Baguio, a city blessed with a beautiful natural environment and a cool climate, is more than just a summer destination. With an abundance of offerings, the city’s colorful culture, mouth-watering culinary scene, and Instagrammable sights make it a year-round must-visit destination. Baguio, also known by its moniker, & the City of Pines,& and more recently, as a UNESCO Creative City, offers a myriad of amazing discoveries that would make every traveler delight with wonder. To learn more about this charming city, here’s a sample travel guide that will help you plan your upcoming trip.

Updated Travel Guidelines and Requirements

(As of February 21, 2022) Baguio has dropped the RT-PCR test requirement for all fully COVID-19 vaccinated individuals. Meanwhile, partially and unvaccinated individuals are still required to submit negative test results within 72 hours (RT-PCR) or 48 hours (Rapid Antigen) prior to their visit. Antigen is also available at the central triage if needed. All travelers are required to present their QTP and/or vaccination card/certificate at the central triage.

For contract tracing purposes, travelers are required to register online at visita.baguio.gov.ph and submit a few documents, such as a valid government ID and a confirmed hotel booking, to generate a QR-coded Tourist Pass or QTP.

Weather

The weather in Baguio mirrors the rest of the country, with the rainy season happening from June to September and the dry season following immediately. The dry season in Baguio, however, is different than most parts of the Philippines because the climate becomes cooler, especially from October to February, when the temperature averages 22°C to 10°C. During the summer months of March, April, and May, the temperature hits a daily average of 23°C to 15°C.

How to get to Baguio

Getting to Baguio by private transportation used to take an average of 5-6 hours. Due to the newly built expressways, travel time can now dwindle to 3 hours.

From Manila, take the Balintawak exit to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and proceed to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Then head to the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) line to Pozorrubio, Pangasinan, before taking the National Highway en-route to Baguio.

Famous Tourist Attractions

The Colorful Houses of StoBosa

The colorful houses of StoBoSa (named after the sitios Stonehill, Botiwtiw, and Sadjap) in La Trinidad are reminiscent of the favelas in Brazil. This beautification project was the product of a collaboration between DOT Cordillera and the Tam-awan Village Artists’ Group.

Address: KM3 La Trinidad, Benguet, Baguio City

Burnham Park

Named after Daniel Burnham, the urban planner who designed Baguio, this well-loved attraction in the City of Pines never gets old. On any given day, families and groups of friends go here to enjoy the charming park life surrounded by wide green spaces, towering pine trees and a tranquil man-made lake. Activities here include kayaking, picnicking, horseback riding, and cycling.

Address: Jose Abad Santos Dr., Baguio City

Mines View Park

Every child’s memory of Baguio City will most likely include Mines View Park. While it may be one of the older tourist spots, it’s still worth visiting, especially if you want to regale yourself with the magnificent views of the Cordillera mountains. Here you’ll find a plethora of shops selling interesting souvenir items lined up at the entrance, thus providing a double dose of sightseeing and shopping experiences for tourists.

Address: Brgy. Gibraltar, Baguio City

Baguio Botanical Garden

The Baguio Botanical Garden, with its lavishly landscaped greens, is a world away from the buzz of Baguio’s Central Business District. Here, locals and tourists alike bask in the peace of nature. Inside, you’ll find displays of heritage huts, an art gallery, and handicraft stalls representing Igorot culture.

Address: 37 Leonard Wood Rd., Baguio

Old Diplomat Hotel

This abandoned building, built as a retreat house for Dominican friars, has seen its share of turmoil. Because of its rich history, this old hotel atop Dominican Hill is a popular spot for ghost hunters. The supposedly haunted ruin attracts many visitors and is currently being restored as a heritage and nature park. Along with its panoramic view of the city, the Diplomat Hotel also serves as a canvas for mural artists.

Address: Dominican Hill, Diplomat Rd., Baguio City

Museo Kordilyera

The Museo Kordilyera, located inside the campus grounds of the University of the Philippines, Baguio (UPB), houses a collection of ethnographic artifacts that preserve, showcase, and enrich the indigenous cultures of the Cordillera Administrative Region as well as its neighboring areas in Northern Luzon.

