This brief guide to Baguio City will let you know how to get there, what to do, eat, and drink, where to stay, and must-see spots.
Recognized as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City has a colder climate which is about 7 to 8 degrees Celsius lower than most cities in the country. The city and the rest of Benguet province owe their cool climate to their location which is approximately 4,810 feet (1,470 meters) above mean sea level. The area is therefore great for growing cold weather fruits and vegetables, orchids, mossy plants, and the pine trees which gave Baguio City another nickname as the City of Pines.
But Baguio is more than just a city in the mountains to seek shelter from the extreme summer heat. It’s a melting pot of history, culture, relaxation, and nature.
Best Time to Visit
It’s best to visit the Philippines during the dry season. Dry season in the Philippines spans from November through April. These are the summer months in this country.
Be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high in April and May.
The best time to be a beach bum and explore the islands is from March to May.
TIP: This guide recommends that booking for Baguio City summer trips should be done as early as possible, at least a month before your travel dates, since resorts get fully booked early.
The period from June to October is the rainy (wet) season and is best avoided due to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons can not only be destructive, but most tours and activities are cancelled under such circumstances. Transportation via plane and boat is also seriously impacted as well. This happens frequently so beware!
This guide recommends traveling to Baguio City in April-May or in November-December, just before and just after the rainy season. This will likely bring fewer crowds, yet pleasant weather, and is also a great time to score a travel deal.
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
There are many ways to get to this destination depending on your starting point. This guide recommends using the following online tools to identify all the available options and cost for each while in Baguio City: Rome2Rio and PHBUS. We have provided the major ports of entry for this destination below.
Traveling by air is actually not the most popular way to get to Baguio City but it can actually be done. Philippine Airlines flies four times a week direct to Loakan Airport, the airport serving the general area of Baguio City, from Cebu. Travel time is around two hours and the fare varies depending on the date of booking.
Land travel from Manila is the most popular way to get to Baguio. There are several bus companies with bus terminals in various parts of Manila operating the Manila-Baguio route 24/7.
Genesis Transport has terminals in Pasay, Cubao, and Avenida while Victory Liner terminals can be found in Pasay, Cubao, and Sampaloc. Partas’ only terminal is in Cubao while Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines is in Avenida. Travel time from Manila to Baguio takes between four to six hours depending on traffic condition and the fare ranges from P600 ($12 USD) to P800 ($16 USD) depending on the bus company and type of seat class.
Alternatively, you can also rent a car, hire a private vehicle, or join shared tours.
The following are the modes of transportation available in Baguio City …
SEE & DO
The following is your guide to places to see and activities to enjoy while in Baguio City.
1 | Baguio Botanical Garden
Brighten your day at Baguio Botanical Garden. This peaceful and relaxing spot in the city is home to towering pine trees, colorful flowers, and other plants. It has several gardens, a pond, an art gallery, sculptures, and traditional Igorot huts. Inside Baguio Botanical Garden is also the entrance to the Japanese tunnel that leads to Outlook Drive, The Mansion, and parts of Barangay Pacdal. While these exits are a kilometer or two away from Baguio Botanical Garden, only a short measure of 150 meters is open to the public.
2 | Baguio Night Market
Popular among bargain hunters, Baguio Night Market along Harrison Road is a good source of ukay-ukay, local term for surplus or second-hand items like clothes, bags, shoes, and if you’re lucky, you might find branded ones without the expensive price tag. Items are sold at affordable prices that some people go to Baguio just to shop.
3 | Good Shepherd Convent
Popular Baguio delicacies such as ube and strawberry jam, peanut brittle, and lengua de gato are made here. They also sell other goodies such as alfajores, homemade ice cream, and strawberry-calamansi juice. If you’re looking for a part of Baguio to take home, this is definitely a place to be.
4 | Handicrafts Hubs
Whether you are looking for souvenirs to take to loved ones back home or interested to learn about the local handicrafts, the amazing places to go are Easter Weaving Room and the Ifugao Woodcarvers’ Village. The weaving room is actually a two-storey building wherein the first floor is where the meticulous art of traditional weaving is done. The second floor is filled with handmade products such as clothes, purses, accessories, table runners, bed linens, and more.
People in this part of the country are noted for their wood carving skill. The Ifugao Carver’s Village is street lined with stalls selling different wood works such as dinnerware, household ornaments, furniture, and other souvenir items. Visiting and buying something from these two handicrafts hubs will surely go a long way in supporting the old and dying industries in the country.
