Touring Baguio City and La Trinidad in Benguet

15 05 2012
6 Sunday May 2012
Baguio City,
Luzon Island, Philippines

Escape the heat of Metro Manila and pack your bags to feel the natural breeze and country air of Baguio City!

This I say to you before urbanization and mining activities within the region takes another shape in its ecosystem.

Sample 2 days and 1 Night itinerary that you should not miss and kids enjoyed much:

Day1

Kennon Road. Leave Manila on or before 9am. After 250km, you could enjoy the scenic view of Luzon via Kennon Road. During non-summer months (June-February), fog causes almost zero visibility. Along the winding steep ascending road to Baguio, you could stop at the upper end of Kennon Road to have a spectacular view of the mountains and knolls. Other access points to Baguio: Marcos Highway from Agoo, La Union; Naguilian Road from Bauang, La Union; Halsema Highway; Nueva Vizacaya.

Lion’s Head. This 40-foot high lion head made out of limestone boulder is few kilometres from the Kennon Road view deck and considered to be the landmark of Baguio City. If you are travelling on a tour package or with your own/rented vehicle, you could stop for some photo opportunities. No need to worry since there are no lions in Baguio City! This is just a symbol of an artwork conceptualized by the Lions Club International. As you walk along the area, you will see some stalls selling native handicrafts. Prices are about the same when you reach further up so if you find something that would interest your shopping mood, don’t hesitate.

Lady of Lourdes Grotto. Take some 252 steps hike up to the grotto for fun and or some meditation. This place is also good for some photo snap since you could take a peek of the panoramic view of La Union.

Baguio Cathedral. Take another challenge in climbing up the concrete stairway of some hundred steps or so to give thanks to your blessings. Or just look at the beautiful structure that once became a saving grace to thousands of lives during the Japanese occupation in 1945. After being nostalgic, have some mini donuts near the cathedral to regain strength in order for you to continue strolling!

Burnham Park. This is the favourite spot of both locals and tourists since this artwork of renowned New York-born Architect Daniel Burnham back in 1900s have facilities for fun, simple recreation and relaxation. One could do some boat paddling with kids or love ones, have a picnic, watch outdoor events or even people watch while eating in a restaurant for local merienda!

Session Road. This is the heart of Baguio’s commercial areas so you could slow down and take a leisure walk while you window shop. There are many to choose from for your dinner and nightcap! Food choices can be native (from Benguet, Tagalogs, Ilocos, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bicol) or international cuisine (Japanese, French, American, Chinese).

Public Market. If your hotel is within the areas of Burnham Park and Session Road, the Public Market gets near you since local vendors convert the main thoroughfare into a night market. One could shop before calling it a day from handicrafts to apparels (watch out though you might find UK –ukay-ukay item in the dark! Ukay –ukay is the local term for second hand items). Or else go to the Public Market the following day for some brand new items like knitted items, beddings and hiking gadgets and accessories.

DAY 2

La Trinidad’s Strawberry Farm.  In less than 10km away from Baguio, you could start your day by strawberry picking at La Trinidad while you sip the local strawberry flavoured sweet “taho”, a soft tofu with sago (tapioca). The unique strawberry picking experience is guided by the local Ibaloi farmers. The “fruits” of your labor are weighed afterwards to determine the price. There are other vegetable crops for your home-made salad.

Bell Church. After having the sweet staple food in the country, have an adrenalin visit to the nearby Buddhist Church for the view of a pagoda, dragon, landscape gardens or pray, as applicable. They welcome all religious denominations in this church. You could even light an incense for good fortune and health.

Mines View Park. After your solemn moment, find hope by going onto the observation deck of Mines View. Enjoy the view, meditate or even take some snaps on a horse, with a dog or with the local tribal people. Better yet, do some more shopping!

The Mansion. This is a gated park and has a mini museum inside the facility. This is known to be patterned after the Buckingham Palace of London and only open for official events. One could only take a photo at the gate or just swing by while inside your vehicle to see the glimpse if photo op does not suit your taste.

Wright Park. Adjacent to The Mansion is Wright Park where kids and adults could rent some ponies for horseback riding. Or ‘vendor watch” and be amazed on how fashionably they could be while selling within the riding area of the park. Out of curiosity, you could also try dressing up like the local Igorot tribal people for a snap (with a minimal fee on the clothing rental).

Camp John Hay. Have pancake for merienda inside Camp John Hay, a 690 hectare facility that has a golf course, horseback riding, biking and hiking trails, picnic areas, camping areas (with no tent-pitching fee) and a little pricy cottages, duplexes apartments, and lodges.

Philippine Military Academy. This is located at Fort Gregorio H. Del Pilar, a 373-hectare military training facility. Have some photo opportunities with the local “men and women in uniform” before heading back to Manila. If time permits, interview one of the cadets and learn their military career preparation.

*from the indigenous dialect in Benguet region, bagiw, moss in English language..
WHEN TO GO: Peak season starts from March to May. Best is after Holy week since hotel booking may not be difficult and shopping for native artworks, wood and metal carvings, silver jewelries and the like are more economical.

WHERE TO STAY: During off season, booking could be easy. But if you plan to go specially during Holy Week, book ahead to avoid some hotel inconvenience.

HOW TO GET THERE: There are various bus lines to choose from. But you could take my fave Victory bus liner from the cities of Pasay and or Cubao. Please note however that driving your own/or rented vehicle sounds better if you only have 1 night and 2 days to spare for this adventure.

BUDGET: No entrance fee for all mentioned sites. Hence, for 11 adventure seekers including kids and adults, 20K php (400 USD) at the minimum is enough. This includes your petrol budget direct from and to Manila. If you have more cash to burn, lavish touring more than 500 USD suits you best. h

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4 responses

19 05 2012
Dipankar Ghosh

Nice Place, When will you come to our country with your team? Here also, lots of place to trek or climb.

19 05 2012
adventureh

Thanks Dip! Let’s play it by ear 🙂

24 09 2013
Sightseeing In NY Sightseing

Thanks for finally writing about >Touring Baguio City and La Trinidad in
Benguet | AdventureH’s Weblog <Liked it!

10 10 2013
adventureh

Gee thanks! 🙂

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