What’s the first image that comes to your mind when I mention the Philippines?

If you love to travel like me, I’m sure you think of paradise beaches, islands, and busy cities.. perhaps also lakes or lagoons that Palawan is famous for.

But did you think of mountains? I think not. In that case, let me introduce the city that’s often called the summer capital of the Philippines – Baguio.

Look for Baguio tour packages or opt for a DIY trip, whatever you decide one thing is for sure – you will have a very good time in this hilly travel destination in the Philippines.

What is Baguio all about & Where is it?

Baguio is 4,810 feet (1,470 meters) above sea level and it has mountains. This lovely city is situated on the Cordillera mountain range on the island of Luzon. It is a part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network for crafts and folk art.

Baguio in the Philippines via Unsplash

Baguio is also called “the City of Pines” and it is in Luzon tropical pine forests ecoregion. So, expect to see a very different landscape here than what you expect from the Philippines. (For beaches, check out my post about Palawan and Panglao island.)

Baguio is inside the Province of Benguet. This province produces a lot of vegetables and which is why it is often called the Salad Bowl of the Philippines.

So the question remains, is Baguio worth visiting? Let me share a few reasons why you should consider traveling to the summer capital of the Philippines.

Cordillera Mountains

The biggest reason to visit Baguio is to see the beauty of the Cordillera Range, which is the highest mountain range in the Philippines. The city is built on hilly terrain, so the result is pretty!

Baguio City is highly urbanized but serves as a good base for exploring the nearby mountain areas of Benguet. Because of that, the temperature here is low and gives a much-needed respite in the summer months. 

One of the notable places in Baguio for enjoying the view of the mountains is Mines View Park. This park is located a little outside Baguio city but the view is worth every bit of effort. Another place to see a good view is the top deck of SM Mall.

Hike to Mount Pulag in Benguet

Mount Pulag Hiking [cco] via Unsplash

Situated at 2,928 meters (9,606 ft) above sea level, Mount Pulag in Benguet is a very popular hiking destination. It is Luzon’s highest peak and the third highest in the Philippines. It is believed to be the sacred resting ground of the souls of the Ibaloi people

Mount Pulag is famous for its otherworldly scenery, especially the “sea of clouds”. Astrophotographers also love coming here because of the exceptionally clear view of the Milky Way Galaxy.

To reach Mount Pulag, drive to Babalak Ranger station to start hiking. The drive from Baguio to Baba Lak Range station is around 2-3 hours.

The hiking trails are managed by the Mount Pulag National Park and there are campsites too. Wear enough warm clothes because it does get chilly here.

Strawberry Picking in La Trinidad

One of the most interesting things that you can do in Baguio is go to a strawberry farm and pick your strawberries. The best strawberry picking season is March to April, but it is always a good idea to check in advance.

To visit the strawberry farms, you need to drive to La Trinidad, which is 20 minute drive away from Baguio. Family travelers note this point because children love things like these!

Baguio Flower Festival – Panagbenga

Panagbenga, the Baguio Flower Festival, the Philippines [CC0] via Pixabay

There’s something very special about flowers. They represent the plant kingdom’s fertility and love. They bring so much joy to those who look at them or smell them.

A big reason for visiting Baguio is to experience Panagbenga, the Baguio Flower Festival which occurs in February. The festival lasts for over a month, so are you thinking of Valentine’s Day?

Expect to see flower exhibits, parades, floral floats, kite flying, street dance – and just a lot of blooms around you. This is something that you can experience with your family, your partner, or also a group of friends.

Burnham Park Lake

Burnham Lake Baguio via Unsplash

Burnham Lake may not be the prettiest one in the Philippines, like the ones in Palawan but you can enjoy the by getting on a boat. The park was located by the American architect Daniel Burnham, who was also the city planner for Baguio.

Burnham Lake was once called the City Pond and it is a man-made lake. You can rent a boat from here very easy to spend a few leisurely hours boating.

Baguio is Famous for Handicrafts

Wood carved handicrafts of Baguio [CC0] via Pixabay

Do you like owning unique handmade things? You will love shopping in Baguio because it is famous for its handicrafts. Baguio is a part of UNESCO’s creative cities network and the city government allocates resources dedicated to supporting crafts and folk art.

The most famous handicrafts of Baguio are woodcarving, silver craft, weaving, and tattooing. Walk around in Baguio’s city market where you will get everything and get an opportunity to interact with the locals.

Relaxed Vibe

Maybe it is the mountains, flowers, the spas, or the fresh produce, but Baguio is known for its relaxed vibe. You will notice how the mood is different than many other touristy places all over the Philippines.

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