BAGUIO CITY | After many years of not having been to Baguio, I finally had the chance to revisit the Summer Capital. I was really excited to see Baguio City knowing that the Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway (TPLEX) had just opened recently which makes traveling to the north faster than the usual.
Due to my excitement, I also asked my Facebook friends regarding the places that are worth visiting in Baguio aside from the normal places people visit. The comments and suggestions were so overwhelming that I wrote down each one of them and made a tally as who among these places had the highest number of votes.
Here are the 12 Most Recommended places to visit in the Summer Capital Baguio City. While en route to other destinations, I also included other things which I thought were well worth it.
1. SLOW DRIVE AT KENNON ROAD
Coming from the TPLEX Road, signages were very visible on the road leading you to Baguio City. One of famous roads or access going to Baguio is the Kennon Road. Formally known as Benguet Road, This connects Baguio to La Union.
But what I like about driving along Kennon Road was the scenery. It is also advisable to check your brakes as you drive along the zig zag path of Kennon Road. My advice is to take a slow drive up, and look around at the beautiful mountains of Benguet surrounding you.
If you are lucky, you may even find waterfalls like this along Kennon Road.
Crossing over these steel bridges and looking over at the rivers and mountains were just breath-taking.
One of the famous landmark in Baguio City can be found along the Kennon Road. The Lion's Head is one of the most visited place along Kennon Road due to its size. There were also stalls selling souvenir items worth checking out. You can stop and take pictures but expect photobombers in the background as it tends to be forever busy.
2. A QUICK STOP AT KENNON ROAD VIEW POINT
To get a panoramic view of the mountains of Benguet, Kennon Road View Point is the place to be! You can also see the other parts of Kennon Road from the balcony and the beautiful view of the mountains from this point.
From a hot humid climate to the fresh and cool breeze of the Baguio City which can also be felt at this point.
3. BENCAB MUSEUM
30 Minutes away from Baguio City, lies a hidden gem of different art pieces and tribal collections by our National Artist Benedicto Cabrera (BenCab). The journey to the museum normally takes 15 minutes but due to the road works going on, it took us almost an hour to get there. But despite the hassle in traveling, what we found was true love for the art of the Filipinos.
Located on a hillside of Asim Road, you also get to see a panoramic view of the mountain surrounding the museum. I couldn't think of any other place to have a museum better than this. It was worth visiting the Bencab Museum.
The museum is always covered by this refreshing mist.
The museum has 10 galleries from Cordillera, Maestro, Philippine Contemporary Arts, and many more.
The beautifully landscaped garden outside the Bencab Museum.
Another nice place to relax was the gazebo in the middle of this pond.
Bencab Museum also has CAFE SABEL. A restaurant which offers fresh produce from their farm and something to satisfy everyone's palate. A great place to indulge your taste buds after your tour.
The Erotica Gallery is one of the interesting galleries in the museum. I would advise the kids not to enter this gallery. This is highly advisable for adults though!
4. A WALK IN THE CEMETERY OF NEGATIVISM
Since we were staying at The Manor inside Club John Hay, it was interesting to find something unique to the Philippines, the Cemetery of Negativism .
This is not literally a cemetery of the dead but this was built by the American soldiers who decided to bury all their negative emotions here.
A walk here is not that long, so let's move on to the next attraction which was only a few meters away from here.
5. BELL HOUSE MUSEUM
Once a vacation house of the Commanding General of the Philippines, Gen. John Franklin Bell during the early 1900's. This house has now become one of the attractions you will find inside Camp John Hay.
Another beautiful place to relax next to the Bell House Museum was the Amphitheater. It was just nice to sit and relax while surrounded by these beautiful pine trees.
Another activity you can do close to the Bell House is the Tree Top Adventure where you can experience the breathtaking view 100 feet above the ground. That is something new and very cool to do with friends and families.
6. TAM-AWAN VILLAGE
Tam-Awan is a place that will take you back in time to how the Ifugao people used to live. It also displays the indigenous and exquisite Ifugao craftmanship that you can only find in the Cordilleras. Founded in 1998, this has been one of the most visited tourist spots in Baguio.
I highly advise coming here early morning as it can get very hectic during the day.
The rates are not that bad at all knowing all the features and activities you can do in the village.
The village also provides accommodation where you may stay in an authentic Ifugao huts. Now that's really cool!
Aside from walking tour, they also have cultural shows and local art galleries.
A cafe is also available inside the village and souvenir items at a very affordable price.
