The last time I climbed Baguio was when I attended the 2009 National Leadership Training for Student Government Officers where I was elected as the National Vice President for Mindanao. It didn’t give me an opportunity to roam around Baguio because I had to attend to many stuff which ate almost all of my available time so when our family decided that we would spend the semestral break in Manila, I suggested that we would go to Baguio, and it was carried out.
It was October 29 then when we left Manila around 3 am. We rented a van which costed us around P8000.00 for the first 12 hour trip to Baguio and back to Manila. The advantage of having your own means of transportation to Baguio and elsewhere is that you can choose to stop into places, and more so, you can be sure that you’ll arrive earlier than riding in a public utility vehicles such as buses.
We took the usual road going up to Baguio. Utilizing the SCTEX-Marcos Highway road and arrived there past 8 am. When we finally reached Baguio City, with the famous Lion’s Head Landmark, all the tiresomeness that we felt went away and perhaps was carried away by the cool air that blanketed us upon stepping out of the van to have a picture with the Lion’s Head.
After taking some pictures with the Lion, we then proceeded to the Kennon Road viewing deck. The view was surreal. Seeing the mountain ranges of Benguet and the “chicken-intestine” like road that we passed through. We didn’t stay long there and we went to grab breakfast in a fast food chain fronting Burnham’s Park.
After grabbing breakfast, we immediately followed the itinerary, good thing that the driver of the van, Uncle Jerry knows the place very well (mind you, even the shortcuts) so we wasted no time in getting to the places listed in our itinerary.
The Mansion is the place where the president of the country usually resides when he goes for a trip to Baguio City. It has a vast green grassy area fronting the structure itself. It is well guarded and you cannot go past the sidewalks enveloping the grassy field. One difference that I noticed is the presence of a large “yellow ribbon insignia” which was not there few years ago. However, it has maintained its grandeur appearance, and according to some, the gates of The Mansion is a replica of that of the Buckingham Palace.
Fronting The Mansion is one of the famous parks in Baguio, the Wright Park. There’s so many things you can do aside from taking pictures here. You can walk along the stretch of the park. Ride ponies. Sit along the benches. We didn’t stay long there after taking pictures around because we had to proceed to Mine’s View.
Tip 1: There are many vendors of oranges swarming The Mansion and Wright Park, don’t be fooled with their accordingly, “Sagada Oranges”. They will try to entice you by saying the oranges were grown in Sagada. According to the driver Uncle Jerry, these oranges were not grown in Sagada but were just imported from outside of the country, just like some oranges in the supermarket. They will charge you triple without you knowing it’s the same orange you can buy in the supermarket.
Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay is one popular place tourists go whenever they are in Baguio. It was then used as a recreational place for American Soldiers but is now converted into a commercial complex where you can play golf, eat foods in the restaurants, shop for Ukay Ukay and even designer clothes and horse-back riding. We tried horseback riding but it was really expensive. An hour would cost you P370.00 and half an hour would beP250.00. They would rarely allow 2 persons in a horse, only if you both of you are either kids, or not that heavy.
If you decide to go try it, there will be a guide that will accompany you throughout the trail. I recommend it if you have kids that are not afraid riding into animals because they will surely enjoy it.
After spending sometime in Camp John Hay, we went immediately to Mine’s View Park. It is a popular destination for shopping souvenir items that are made by Igorots.
There are shops where you can also take a picture of yourself wearing the traditional Igorot costume.
Or take a picture before the scenic view of the mountain ranges.
Or have a picture with Douglas, the St. Bernard dog in Mine’s View.
Benguet Strawberry Farm
The Benguet Strawberry Farm is an hour or less trip from Baguio City. Unfortunately, it was not strawberry season when we went there. To satisfy myself with strawberry desires, I bought myself a local strawberry ice cream instead. It was as delicious and as sweet as the commercially prepared ones sold at the supermarkets. Their strawberry pinipig is also delicious. In case you weren’t able to buy souvenirs yet, you can buy at the stalls infront of the strawberry farm. It is where I bought some of the souvenirs I got.
The last destination we went was the Burnham Park. The timing was good because it was already around 4-5 pm thus the sun is about to set down already. Without a question, there were so many people there not only because it was a saturday but because there are really a lot of activities you can do in Burnham Park.
You can go boating.
Or go biking
Or even go picnic and many more.
My second climb to Baguio really is an unforgettable one. For one, it was the family’s first time to go there together with cousins, and for two, I was really able to enjoy the places, the many places I’ve been to this time.
Tip 2: Don’t go to Baguio for just a day only, it will really be not enough. There are so many places still that you can go aside from what I had listed above. Maybe you can allocate 2 or 3 days. Go there when it’s strawberry season, or the Christmas season cause it is when it’s coolest.
Tip 3: All in all, we paid around P11,000 for the van. It became 11k because we had to pay an additional of 300 per hour because we stopped by at Tarlac. This was already all in. Fuel, Toll Fees, Driver Fee, and the Van itself. If you’re interested, you can call Sir Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org. They offer other destinations such as Laguna, Subic, Sagada.