Hotels in Baguio, Philippines
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Baguio: City of Pines
In a country that sometimes struggles to stay on top of pollution, Baguio is a breath of fresh air. Known for its cool, temperate climate, those that brave the steep switchback roads to get there, are rewarded with an escape from the suffocating heat of the lowlands, along with vegetation not typically seen in the rest of the Philippines. But the smell of pine forests and fresh flowers aren’t the only things Baguio has going for it – with one of the largest student populations in the country, there is a surprising amount of arts and culture waiting to be discovered, plus a robust restaurant scene that your taste buds will thank you for.
The Summer Capital of the Philippines Awaits
Baguio has no less than three excellent museums worth a visit. The ultra-modern BenCab Museum is possibly the cream of the crop, with the life and times of Benedicto Reyes Cabrera providing a fascinating way to spend an afternoon. Cabrera is hailed as a master of contemporary Philippine art, and his unique paintings might be unlike anything you’ve seen before. The museum is designed with a traditional rice terrace in mind, and there are also picturesque views of an actual rice terrace for visitors that want to take in the scenery from the café. Another good bet for passing a few hours in Baguio is the St Louis University Museum of Art, where the history and artefacts of the Cordillera people are meticulously curated. Tribal costumes, wood carvings, weapons, and other interesting relics of the past will make it hard to leave – don’t forget to check out the musical instruments and the pictures of Cordillera sacrifices and rituals. Baguio Mountain Provinces Museum is another worthwhile stop during your stay in the city. It, too, focuses on indigenous groups, alongside an exhibit of the history of Baguio. And for an education of a different kind, make plans to pay a visit to the Diplomat Hotel. But don’t say you haven’t been warned – this abandoned former vacation home, school and bomb shelter sits eerily atop Dominican Hill and is said to be haunted.
Get Ready to Loosen Your Belt
When you’re finished learning something new, why not treat yourself to something delicious? Baguio has several tried and true restaurants that have stood the test of time, some of which have been around for decades. One such institution is the Rose Bowl. Known for its generous portions of everything from traditional Chinese food to delicacies with a twist, patrons are sure to leave with a full stomach. Solibao has also been around for ages, and it’s the place to be for Filipino classics that will have your mouth watering. Try the house specialty polobok (noodles smothered with shrimp and meat sauce) or a crisp green mango salad. And if you can’t get enough of the local cuisine, Baguio is known for a few unique foods that are worth seeking out. Strawberry taho is probably the most recognisable, and between the starchy sago, silken tofu and sweet strawberry sauce, don’t be surprised if you develop a small addiction to this much-loved treat. Taho is a national snack, but the cool mountain climate of Baguio is conducive to growing strawberries, so make sure you try this coveted dessert at least once. Another flavourful concoction that deserves a taste is ube jam. You might want to purchase a few jars because the bright purple jam is definitely a conversation starter, thanks to the purple yams that impart the distinctive colour and flavour. When all of the eating is over, a hotel with a good bed will be just the place for dreaming up your next food adventure.
Don’t Go Home Without Stopping Here
There are a few places in Baguio that should be on everyone’s travel itinerary. For a one-of-a-kind experience, switch up a night in one of the local hotels for a stay in a hillside hut at Tam-awan Village. Designed to preserve the culture and heritage of the Cordillera people, the village is sure to not only be a highlight of your visit, but a great way to really get to know the history of the area. As a bonus, guests can participate in a variety of workshops such as bead or dream catcher making, and attend a number of information sessions. Tam-awan means vantage point, and on a clear day, keep a look out for the South China Sea. Two of the local markets in Baguio also provide excellent fuel for travel daydreams when you are back at the daily work grind. The Night Market has something for everyone, and if you need last minute souvenirs, there’s a good chance that you will find them here. Handicrafts, clothing and electronics are waiting to be bargained over, alongside tantalizing food stalls that will keep your shopping energy levels up. City Market is another top attraction where you can cross a lot off of your list. Need a shoe re-soled? No problem. Want to try the freshest fruits around? No problem. In search of some local rice wine? Chances are that you will come across it here. Spending a few hours at these markets is a great way to take in the essence of Baguio while doing some shopping at the same time.