How to get to Tam-Awan Village:
BY JEEP: Quezon Hill - Tam-Awan Jeep or Long Long via Tam-Awan Jeep from Kayang Street, Baguio City Market
BY TAXI: Give directions for Tam-Awan, Pinsao Proper
7. ARKO NI APO ART GALLERY
Right across the Tam-Awan Village, I heard loud old music being played and it was coming from an interesting looking building across the road. I told my friend that I want to check out that gallery after the tour of Tam-Awan Village since I found it very interesting. When we got to the place, what we found was beautiful sculptures made by a very famous and a very respected artist, Mr. Ben-Hur G. Villanueva.
As we entered we saw him working on a project that looked so beautiful even though it's not done yet. Picture taking is not allowed inside the gallery.
How I wish we could have a chance to speak to him or at least even shake his hands.
While inside, my friend and I were raving about some of the sculptures inside the gallery and a woman came out to ask if we need some assistance.
We started to ask for some of the prices of the sculptures and also asked about general stuff about their art pieces. We did not know that she was the wife of Mr. Ben-Hur! We were ecstatic specially when she introduced us to her husband.
We have so many talents here in the Philippines and this is just one of the many reasons why I am so proud of being a Filipino.
He even showed us his other work place where his son was currently working on another sculptural masterpiece.
Mr. Benhur worked as an educator in Ateneo De Manila for 30 years before retiring and settling down in Baguio City. Some of his famous creations were the THY WILL BE DONE located in Calaruega Church in Nasugbu, Batangas, ANG SUPREMO at Bonifacio Global City, and many more!
Talking to him was very inspiring. A true example of a Filipino Talent that is world class!
This is a place not to be missed! Check out his gallery and get a chance to talk toMr. Ben-Hur himself! That's priceless!
8. WRIGHT PARK
This park is one of the favorite tourist destinations in Baguio because of it's beautifully landscaped garden. Create post card type of photographs along the body of water known as the "Pool of Pines" .
Tall pine trees surround Wright Park and create a relaxing and peaceful ambiance.
It's nice to just walk around and feel the pleasant cool breeze. Another activity you can also do is to ride a pony which is only a few meters away from this park. Very popular with the children but it can get very busy.
Once you reach the end of the pond, walk to the middle and take a picture!
9. THE MANSION
Across Wright Park, you will find the official summer residence of the President of the Philippines. Entering the house is prohibited so basically you just take a picture outside the house or at the gate.
Because it's so close to so many tourist spots, visitors also grabbed the opportunity to walk through The Mansion gates to take some pictures.
10. MINES VIEW PARK
When you talk about Baguio or plan a visit to the Summer Capital, Mines View Park is on everybody's itinerary! Get to see a panoramic view of Benguet's gold and copper mines and the mountains around it which makes it very popular.
If you are thinking of buying pasalubong or gift items to take home, you definitely will find it here at Mines View Park.
The park changed a lot from the last time I was here. I like the S shaped pathway leading you to the observation deck but expect your visit to be always crowded.
You can buy shirts, plants, herbs, hats, wood carvings, and basically almost everything.
The observation deck.
With the beautiful view of the mountains, no matter how crowded it is, it's worth the visit!
11. GOOD SHEPHERD BAGUIO
Not Far from Mines View Park is a place to which every visitor flocks to buy pasalubong or something to take back home that you can only find at Good Shepherd.
This convent is very popular among the visitors for their fruit preserves, strawberries, honey, fruit jams and their most famous UBE JAM for Php 160.00!! They have more products but people go crazy for UBE JAM or Purple Yam Jam.
Due to the high demand of Ube Jam, each visitor was only allowed to buy two at a time. All the products sold are used for different charities sponsored by the Good Shepherd nuns and also to help maintain their convent in good condition.
They also have their own viewing deck.
We love honey and this one is a certified pure honey!
Come early to Good Shepherd to avoid the long queue. Also write down what you want to buy before hand to avoid long delays.
Benguet is also famous for their coffees. It is worth buying some and if you want to spend a little on coffee, you must try the Civet Coffee. Civet coffee is considered as one of the most expensive coffees in the world.
12. ORGANIC VEGETABLES
People know that fresh vegetables come from Baguio. That is the reason why going home we stopped at some stalls along Kennon Road and bought some vegetables.
They were very cheap and looked very fresh! Something you shouldn't miss before you leave beautiful Baguio.
So there you are! My 12 most recommended places in Baguio city.I do hope that this helps you plan your itinerary when you visit Baguio.