Over the course of a long weekend, I have been invited to tag along for a trip to the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City. Located atop the Cordillera Central mountain range in the province of Benguet, Baguio city with its relatively colder weather and tourist attractions present an attractive site to spend a break from the all the heat and work in Metro Manila.
If you factor in the number of places to visit, length of stay per tourist attraction, commute time, vehicular traffic, human traffic, and eating time, I was surprised that we managed to pull off a decent and of course enjoyable tour around the city in just [gulp] one day. Yes, just for one day only. I wished I had more time taking pictures but here are some of those that did come down.
Baguio jeepneys have relatively higher ride heights and larger bodies due to the demands of Baguio city’s unique terrain that is full of ups and downs here and there. Well, we never got to ride of these since we rented a taxi for the whole day. Soon enough, we knew it was the right decision considering the above-mentioned factors.
Amidst the concrete sidewalk is this not-so-leafy pine tree bathing in the warm, soft, morning light. This tree, along with many other pine trees, has given Baguio city another name, the City of Pines.
Stop # 1: Strawberry Farm
Since we stayed at a hotel in the La Trinidad area, we opted to first stop at the Strawberry Farm located in the same vicinity. Good thing the strawberries are in season at this time of the year.
Strawberry picking on the vast, flat, fields alongside the farmers themselves offers a unique kind of experience. You get to personally pick and pluck the fruits out with your own hands. Of course, the farmer guides know which berries are the best picks.
One of our guides, little Pedro, picking a few more strawberries to fully fill up our basket.
At the end of all the fun picking under the sun is eventually a basketful of fresh strawberries. The farmers just weigh how much you all have picked together and charge for a specified amount.
Stop # 2: Bell Church
On the road from La Trinidad back to the city proper is a Chinese temple known as the Bell Church. Though less known compared to other attractions, the site is home to a rich, religious culture depicted through the markings, buildings, dragons, bells, lions, and other statues. The place is actually reminiscent of my previous visit to the Cebu Taoist temple.
Stop # 3: Lourdes Grotto
Located at the western part of the city, the Lourdes Grotto is a Catholic religious site in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is probably one of the most widely recognized titles or apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Reaching the actual grotto requires one to climb up a long flight of stairs.
Stop # 4: Wright Park Riding Circle
At the bottom of The Wright Park is the Wright Park Riding circle where horses and ponies of various sizes, colors and names can be hired for a specified duration.
Stop # 5: The Mansion
Located just across the Wright Park along Leonard Wood Road is The Mansion. This dominantly white structure, with the words “The Mansion” sculpted beneath it, and fronted by a lush green lawn serves as the official summer residence of the president.
Stop # 6: Mines View Park
Stop # 7: Camp John Hay
Alas, it rained so experiencing this mountain resort has been more of a drive by. Maybe next time.
Stop # 8: Kennon Road View Point
As the name suggests, this viewpoint is located at the original access road to Baguio City, Kennon Road. The spectacular downhill view allows one to see the steep mountain slopes, the zigzag road, and a glimpse of the famous Lion’s head.
Stop # 9: Burnham Park
A tour around Baguio, much more a one-day tour, would not be complete without a stop at the heart of the city, Burnham Park. Despite the light showers, we managed to take a boat ride on the man-made lake and go around the park in bikes. Here are some shots of some sunflowers growing in the park premises.
Stop # 10: Baguio City Public Market
Our last and final stop before we called it a day was at the Baguio City Public Market where one can buy various produce and products from the region.
The End –
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