5 | Haunted Houses
Several historic houses and buildings in Baguio are still standing strong up to this day. Most of these structures have a reputation for being haunted too. For those seeking a different kind of thrill that involves paranormal activities, the best places to explore are Teachers Camp, the old Diplomat Hotel, and Laperal White House. The latter has been transformed into a museum and is open to the public.
6 | Ili-Likha Artist’s Village
Conceptualized by film director and writer Kidlat Tahimik, Ili-likha Artist Village is a testament of this person’s love for trees. The establishment is built around trees and has unique design and artistry. With several restaurants in it, Ili-likha Artist Village is a cool and cozy place to hangout especially for art lovers.
7 | Parks
The several parks in Baguio are some of the most popular attractions in the city. Most of these parks were built for the Americans during the American colonial period. Burnham Park, known as the mother of all parks in Baguio, is a crowd favorite for its small lagoon where people can enjoy boat rides on rented rowboats. Camp John Hay, a former military base of the American Armed Forces and now a forest watershed reservation, has hotels, restaurants, gardens, and a golf course. Wright Park, popular for its pony rides, and The Mansion across it, former summer residence of the US Governors-General and now the official summer palace of the President of the Philippines, are also some of the most photographed spots in Baguio.
Mines View Park is an observation deck overlooking the mining town of Itogon, a former gold and copper mine by Benguet Corporation.
8 | Tam-awan Village
Tam-awan Village is a recreation of traditional Cordillera villages in the hilly parts of Baguio City. The huts, where tourists can stay for the night, are original huts that came from different provinces in the region particularly Sagada and Kalinga. Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss this spot as it also houses artworks of different media by artists from various parts of the country.
9 | Nearby Attractions
Just a few kilometers away from the heart of the city are popular side trip destinations – the Stobosa Artists’ Village, La Trinidad Strawberry Farm, and BenCab Museum. The Stobosa Artists’ Village is a cluster of colorful houses on the way to and from La Trinidad where strawberry farms offer guests the opportunity to harvest strawberries.
Named after Filipino artist Benedicto Cabrera, BenCab Museum houses the artist’s masterpieces, particularly his paintings. Also used as a venue for art shows and exhibits, the museum also houses ancient tribal statues, figures, and other items such as weapons.
NOTE: The Panagbenga Festival occurs annually in Baguio City every last week of February.
EAT & DRINK
The following is your guide to the flavorful food to enjoy and restaurants to try while in Baguio City.
1 | 50’s Diner
As the name implies, 50’s Diner is a vintage-themed diner that will take you back to the neon lights and retro music of the 1950’s. Located inside Porta Varga Mall, this diner serves American favorites such as burger, pancake, steak, spaghetti, and fries. With large servings and reasonable prices, you surely have more reasons to try 50’s Diner.
2 | Amare La Cucina
Located inside EGI Albergo Hotel, Amare La Cucina is the place to be when looking to satisfy your Italian cuisine cravings. This most popular Italian restaurant in Baguio boasts of its traditional wood fire brick oven pizzas and the pasta, ribs, and even the gelato are equally good based on customer reviews. With accommodating staff and reasonable prices, Amare La Cucina is definitely worth trying when in Baguio City.
3 | Arca’s Yard
Arca’s Yard isn’t just a cafe serving international foods. It is also a library and mini-museum housed in a three-storey building. It has a chill and homey ambience that allows guests to enjoy peace not too far away from the heart of the city. Commonly recommended dishes are pasta and crispy lemon-orange chicken, and camote (sweet potato) pie for dessert.
4 | Baguio Craft Brewery
Anyone who loves good beers shouldn’t miss Baguio Craft Brewery where beers are freshly brewed and do not contain additives. Try their Passion Fruit beer, their best seller or their signature Lagud Strawberry beer. Other unique craft beers to try are Rolling Fog Wheat Ale, Zigzagger IPA, Old Xavier, and English Man in New York.
5 | Cafe by the Ruins
Cafe by the Ruins is one of the oldest restaurants in the city. It serves authentic local dishes such as Baguio Bagnet with Padas Bagoong, Kare-kare, and champorado (sweet chocolate rice porridge) topped with flaked fish. They are also loved for their homemade bacon, Carabao Cheese Salad, Strawberry Smoothie, camote bread, and Ruins coffee.
