If you’re craving for some “me time” and are looking for a destination that’s close to the mountains but won’t deprive you of comfort, consider Baguio City. Whether it’s your first time or nth time to travel by yourself, it’s a great destination that’s easy to get to and easy to get around.
Located in the province of Benguet, its cool weather which averages 15°C to 26°C and proximity to the mountains of the Cordilleras, offers a refreshing change of scenery.
If you’re wondering exactly what you can do and where you can go in Baguio, here’s a quick guide to help you in your solo journey to the City of Pines.
Explore Session Road
Its snuggle weather makes it ideal for early morning or late afternoon walks. The stretch of Session Road, the city’s main thoroughfare where you can find hotels, restaurants and shops, is walkable and is approximately 1.8 kilometers long. There are also several attractions nearby that can be visited on foot.
To get acquainted with the culture of the indigenous people of the Cordillera region, head to Baguio Museum along Governor Pack road. Aside from artifacts, it also showcases the city’s history, development, and a few pieces of local art works.
Baguio Museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Entrance is ₱40 for adults. (Discounted rates are offered for students and senior citizens.)
Along Upper Session Road, you’ll find Mt. Cloud Bookshop, a charming book shop offering a wide collection of Philippine literature and scholarly work. Also within the vicinity is Cinematheque, a small theatre that features independent films. For viewing schedules, check here.
Mt. Cloud Bookshop is open 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM daily.
After book shopping and watching a movie, you can go for a massage at North Haven Spa or walk a few steps to Casa Vallejo. Now a hotel, it is one of the two buildings in the city that survived World War II.
The other building is Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral or popularly known as Baguio Cathedral, a beautiful rose-colored church with twin spires on top of Mount Mary Hill.
It can be visited from Session Road by ascending its more than a hundred-step stairs. You can also take a shortcut at the Porta Vaga Mall which leads to the cathedral’s parking lot entrance.
For shopping, head to the lower section of Session Road to the Baguio City Market along Magsaysay Avenue for some fresh vegetables sold at a fraction of what they cost in Manila, fresh coffee beans, as well as souvenir items such as key chains, shirts, and food.
Just beside the market is Maharlika Livelihood Complex where you can find more items to bring home like knitted items and traditional woven cloth.
Experience Baguio’s Art Scene
Being a haven for local artists, a visit won’t be complete without getting oriented with the city’s art scene. BenCab Museum along Asin Road features a collection of the works of national artist Ben Cabrera and other Filipino painters.
BenCab Museum is open from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Tuesday to Sunday. Entrance fee is ₱120.
Then there’s Tam-awan Village at Tacay road, an art gallery built on a mountain.
Tam-awan Village is open daily from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Entrance fee is ₱50.
Just across Tam-awan Village is Arko ni Apo, housing the works of acclaimed sculptor Ben-Hur Villanueva and his sons, Bumbo and Jiko.
Bamboo Art along Leonard Wood road is also a worthwhile stop. Apart from the beautiful bamboo sculptures, its location makes it even more interesting.
The sculptures are displayed inside the Laperal White House, one of Baguio’s popular haunted spots. Built in the 1920s, it was owned by the Laperal family and forcibly taken by the Japanese during World War II.
It served as a garrison where several rapes and killings took place. Stories of people seeing a woman and child inside the house continue to circulate, making it the subject of television documentaries and an inspiration for the 2010 Filipino horror flick, White House, which starred Gabby Concepcion.
Laperal White House is open from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Entrance fee is ₱50.
Go on an outdoors adventure
If you’re an avid hiker or trail runner, visit Yellow Trail in Camp John Hay. There are no entrance fees to be paid and guides are not required as the trails are visible. The section of the trail leads to Tree Top Adventure, a park that offers various rides in a pine forest (rates here).
If you’re craving for a mountain hike near Baguio, visit Mt. Ulap in the municipality of Itogon. It’s only 40 minutes away if taking a public jeep from Lakandula street.