Address: University of the Philippines Baguio Campus, 30 Gov. Pack Rd., Baguio City.

Baguio Cathedral

At the top of a hill across from the city, Our Lady of Atonement Metropolitan Cathedral, also known as Baguio Cathedral, gives a pleasant view of the city. As the largest church in Baguio, the cathedral is easily recognized for its dual spires and beautiful rose-colored paint. True to the hilly form of the City of Pines, visitors will have to climb a 100-step stone staircase to reach the church.

Address: Cathedral Loop, Baguio City

Baguio Museum

Blending Ifugao architecture and modern aesthetics, the Baguio Museum houses indigenous items such as earthenware, garments, musical instruments, ceramics, old photographs, and other historical items from various provinces in Cordillera.

Address: Dot-PTA Complex, Gov. Pack Rd., Baguio City

Igorot Stone Kingdom

This newly-constructed theme park’s source of inspiration, according to its owner, Pio Velasco, comes from an Igorot child’s fantasy of castles. The park showcases the Igorot’s impressive rock-laying skills, which are evidently seen in the snaking brick walls that lead visitors to a memorable stroll.

Address: Long Long Benguet Rd., Baguio City

Tam-awan Village

The Tam-Awan Village is a popular place to visit in Baguio. This is where visitors can experience a variety of cultures and craftsmanship, showcasing the artisanship and indigenous heritage of the Cordillera region. Additionally, tourists can get their portraits taken by local artists, enjoy a hearty meal, or witness traditional Cordilleran dances and other performances.

Address: 367 Long Long Benguet Rd., Baguio City

Major Festival

Panagbenga Festival | February

Travelers flock to Baguio City in February for another reason: to witness the Panagbenga Festival. This month-long event was first celebrated in the early 1990s in honor of the flower harvest season and to uplift the morale of the residents following the killer earthquake of 1990. Since then, Panagbenga has become one of the must-see festivals in the country. The term Panagbenga was coined from a word in the Kankanaey-one language which means “season of blooming.” The street festival highlights a colorful parade of floats decked with a variety of flowers picked from the farms of Benguet. This year (2022), however, Panagbenga will commence in March.

Things to do

Experience strawberry picking at La Trinidad Strawberry Farm

The highland farms of Benguet are known to grow an abundance of fruits, most notably strawberries. There are plenty of farms that allow visitors to enjoy a fruit picking experience, including the strawberry farm in La Trinidad, Benguet—a 30-minute drive from downtown Baguio. Here, visitors can enjoy picking the freshest strawberries while also trying out other strawberry-infused delicacies such as taho, ice cream, and jam.

Address: La Trinidad, Benguet

Experience some thrills at Baguio Tree Top Adventure

Do you love adventure and thrills? Then Baguio Tree Top Adventure is right up your alley as it features exciting outdoor activities such as zipline rides, fun hikes, and treetop climbs. Baguio Tree Top is known for its signature Canopy Ride, Silver Surfer, Superman Ride, and Tree Drop Adventure.

Address: Scout Hill Dr., Camp John Hay, Baguio City

Immerse in some wonderful art at BenCab Museum

Named after the gallery’s main artist and owner, Benedicto Cabrera, BenCab museum not only houses his works but also showcases several tribal artifacts and indigenous artworks created by both veteran and up-and-coming artists from the Cordillera region. Also on display are masterpieces created by other Filipino contemporary artists. Whether you’re interested in learning about art or finding Instagram-worthy spots, make sure to include this museum on your itinerary.

Address: Km. 6 Asin Rd., Tadiangan, Baguio City

Hike and experience forest bathing at the Yellow Trail

Located inside Camp John Hay, the Yellow Trail is an easy hike and will only take 2 hours to complete. The scenic path will lead you through a forest where you can bathe in the wonders of Baguio’s much-raved nature. Some travelers come here to participate in an actual “forest bathing” experience where they can freely commune with nature.