6 | Farmer’s Daughter
A well-loved restaurant among locals and tourists alike, Farmer’s Daughter serves traditional Cordilleran dishes Etag (Sagada-style smoked and salted pork), Pinuneg (sauteed Ibaloi sausages), Pak-pako (garden salad made from fresh river ferns), and kinuday, the best seller. The use of fresh vegetables and native wines makes the dishes more appetizing.
7 | Good Taste Café & Restaurant
Located less than 200 meters away from Burnham Park, Good Taste serves Filipino and Chinese favorites including lumpiang shanghai, lechon chopsuey, buttered chicken, and beef broccoli. It is open 24/7 and serves free unlimited hot soup great for the cold Baguio weather. It has generous servings and prices are affordable, surely a great choice especially for those who are exploring the City of Pines on a shoestring budget.
8 | Hill Station
A fine dining restaurant, Hill Station has a cozy cabin setup and serves a range of Asian-European dishes like Crispy Belly Pork and Dulong Pasta, their bestsellers. While it’s not for those who are on a tight budget, it’s a good choice for anyone who wants to indulge and experience fine dining in the city.
9 | Lemon and Olives
This is the first Greek restaurant in Baguio serving authentic Greek favorites such as Greek salad and pasta as well as moussaka, baklava, and souvlaki. Headed by Chef Takis from Athens, this restaurant with mountain top view in addition to high quality food makes for a satisfying dining experience.
10 | Oh My Gulay
From the root word gulay which translates to vegetables in English, Oh my Gulay is a vegetarian restaurant serving salads, sandwiches, pasta, and noodles. The restaurant doubles as an art gallery for local artists and artisans like Victor Oteyza and Kidlat Tahimik who is the restaurant owner.
KNOWN FOR: Strawberry Jam
WHERE TO STAY
There are many different types of accommodations available in this destination ranging from hostels to luxurious resorts. The following is your guide to our top choices for each range in Baguio City.
1 | Oyo 492 Sunset View Ridge Residences (Budget)
2 | G1 Lodge Design Hotel (Mid-Range)
3 | The Manor at Camp John Hay (Luxury | Resort)
When doing research online of where to stay in Baguio City or a for specific destination, this guide recommends using the following sites to conduct research:
Book your room with these trusted online booking sites. Booking online in the Philippines almost always guarantees the best price and a room when you arrive. We use these sites frequently to get the best prices and enjoy convenient bookings. Click each of the buttons below to find the best place for you at the lowest rates:
TIP: The Manor at Camp John Hay is the best property to experience this destination.
This chart is your guide to get an idea of how much to budget daily in Baguio City. The actual amounts will depend on YOUR travel style. Keep in mind that these are daily averages … some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less. Prices are in USD.
A bed in a hostel dorm costs from 350 PHP ($7 USD), but smaller dorms can cost from 500 PHP ($10 USD). For a private double, prices start around 700 PHP ($14 USD).
Most budget hotels begin at 700 PHP ($14 USD) per night for a double room and usually include free wifi and breakfast. For a three-star hotel, prices begin around 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night. AirBnB is also widespread throughout the country, with private rooms starting from as little as 500 PHP ($10 USD) per night. For entire apartments, expect to pay at least 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.
Resorts and luxury accommodations vary greatly from 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) to 5,000+ PHP ($100+ USD). However, there are some really nice resorts and luxury accommodations which are surprisingly affordable.
Local food is extremely cheap, with street food costing under 50 PHP ($1USD). For an inexpensive meal at a local restaurant, prices start around 100 PHP ($2 USD). For a meal at a mid-range restaurant with drinks and table service, expect to pay from 200 PHP ($4 USD). Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Filipino food. Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher cost. Western food (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc.) is much more expensive but is still relatively affordable at around 200 PHP ($4 USD) for a meal and drink.
Fast food like McDonalds will cost around 200 PHP ($4 USD). A beer at the bar will cost around 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD).
A week’s worth of groceries will cost between 300-600 PHP ($6-12 USD) per person. However, food in this country is so inexpensive, and kitchens & refrigerators are hard to come by, I don’t recommend cooking your meals here since there is plenty of delicious street food to eat at very cheap prices. You won’t make it as good as they do and the food is too delicious to miss!
There are many modes of transportation available in the Philippines and each varies greatly.
