Discovering the Magic of Baguio: A Destination for Every Budget
Baguio, the Summer Capital of the Philippines, is a mountainous city in Northern Luzon that offers a breathtaking view and cool weather all year round. Dubbed the City of Pines, it has become a popular tourist destination among locals and foreigners alike. As you explore Baguio, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush pine trees and rolling green hills.
The sound of chirping birds and rustling leaves will give you a sense of peace and serenity rarely found in big cities. In addition to its natural wonders, Baguio also offers an array of exciting activities that cater to every travel style.
Whether you’re looking for adventure or just relaxation, Baguio has something to offer without breaking your bank account. This guide will take you through a three-day itinerary filled with scenic spots, cultural immersion, culinary delights, and adventure trips that won’t hurt your wallet.
Budget-friendly Travel Options
Before getting into the itinerary itself, let’s first talk about how to get there on a budget. If you’re coming from Manila or nearby provinces in Northern Luzon like Pangasinan or La Union, taking a bus is your best bet.
Victory Liner operates 24/7 with buses leaving every hour from terminals located at Pasay City (EDSA), Cubao (Quezon City), and Caloocan (North EDSA). Fares range from Php 450 – Php 750 depending on the class of bus you choose.
If you prefer to travel by car or motorcycle, there are several routes available depending on your starting point. From Manila via SCTEX/NLEX the TPLEX route takes approximately four hours while those coming from La Union can take Kennon Road which offers scenic views but can be challenging given its steep climb.
If this is your first time in Baguio, your best choice would be to stay within the city proper. There are a variety of accommodations available ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels.
You can find affordable options like Baguio Holiday Villas, Iggy’s Inn, or Microtel by Wyndham. Prices range from Php 1000 – Php 3000 depending on the type of room you choose.
The Ultimate Scenic Spots
The first day of your itinerary will be dedicated to exploring Baguio’s scenic spots. The city is known for its parks and gardens that offer a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Start your day with an early morning stroll at Burnham Park, a popular attraction located at the heart of the city.
You can rent bikes or paddle boats for an affordable fee and explore the park’s man-made lake or simply take a leisurely walk along its pathways. After Burnham Park, head over to Session Road, which is considered the main thoroughfare in Baguio City.
This place offers various shops selling souvenirs, handicrafts, and food items that are unique to Baguio. It’s also worth mentioning that you can find some restaurants here that offer cheap but tasty meals.
In the afternoon, make your way up to Mount Cloud Bookshop where you’ll find a small bookstore nestled atop a hill overlooking the city center. Take in the stunning view of the surrounding greenery while browsing through their collection of locally sourced books.
Getting Immersed in Culture and Cuisine
On Day 2, immerse yourself into Baguio’s rich culture and cuisine with our itinerary picks that won’t hurt your wallet. To start your cultural immersion journey head over to Tam-awan Village where you’ll learn about traditional Igorot culture through art exhibits and interactive workshops led by local artists. The entrance fee is only Php 50 per person.
Next, satisfy your taste buds with local delicacies that can be found at the Baguio City Public Market. Try out the famous strawberry taho, ube jam, and peanut brittle which are known to be Baguio’s food staples.
Prices range from Php 30 – Php 100 per serving. To end your day on a high note, attend a cultural show at the Bencab Museum where you can witness traditional dances and music performances by different indigenous groups in the Philippines.
The entrance fee is only Php 120 per person which already includes access to the museum’s exhibits. Stay tuned for Day 3 of our itinerary which features adventure trips and exciting eco-tourism activities that will complete your Baguio experience without breaking the bank!
Day 1: Exploring Baguio’s Scenic Spots
Burnham Park: A Bike Ride to Remember
If you’re a nature lover and enjoy a good bike ride, then Burnham Park should be your first stop. Located at the heart of Baguio City, Burnham Park is the perfect place to start your day and soak up the fresh air.
You can rent a bike for as low as PHP 40 per hour and explore the park’s beautiful surroundings. Take in the scenery while riding along its man-made lagoon, or simply sit back and relax on one of its many benches.
Session Road: Shop and Dine Like a Local
After working up an appetite at Burnham Park, head over to Session Road for some shopping and local eats. Session Road is known for its wide range of shops that cater to all kinds of interests.
From clothing stores to specialty shops selling souvenirs, there’s something for everyone here. And when you need a break from shopping, indulge in some local delicacies at one of the many restaurants lining the street.
Mount Cloud Bookshop: A Scenic Hike with Culture
To cap off your first day in Baguio City, take a hike up to Mount Cloud Bookshop. This quaint bookstore offers not only books but also cultural experiences that will make your visit worth it.
As you hike up towards Mount Cloud Bookshop, take in the scenic view of Baguio City below you. Once you reach the top, reward yourself with some hot coffee or tea while browsing through their extensive collection of books on Philippine culture.
But before heading back down, sign up for one of their cultural workshops or talks where they cover various topics about Philippine heritage like traditional embroidery techniques or native musical instruments! Whether you’re a book lover, culture enthusiast, or simply want to see Baguio City from a different perspective, Mount Cloud Bookshop is definitely worth adding to your itinerary.