Address: Camp John Hay, Loakan Rd., Baguio City

Hunt for bargain finds at Baguio Night Market

Baguio Night Market is a haven of ukay-ukay stalls and thrift shops. Come nighttime, Baguio’s Night Market levels up the city’s shopping scene, appealing to both locals and tourists. Discover a variety of secondhand clothes, jewelry, souvenir trinkets, shoes, and any item that catches your fancy, all sold at bargain prices. The market is open from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m.

Address: Harrison Rd., Baguio City

Shop for Pasalubong at Good Shepherd Convent

When in Baguio, make sure you stop over at Good Shepherd. Here you can find all sorts of delicious goodies perfect for pasalubong. Known for their famous ube and strawberry jams, you can expect to see long lines of people wanting to buy them. Other delicious items you can take home include their signature homemade bread and peanut brittle.

Address: Gibraltar Rd., Baguio City

Enjoy a Zen moment at Mirador Jesuit Villa Retreat House Society of Jesus

Overlooking the mountains of Benguet, this retreat house situated on top of Mirador Hill dishes out a zen vibe that would surely calm your mind. If you don’t want to sign up for a silent retreat, you can walk around the vast grounds, from its Japanese-inspired bamboo gardens to its lavishly landscaped flower gardens. Also located within the property is a quaint cafe offering a spectacular view of the city.

Address: Mirador Hill, Baguio City

Where to eat

Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna

Although it is already common to see old houses being turned into restaurants in Baguio City, stepping inside Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna still summons a pleasant country vibe. While the many “Instagrammable corners” might appeal to the younger crowd, the food served here—raved as the closest one can get to eating in Greece—remains as the main reason why you must dine here. Pastitsio pasta, Souvlaki Pates, Pita Hummus, Athens Burger, and other elevated Greek complement their dessert and wine menus.

Address: 26 Outlook Dr. S, Baguio City

Craft 1945

A sister company of Baguio Craft Brewery, Craft 1945 is another gem to dine at in the City of Pines. Housed inside a two-story heritage house with an alfresco garden, Craft 1945 serves a memorable set of fine dishes such as Gambas Aligue, Tips Ala Pobre, Paella Negra and Marinera, Kalderatang Baka, and more. While waiting for your main course to be served, munch on a plateful of baby pandesal and pair your meal with a glass of beer from their selection of local craft beers.

Address: 9 Outlook Dr. S, Baguio City

Oh, My Gulay

As Baguio’s first vegetarian restaurant, Oh My Gulay has become a food institution that even carnivore-junky foodies include in their best of Baguio eats list. The creative and colorful dishes served by Oh My Gulay are enough to convince naysayers that becoming a vegetarian or a vegan-curious eater is a good thing after all. The vibe of OMG screams creativity because it also doubles as an art space for the emerging artists of the Cordillera region.

Address: 108 Session Rd., Baguio City

Hill Station

The Hill Station at Casa Vallejo in Baguio is a gastronomic tribute to the city’s beginnings, housed in a classic pre-World War II structure along Upper Session Road. Diners will be greeted by a small cafe selling pastries and cakes before being led to the rustic and dreamy large dining area. The Hill Station dishes up a fusion of local and Western cuisines and has a splendid ambiance with spectacular mountain views.

Address: Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Rd., Baguio City

Tsokolateria

The Tsokolateria, a small outdoor nook at the foot of the Igorot stairs, is a good place to load up for the day. Serving a menu heavy on the chocolate side—sourced locally from cocoa farms in Cotabato, Davao, and Baguio—Tsokolateria has successfully come up with both mouth-watering and exceptional combinations of dishes. Must-tries include the Tsokolateria Salad, Homemade Bacon Belly, Tablea Champorado with espada fish, Churros Bites, and of course, hot servings of either the Tsokolate ah (sweet) or Tsokolate eh (slightly bitter).

Address: Igorot Stairs, Upper Session Rd., Baguio City

Secret Garden

Want to carbo-load straightaway upon arriving in Baguio? If so, this no-longer-secret spot should be first on your dining list, thanks to rave reviews of its pizza and pasta. Don’t leave without ordering the mouth-watering, cheese-heavy Quatro Formaggi 8. The Vongole in Tomato Sauce leads their pasta roster, while rice meals such as the Beef Belly Roast are also worth a try.