It has become a popular destination for its accessibility and breathtaking views of nearby mountains. Baguio’s cluster of structures on mountain slopes can also be seen from its peak. To avoid the crowd, visit on a weekday. Guides are required and can easily be hired for ₱400 (day hike) at the barangay hall.
Where to find good food for one in Baguio
Reasonably priced dishes that taste as good as it looks is one of the reasons why Baguio is such a foodie’s haven. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a good meal even if you’re dining alone.
Café Yagam promises good coffee – handpicked Arabica beans, ground and brewed upon ordering. They also serve Cordilleran and Western dishes. Dishes start at ₱100.
Café Yagam is located at 25 J. Felipe St., Gibraltar Road. Open daily from 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM.
A few steps away from Session road, you can find Ili-Likha Artist Village, a cluster of food stalls and a creative space filled with inspired art works. The establishments advocate healthy eating, serving organic dishes. Meals start at ₱50.
Ili-Likha Artist Village is located at 32 Assumption Road. Open daily from 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM. (Some stalls open at a different time).
Ili-Likha’s owner is director and actor Kidlat Tahimik who also has another popular restaurant in the city, Oh My Gulay, that offers vegetarian dishes. Also in the same building, on the lower ground, is Azotea Greens which also serves vegetarian dishes.
Oh My Gulay is located at the 5F of La Azotea Building, 108 Session Road and is open from Tuesday – Sunday, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM. Azotea Greens can be found at the lower ground floor of the same building. They are open daily from 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM.
To try out interesting concoctions of beer, visit Baguio Craft Brewery.
Baguio Craft Brewery is located at the RKC Building, 120 Marcos Highway, Km 4m. Open daily from 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM.
If you’re someone with a stomach that follows no schedule when eating, the city also has 24/7 restaurants. Both Pizza Volante and Zola Restaurant and Cafe are along Session road. Note that Zola is a popular bar that gets crowded late at night. To avoid the crowd, visit Zola in the morning. Good Taste Cafe and Restaurant along Legarda Road offers cheap and delicious Chinese and Filipino dishes.
Where to Stay in Baguio City
Hotel 45 – Extension along Upper Session road offers clean and decent accommodations. Room rates start at ₱1,000 for a solo room with a private bath and set breakfast during off peak season. Microtel Inn & Suites is also along Upper Session road and has direct access to Victory Liner terminal. They offer unlimited brewed coffee and drinking water to guests. Rates start at ₱2,550/night with free buffet breakfast.
Recommended for those who prefer staying in and don’t mind splurging a bit, Azalea Residences along Leonard Wood Road offers rooms with tea-making facilities and your own kitchen. Rates start at ₱5,950.
For those who want to stay in a place that has a bit of history, stay at Peredo’s Lodging House, a Victorian heritage house built in 1915 and declared a Cultural Treasure by the National Museum.
Another important heritage landmark that now serves as a hotel is Casa Vallejo which offers cozy and elegant accommodations. The structure was built in 1909 and was converted into a hotel in 1923. Four years later, it was leased by the government to Spanish Immigrant Salvador Vallejo which the place is named after. Rates start at ₱2,580.
How to Get to Baguio
Both Joy Bus and Victory Liner Bus offer seats with a 2×1 configuration. Take the single seater if you don’t feel like bumping elbows with a stranger or opt to have a seatmate anyway and leave it to fate and allow yourself to meet someone interesting.
Joy Bus Tickets can be purchased in advance by going to the terminal in Cubao and Pasay or by booking online at iwantseats.com.ph. If you opt to take Victory Liner, make sure you ride the 1st Class from its terminal in Cubao or Pasay. Advance purchase is highly recommended especially when traveling during holidays.
Travel time takes five to eight hours depending on traffic conditions or route. For faster trips, ride the ones that will take the Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
Once you get to Baguio, it is easy to take a cab, jeep or better yet, just walk around.