Baguio is a city located in the northern area of the Philippines. It is the coldest region due to its location up in the highlands. The permissible weather explains why most local tourists visit the city during summer time, sometime between the months of March to May yearly. But if you’re not eyeing the cold breeze, the perfect time to drop by is February, in time for the celebration of Panagbenga or the city’s annual flower festival.
Panagbenga celebrates flowers, which are abundantly grown in the city. Thus, the month long festivity is culminated by a grand float parade highlighting various companies and organizations in and out of the city.
But due to thousands of other tourists flocking Baguio during this time, expect difficulty when it comes to booking accommodation. In relation to this, it will be best to book ahead while hotels, inns, lodges, and even homes for rents are not yet clogged. You can at least be assured that there are countless options for accommodation all over the city. You can search for these online. But in case you’d prefer to walk in, there are local tour guides offering their services right from the moment you step out of a public transport like a bus. Expect these to be expensive though especially during last minute reservations.
What to Do
Before and after Panagbenga or anytime of the year, walking around the city is one of the best things to do. You can start walking from SM Baguio (that mall with open rooftop sides and no AC) down to the famous Session Road for various foreign cuisine and specialty shops, then Baguio Cathedral, Maharlika Market (for souvenirs, local delicacies, fruits, and vegetables), then back again towards Burnham Park. At the latter, you can enjoy boating in the manmade lake, biking, and simply seating underneath pine and eucalyptus trees. At night, there are countless restaurants and bars you can dine and drink from all over the city.
It’s quite convenient if you have joined a tour company but if you’re travelling alone or with only a few companions, it helps to hire a local guide. If not, you can always seek assistance from friendly and hospitable residents. An entire day can be spent touring popular places in the city. Aside from the ones already mentioned above, you can visit Wright Park (for horseback riding and climbing up the stairs towards the lagoon), The Mansion (the Philippine president’s summer home), Botanical Garden, and Mine’s View. All of these follow the same route. You can even drop by the Good Shepherd convent, which is close to the proximity of Mine’s View Park, and bring home famous sweets such as ube or strawberry jam and other treats.
Aside from these, you can also enjoy ascending and descending 252 steps of the Lourdes Grotto in Mirador Hill, play golf through Camp John Hay, and visit the Philippine Military Academy in Fort del Pilar. If you have time, you can travel further to strawberry farms of La Trinidad, Benguet; soak in the hot springs of Asin in Tuba, Benguet; bask in the glorious sun of the so-called Marlboro country of Sagada (about 4 hours from Baguio); and view breathtaking rice terraces in Banaue (9 hours from Baguio).