How to Get Around Baguio City
Getting around Baguio City is easy and affordable. You can opt for jeepneys, which are the most common mode of transportation in the city. Fares start at PHP 8 per person and routes are displayed on signs on the front of each vehicle.
Taxis are also available but may be more costly. For a more unique way to get around Baguio City, try the traditional horse-drawn carriages called kalesa.
These can be found in Burnham Park and Session Road and offer a nostalgic way to see the city’s sights. Prices vary depending on the length of your ride.
Where to Stay in Baguio City
There are plenty of budget-friendly accommodations in Baguio City that cater to all kinds of travelers. Here are some of the affordable lodging in the city.
- Zen Rooms Basic Iggy’s Inn Baguio: This hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms at affordable rates. It’s located just a few minutes from Baguio Cathedral, Burnham Park, and other famous landmarks. The hotel provides free Wi-Fi, 24-hour front desk service, and daily housekeeping.
- The Podium Boutique Hotel: A cozy and modern hotel located in the central business district of Baguio. It has comfortable and stylish rooms with basic amenities such as air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also features a restaurant and a coffee shop.
- Baguio City Center Hotel: A simple yet comfortable hotel near Baguio City Hall and Burnham Park. The hotel offers spacious rooms with basic amenities such as air conditioning, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi. It also has a restaurant and a coffee shop.
- Green Valley Baguio Hotel and Resort: A quiet and peaceful hotel on the outskirts of Baguio. It offers spacious and cozy rooms with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests. The hotel also has an outdoor swimming pool, a garden, and a restaurant.
- Paladin Hotel: A charming and historic hotel in the heart of Baguio. It features well-appointed rooms with elegant furnishings, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also has a restaurant, a bar, and a garden.
- De Hagan ID Transient Baguio City: This is a popular choice among guests booking guest houses in Baguio.
- Small House – Baguio: Another popular guest house.
- Jabbitos Baguio Transient House: Also popular among guests.
- Micah’s Condo: This condo offers a bedroom and bathroom setup, ideal for families. It’s located near attractions like a strawberry farm, bell church, and Mirador.
- The Oak Smart Suite 2BR Baguio: The unit is near Wright Park, John Hay, and Baguio Country Club. The self-check-in is very smooth and the host is very accommodating and responsive.
- The Penthouse Zonevill Condo: Offers self-check-in and out convenience.
- Fe and Jun Condo Unit Rental: The location is near many attractions like Lourdes Grotto, Burnham Park, etc. The owner is very kind and approachable.
- Edna Lozito’s Apartment: The apartment is clean, neat, and equipped with all kitchen utensils. The host is very accommodating.
- Serenity House: The house is spacious, clean, and very homey. The host is very considerate and accommodating.
Day 1 Food Recommendations
- Good Taste Café & Restaurant: This restaurant is known for its affordable and delicious Chinese food. Some of the must-try dishes include buttered chicken, beef with broccoli, and pancit canton.
- Chaya: This Japanese restaurant serves fresh and authentic sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes. Try their salmon sashimi, tempura, and ramen.
Day 2: Immersing in Baguio’s Culture and Cuisine
Discovering Traditional Igorot Culture at Tam-Awan Village
If you are looking for a unique cultural experience, then a visit to Tam-Awan Village should definitely be on your itinerary. This is a reconstructed traditional Igorot village that provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about the customs and traditions of the indigenous people of the Cordilleras. As you explore the village, you will get to see traditional Ifugao houses made from bamboo and cogon grass and learn about their construction techniques.
You will also have a chance to interact with local artists who specialize in traditional crafts such as weaving, carving, and pottery. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to witness a traditional dance performance!
Sampling Baguio’s Unique Delicacies at Baguio City Public Market
No trip to Baguio would be complete without trying out some of the unique delicacies that the city has to offer. And there is no better place to do this than at the Baguio City Public Market.
Here you can find everything from fresh strawberries (which Baguio is famous for) to strawberry taho (a sweet dessert made from tofu), ube jam (a purple yam spread), peanut brittle (a crunchy snack made from peanuts and caramelized sugar), and much more. The market is also an excellent spot for souvenir shopping as there are many stalls selling locally-made handicrafts such as woven baskets, hand-carved wooden figurines, and embroidered clothing.
Immersing Yourself in Art at Bencab Museum
Located just outside of Baguio City proper, Bencab Museum is a must-visit destination for art lovers. The museum was founded by Benedicto Cabrera or BenCab, one of the most prominent artists in the Philippines. The museum has a vast collection of contemporary art from both local and international artists, with a particular focus on Philippine art.
Visitors can see paintings, sculptures, and other works of art that offer diverse perspectives on Filipino culture and society. One of the highlights of visiting the Bencab Museum is watching the cultural show performed by the Kawayan Folk Arts Group.
The group is made up of young performers who showcase traditional dances from different regions in the Philippines. Their performances are full of energy and an excellent way to learn about Philippine culture.
Other Cultural Attractions in Baguio
Aside from Tam-Awan Village and Bencab Museum, there are plenty more cultural attractions worth exploring in Baguio.