Public Transportation is cheap. Bus services on the islands are inexpensive. Local buses (called jeepneys) are the most common type of transportation in towns and cities. The fare is usually between 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD).
On islands without a bus system, a taxi or tricycle is the only form of transport with fares starting at 50-500 PHP ($1-$10) USD for short trips.
Taxis are everywhere, and they’re very cheap. Most fares shouldn’t cost you more than 500 PHP ($10 USD) around town.
To get between islands, you’ll need to take a boat or to fly. There are ferries that connect the island together since they aren’t too far apart but, generally speaking, flights are the most realistic option.
Flights between islands usually cost about 2,000-3500 PHP ($40-70 USD). However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel. It’s only recommended if you have limited time.
Attractions & Activities
Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.10-$2 USD) to enter.
Depending on the activity, most day tours only cost around 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD), oftentimes less. You have more bargaining power if you go with a group. If you are expecting to do some climbing, remember to pack some warm layers. It gets cold at the top!
Other activities such as Island Hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, swimming with whale sharks, jungle trekking, canyoning, ATVs, jet skis, wakeboarding, cruises, parasailing, horseback riding, cultural experiences, and tours can cost as much as 1,250-5,000+ PHP ($25-100+ USD).
The Philippines is one of the least expensive places to learn how to scuba dive. Learning to scuba dive usually costs about 15,000-20,000 PHP ($300-400 USD), but often includes FREE accommodation for the duration of the course, which lasts three or four days.
Always book your tours and activities when you arrive. Stick to travel agents who are selling on the ground. If a travel agent won’t negotiate with you, move on to the next until you find one that will. Booking tours online is almost always more expensive.
Typical Costs on Baguio City in 2023:
- Hostel Dorm Bed: 250-350 PHP ($5–7 USD) night
- Budget Hotel: 700 PHP ($14 USD) night
- Mid-Range Hotel: 1500 PHP ($31 USD) night
- Street Food: 50-150 PHP ($1–3 USD) meal
- Restaurant Meals: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) meal
- Local Beer: 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD) bottle
- 1.5L Bottle of Water: 38 PHP ($.75 USD) bottle
- Jeepney Ride: 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD) ride
- Tricycle Ride: 20-100 PHP ($.5-2 USD) ride
- Taxi: 75-500 PHP ($1.50-10 USD) ride – use GrabTaxi app
- Long-Distance Bus Ride: 400-500 PHP ($8–10 USD) ride
BEST NO-FEE INTERNATIONAL DEBIT & CREDIT CARDS
The following is some of our best advice on traveling to this destination. This is your guide on what you need to know BEFORE you go to Baguio City!
Tips & Hacks
The following are this guide’s Top 10 Tips when visiting Baguio City:
- Be aware that a tourist VISA is only 30 days. You can extend it upon arrival, or within the first 30 days, for an additional 30 days for a fee of approximately 3,000 pesos.
- Don’t buy into the fear factor. The Philippines has an unjustified reputation of being a dangerous place. It’s true there are security guards everywhere, but that is to deter theft.
- Manila is NOT the Philippines. Get outside of the cities to see the real Philippines.
- Don’t over plan. Boats, buses, and even airplane schedules are notoriously unreliable. Be flexible.
- Check the weather. The weather varies greatly throughout the Philippines daily.
- Typhoons can have a huge impact on your plans. Account for this when planning your trip.
- It’s not cool to raise your voice or show outward frustration in public.
- Be polite at all times. Realize that your country’s sense of humor may be different from Filipino humor and take this into account when interacting with Filipinos and while in public places.
- Things move at a slower pace. Accept it … don’t get frustrated … but do account for it.
- Don’t drink the tap water… but stay hydrated! Save money by buying large bottles (6-10 liters) of water and using it to fill your water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack.
For a complete list of our travel tips & hacks, check out the following guide and be sure to download a FREE copy for yourself.
The Philippines has its own currency called the Philippine Peso. Banks, ATMs, and money-changers can be found on the island. If you are exploring the neighboring islands or provinces, make sure to bring enough cash that will last until the next time you get to an ATM or bank since most tours, transportation, and budget accommodations only accept cash.
Health & Safety
While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is Baguio City, you need to use common sense just as you would in any country, especially when traveling, and in a city, town, or area you are unfamiliar with.
Consult your hotel or resort front desk as they are more likely to give you reliable information than a random stranger on the street. Be careful when approaching strangers and selective about who you approach. Always pay attention to your gut feeling and follow it.
