists. The museum houses the permanent collection of Philippine National Artist Benedicto Cabrera (BenCab) in several galleries, as well as venues for art shows and exhibitions. The museum displays beautiful Cordillera art pieces, sculptures and paintings and also contains a farm and garden eco-trail below the museum which showcases the typical indigenous architecture of the Ifugao, Kalinga and Bontoc.
A river passes through the property, with cascading waterfalls on one end. The hill and mini forest across, which features an eco-trail, is also the source of fresh spring water used in the museum and farm. While you’re here, you can also enjoy a meal at Café Sabel, overlooking the forest and duck pond. The restaurant makes use of vegetables and herbs sourced fresh daily from BenCab’s organic farm.
Admire Ili-Likha Artist’s Village
Baguio City is home to a unique culture and arts brought by the indigenous tribe living in the region. Another place you can appreciate modern Cordillera art right in the middle of the city is the Ili-likha Artist’s Village, an art and food hub or treehouse restaurant hidden near the busy Session Road in Baguio. This evolving space has been conceptualised by renowned film director and writer Kidlat Tahimik. A must-watch if you want to experience the architecture of the city, it is built around overgrown trees and makes use of discarded materials, broken tiles and old bottles in its design.
Baguio is the perfect starting point for your vacation goals this season. So get ready to follow the rules set out by the Philippines Department of Tourism and you are in for a good time.
*Baguio is currently open to domestic travellers only.