Address: 34 Paterno St., Camp John Hay, Baguio City

Café by the Ruins

Built from the wreckage of the 1990 Baguio earthquake, it was feared by many that it would be reduced to ruins after a fire razed the establishment a couple of years ago. Cafe by the Ruins re-opened a few months later and is now continuing its culinary legacy in the city of pines. Retaining its signature facade, Cafe by the Ruins bids adieu to its old bamboo and cogon shingles and now possesses a modern vibe by infusing an industrial theme where ambient lighting seeps through the large glass ceilings and windows. It still serves old favorites like champorado with crispy espada fish, beef mami, cheese lumpia straws, classic pomodoro, duck confit, Lola Pilar’s sandwich, ginataang bilo-bilo, camote bread and more.

Check out its other branch at Upper Session Road called “Cafe by the Ruins DUA.”

Address: 25 Shuntung Rd., Baguio City

Ili-Likha Artist’s Village

Because we mortals also need to feed our souls, filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik—the mind behind Ili-Likha Artist Village—came up with a food park that also doubles as a continuous artistic canvas. With several kiosks serving a fusion of cuisines from all over the country, Ili-Likha dishes out an eccentric vibe composed of an eclectic mash-up of installation artworks. The interior is plastered with mosaic tiles, sculptured glass, paintings and sketches, handwoven fabrics, and other syntheses of artworks, such as the ones depicting the Philippine flag and Jose Rizal.

Address: 32 Assumption Rd., Baguio City

Café Yagam

Specializing in local Cordilleran cuisines such as pinuneg, binungor, pinikpikan, and Cordilleran Arabica coffee, Cafe Yagam also brims with a rustic and homey ambiance perfect for Baguio’s chilly weather. The interior, filled with wooden antique furniture and stacks of books over the fireplace, will leave you smitten.

Address: 25 J.Felipe St., Baguio City

Baguio Craft Brewery

This beer joint is often mentioned in various Where to Eat in Baguio City listicles. Due to the popularity of its craft beers, inspired by Ifugao mythology, Baguio Craft Brewery expanded its space to accommodate more beer drinkers in search of bold new flavors. If you are having difficulty choosing which beer suits your taste, you can order a platter consisting of six small glasses filled with different variants. You can also opt for the bottled version and keep it as a collection since the packaging is artistically designed.

Address: 4 Ben Palispis Hwy., KM 4, Baguio City

Canto

Canto used to be the most popular joint at the now-defunct Ketchup Community in Wright Park. Many people were saddened when a new commercial establishment replaced the whole food park. Luckily, Canto re-emerged in a new location along Kisad Road. Rebranded as “Canto Bogchi Joint,” it now has a modern interior and a bigger space for diners to enjoy their signature dish, “Lomo Ribs.” A plate of Lomo Ribs, grilled to perfection and served with creamy mashed potatoes, veggies, and barbecue sauce, will undoubtedly transport you to epicurean heaven.

Address: 25 Kisad Rd., Baguio City

Tsokolate de Batirol

Veiled by the tall pine trees of Camp John Hay and a short walk from the out-of-place mansion of fragrance entrepreneur Joel Cruz, this cozy nook is known for its cup of bittersweet hot chocolate. Tsokolate de Batirol practices the traditional manner of making its signature chocolate drink. Using a copper pot and a wooden beater called “batirol,” the chocolate is whisked until it reaches a thick texture. Be sure to pair your hot chocolate drink with some of their merienda treats like Suman sa Lihia and Bibingka.

Address: Igorot Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio City

Café Sabel at BenCab Museum

Have a sip of hot coffee or chocolate at Cafe Sabel while you stare at the surrounding forest and duck pond. This in-house coffee shop at BenCab Museum—owned by painter Benedicto Cabrera—was named after his favorite art muse, Sabel. Serving the freshest ingredients sourced from an organic farm, this is a great place to unwind after you experience a visual feast ogling at the many artworks displayed at BenCab Museum.