There are many things to consider when traveling in order to stay safe … things that we may not be accustomed to during our normal everyday lives. The following are articles about tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the Philippines:
- 6 Common Accidents to Avoid
- How to Beat the Heat in the Philippines
- Taxi Safety Tips: Dos and Don’ts
- Motorbike Safety Tips
- Beach & Ocean Safety Tips
- Sun Safety Tips
Staying fit & healthy can be challenging when traveling in the Philippines.
The tropical Philippines climate requires you to prepare for illnesses that you may not normally be accustomed to.
The following are our Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling in the Philippines:
- Maintain a Balanced Diet
- Stay Hydrated but Only Drink Bottled Water
- Get Plenty of Rest
- Allow Your Body Time to Adjust
- Keep Active
- Sanitize Often
- Be Aware of Food Safety Concerns
- Take Your Vitamins
- Practice Safe Sex
- Be Prepared Should You Get Sick
You need to have a local-based SIM card in order to stay connected when in the Philippines. Network giants such as Globe and Smart have SIM cards you can use to make calls, send text messages, and also to connect to the Internet. A SIM card costs around 50 PHP ($1 USD) and usually comes with a FREE load worth 50 PHP ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load that is available almost anywhere in the city.
While you may not have problems with signal strength when in the city, it is not always the case when on islands or in remote areas of a province. So when arranging for transportation pick up, say when renting a boat to take you to and pick you up from the island, it would be best that you make it clear what time you need to be picked up before the boatman leaves.
Recommended Travel Apps
Apps for smartphones and tablets can be useful both before you leave and while you’re traveling. Most are available for iPhones and Android phones.
- Grab (taxis/ride shares)
- Angkas (motorbike ride-hailing)
- WhatsApp (phone calls)
- Skyscanner (flights)
- Rome2Rio (transportation)
- Agoda (accomodations)
- Booking.com (accomodations)
- AirBnB (accomodations)
- Traveloka (flights, accomodations, activities)
- Klook (attractions & activities )
Be certain to download and set up apps BEFORE leaving on your trip to make certain each is installed and working properly.
For our complete list of travel apps that we use and recommend while traveling in the Philippines, checkout our checklist below.
Trying to decide what to do when traveling to a destination for the first time can be a bit overwhelming given your lack of familiarity with the place along with all of the available options.
We’ve created the following itinerary to help simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your trip. Although we provide a 7 day itinerary for this destination, it can always be adjusted to fit the length of your trip.
The secret to a successful and stress-free trip is to start by using a packing list. This will reduce anxiety from the start and ensure that nothing important is forgotten when packing. To make this process easy for you, we’ve created a detailed packing list. Click the link below to download it for FREE now.
Carrying your checklist with you during your travels can be useful when repacking, by helping to ensure that you do not leave anything behind.
Things to Remember
This guide recommends to take note of the following while traveling in Baguio City or in the Philippines in general.
There is a nationwide ban which prohibits smoking in public places including indoors, the streets, on sidewalks, in restaurants , and on public transportation, requiring smokers to use designated smoking areas. Selling tobacco to and purchasing from or for minors is also prohibited. Violators are subject to fines (up to 5,000 PHP | $100 USD) and even 4 months in prison.
The minimum legal drinking age is 18. Alcohol such as beer and hard drinks can easily be bought in grocery and convenience stores. The most common alcoholic beverage is beer, generally served cold. Local alcoholic drinks include tuba (coconut wine which is usually very strong) and potent moonshine-like clear liquors made from sugar or fruit. Imported beer, wine, and name brand hard alcohol are available but expensive.
Drugs are illegal in the Philippines. Don’t use, buy, or sell any non-prescription drugs while in the Philippines … not even marijuana. It is considered an especially heinous crime to buy from, for, or sell drugs to children. The penalties are severe … up to and including death.
Public nudity is illegal in the Philippines and is not tolerated. Most locals consider it offensive. There are laws which prohibit provocative and erotic clothing and swimwear, therefore carefully consider your clothings and swimwear choices to make certain they are not too revealing.
Foreigners & Expats
If you are not a Filipino citizen, remember that you are a guest when visiting this country … be certain to act accordingly. Respect the people, their customs, and the environment and wlidlife. You can be deported and banned … so behave … but have fun and enjoy all that this wonderful destination has to offer.
Don’t Forget …
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