The Saint Louis University Museum of Arts and Culture showcases the history and heritage of the Cordillera region through artifacts, costumes, photographs, and multimedia exhibits.
Another must-visit destination is the Baguio Museum which has a collection that includes ethnographic materials relating to Igorot life, photos documenting Baguio’s history as a hill station retreat during colonial times, and artworks by local artists (including BenCab), among others.
Day 2 Food Recommendations
- Oh My Gulay!: This vegetarian restaurant offers a unique dining experience with its artsy interiors and stunning views of the city. Try their vegetable lasagna, mushroom sisig, and strawberry smoothie.
- Amare La Cucina Pizza: This Italian restaurant serves delicious wood-fired pizzas and pasta. Try their margherita pizza, carbonara pasta, and tiramisu.
Day 2 is all about immersing yourself in Baguio’s unique culture while sampling its delicious cuisine. A visit to Tam-Awan Village will give you insight into traditional Igorot life while exploring Bencab Museum will expose you to Philippine contemporary art at its finest. And don’t forget to try out all sorts of yummy delicacies at the Baguio City Public Market!
Day 3: Adventure Time in Baguio’s Surrounding Areas
Strawberry Picking and Vegetable Farm Tours in La Trinidad Valley
On the third day of your budget-friendly Baguio adventure, why not take a trip to La Trinidad Valley? Known as the “Strawberry Capital of the Philippines,” La Trinidad offers scenic farm tours where you can pick fresh strawberries, vegetables, and other crops straight from the field.
You can also learn about the different farming techniques used by local farmers and support their livelihood. One of the most popular spots for strawberry picking is Strawberry Fields Farm, which charges only Php 450 per kilogram (as of writing).
As you wander through rows of luscious strawberries, breathe in the fresh mountain air and admire views of the nearby Benguet mountains. And don’t forget to try some strawberry ice cream or jams – they’re made on-site and are absolutely delicious!
Eco-Adventure Tour at Camp John Hay
After your farm visit, head back to Baguio City for an Eco-Adventure tour at Camp John Hay. This former American military base has been transformed into a natural haven with various activities suited for all ages.
For adrenaline junkies, try out their Tree Top Adventure Park which features zip lines that allow you to fly over lush pine trees. For more laid-back options, there’s a mini-golf course or horseback riding through scenic forest trails.
And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, sign up for archery lessons or wall climbing. But even if you’re not looking for adventure sports, Camp John Hay has other attractions such as nature trails that take you through beautiful landscapes filled with hanging bridges and waterfalls.
Relaxing Dip at Asin Hot Springs
As your budget-friendly Baguio journey comes to an end, cap off your day with a relaxing dip in Asin Hot Springs. Located 16km away from the city, this natural hot spring offers visitors the chance to soak in mineral-rich waters that are said to have therapeutic and healing properties.
You can access the main pool which is surrounded by lush greenery and has views of nearby mountains. There are also private pools available for those looking for more intimate settings.
Before heading back to your hotel, grab a bite to eat at one of the local eateries nearby. You’ll find delicious food options such as grilled fish, sinigang soup, and other Filipino dishes that are sure to satisfy your cravings.
Day 3 Food Recommendations
- Lemon and Olives: This Greek restaurant offers a variety of Mediterranean dishes such as gyros, souvlaki, and moussaka. Try their chicken gyros, Greek salad, and baklava.
- Chocolate De Batirol: This café is known for its traditional Filipino hot chocolate made from cacao beans. Try their classic hot chocolate, suman sa lihia, and bibingka.
Recap of itinerary highlights
Over the course of three days, we’ve explored some of the best sights and experiences that Baguio has to offer. We started by exploring scenic spots like Burnham Park and Mount Cloud Bookshop on Day 1.
On Day 2, we immersed ourselves in Baguio’s culture and cuisine with visits to Tam-Awan Village and the Baguio City Public Market, topped off with a cultural show at Bencab Museum. On Day 3, we had an adventure-filled day trip to La Trinidad Valley for strawberry picking and vegetable farm tours before finishing our trip with a relaxing dip at Asin Hot Springs.
Our itinerary covered a range of activities that are perfect for budget travelers who want to make the most out of their time in Baguio without breaking the bank. From free activities like walking along Session Road to affordable food options at the public market, there’s plenty to see and do without spending much money.
Encouragement for travelers to visit Baguio
We hope this itinerary has convinced you to add Baguio to your list of places to visit in the Philippines. With cool weather year-round and a vibrant cultural scene, there’s something for everyone in this city located high up in the mountains.
Baguio is also easily accessible from Manila via bus or private car, making it a convenient destination for both locals and tourists. And with so many budget-friendly options available for food, accommodations, and activities, there’s no reason not to visit!
If you’re looking for more adventure outside of the city limits, there are plenty of nearby attractions like Mount Pulag National Park or trekking through rice terraces in Sagada. Overall, we hope this article has shown that it is possible to explore Baguio on a budget while still having a fantastic time.
Whether you’re an avid hiker or a foodie looking to try out new local delicacies, there’s something for everyone in this charming mountain city. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable trip!
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