Address: Ground Level, BenCab Museum, Km. 6, Asin Rd., Baguio City

The Farmer's Daughter

This restaurant is known for its simple but tasty traditional Cordilleran cuisine. Must-tries include the Pinuneg (Ibaloi sausages sautéed to perfection) and the Etag (sun-dried smoked meat). Only a short walk from Tam-Awan Village, guests will not only enjoy a hearty meal here but also get a taste of the Cordilleran culinary culture.

Address: Tam-awan Village, Long Long Benguet Rd., Baguio City

Arca’s Yard

This rustic house turned restaurant oozes with charm in every corner, making it Instagrammable as any Gen Z would describe it. Arca’s Yard serves mouth-watering meals perfectly paired with a cozy ambiance. You’ll appreciate the mix of wooden interiors, antique furniture, art pieces, and historic decor scattered throughout this three-story establishment.

Address: 777 Tiptop, Ambuklao Rd., Baguio City

Foggy Mountain Cookhouse

This hilltop abode, turned into a charming nook for foodies, provides a lovely alfresco vibe. Set in a rustic house overlooking the misty city of Baguio, Foggy Mountain Cookhouse is owned by the jovial Chef Babes Reyes and requires guests to reserve a seat one day in advance. You can pre-order from a medley of cuisines that Chef Babes learned from his world travels. The menu is infused with delectable flavors such as Greek Peasant Lamb, Crispy Squid Fries, Grilled Chipotle Pork Chop, Brick-Oven Roasted Lamb Leg, and Salmon Pie.

Address: San Carlos Heights, Baguio City

Practical tips when traveling to Baguio

Money: Almost all establishments in Baguio City accept credit and debit cards as a form of payment. A growing number have started to accept Gcash as well. However, in smaller cafes, restaurants, and shops, cash remains the only accepted mode of payment. There are many ATMs and money changers located all over the city, especially in the downtown area and along Session Road.

Language: Baguio City residents are fluent in English, Filipino, and Ilocano, while others can also speak native dialects such as Ibaloi, Kapampangan, and Kankana-ey.

Clothing: Since Baguio City is colder than most places in the Philippines, be sure to pack your jacket or sweater in case the temperature becomes colder, especially at night.

Sample itinerary for 3D/2N at El Retiro

Day 1: Arrival and City Tour

02:00 p.m. – Arrival at El Retiro, check-in, and explore El Retiro’s beautiful surroundings

02:30 p.m. – City tour: The Mansion, Wright Park, Mines View Park, Baguio Botanical Garden, and Baguio Cathedral

05:00 p.m. – Sunset viewing at Mirador Hill

06:00 p.m. – Dinner at Canto

07:30 p.m. – Unwind at El Retiro

Day 2: Arts and Heritage Tour

08:00 a.m. – Breakfast at the Hill Station

09:00 a.m. – Strawberry picking at La Trinidad Strawberry Farm

10:00 a.m. – Visit the StoBosa Houses, Igorot Kingdom, and Tam-Awan Village

12:30 p.m. – Lunch at the Farmer’s Daughter

02:00 p.m. – Appreciate art at Ben Cab Museum

04:00 p.m. – Explore the grounds of the Old Diplomat Hotel

05:00 p.m. – Relax and freshen up at El Retiro

06:30 p.m. – Dinner at Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna

07:30 p.m. – Have a beer at Baguio Craft Brewery

09:00 p.m. – Bargain hunting at the Baguio Night Market

Day 3: Morning Hike, Souvenir Shopping and Departure

08:00 a.m. – Breakfast at Tsokolate de Batirol

09:00 a.m. – Take a hike at Yellow Trail at Camp John Hay

11:00 a.m. – Visit Burnham Park

12:00 p.m. – Check-out at El Retiro

12:30 p.m. – Lunch at Ili-Likha Artist’s Village

02:00 p.m. – Last-minute pasalubong shopping at Good Shepherd Convent

03:00 p.m. – Departure to Manila