Baguio City has always been a charming tourist destination ever since I remember. Having been able to finish my college years in Baguio, I never really got tired of its endearing people, sites and really just the total feel of it. I even once told myself, this is where I would retire and settle.
Over the last 2 years, tourism in Baguio have grown more than ever. This is because of the construction of the TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan-LaUnion Expressway), which made the travel from Baguio cut in almost half. Coming from Pampanga, it’s now only about 3 hours from 5-6 hours; and 4 hours from 6-8 hours if coming from Manila. But tourism has its positive and negative impacts, and one of the negative ones is the congestion in the city. Tourist influx is causing traffic everywhere especially in the tourist attractions such as Burnham Park, Mines View Park, etc. And when I go to Baguio, I hate being around a lot of tourists, so I stay away in the areas where they are. Below is my new checklist of must-see-charms in Baguio:
1.Cafe by the Ruins – this restaurant has been an identity for Baguio. It has been there long before I knew Baguio. What I love about this is the ambiance and feel it gives you. Though, it’s at the center of the city, it still gives you that Baguio feel because of its ambiance. Though, I must say, a lot of restaurants in and outside Baguio have adapted this kind of concept. The food is presented beautifully but expect a little bland food since that’s how authentic Baguio food really tastes like, said a local. The price is a bit expensive too, so not for the budget traveler. Here are the photos:
2.Amare La Cucina – This restaurant is found inside a hotel complex – Albergo Hotel. Food here is really good and of good value too. One pizza is good for 3-4 persons, while Pasta is good for 1-2 persons. The area is a bit small since people have already noticed it, there’s a little bit of queuing going on. What’s special about the pizzas is that they are brick-oven-baked, which gives the crush a more homey flavor. What is very memorable for me is their carbonara, with super crispy bacon on top. But what I love most about this restaurant is that they allow kids to experience making the pizza you ordered, well, more like putting the toppings on. Still cool, right? The staff are super friendly too!
3. 50’s Diner – I must say, this is one must-go to in Baguio. Food is tasty and yet super affordable! The restaurant is an American Diner concept, so expect good American usuals, like burgers, fried chicken and milk shakes. Believe me, it’s really affordable!
4.Night Market – This one is happening every night at Harrison Road, starts at 9pm up to 1am. It’s a heaven for thrift shoppers like me. I was able to buy clothes for P10 each and a pair of leather work shoes for P100. But beware, there’s a really a big crowd. So it’s best to go here on a weekday. There’s also a portion for street food enthusiasts, must try here is the binatog, my all-time favorite delicacy from Baguio. It’s made out of steamed corn kernels with coconut, sugar and evaporated milk, best served hot.
5.Craft Brewery – This new bar in Baguio is really a must. They make their own beer and it has several flavors. I used to go here at night and always packed with people, this time we went there exactly during opening (5pm), and voila, only few people were with us. We were able to enjoy the rooftop all by ourselves. It has really good view of the city. The beer is really good, what is good about it is that if you are clueless on what to order, you can ask the bartenders for a free taste of your prospective beer flavors. 1 Beer usually cost P170 – P300. When we went there, they had this promo of 2 Kabunyan beer and 1 fish and chips is P520 only, saves P100. They have really nice and accommodating staff, more than willing to take your mandatory touristic photos.
6.Arca’s Yard – This cozy home cafe is located in Ambuklao Road. A house with a spectacular view of the mountains and the sky, it is a home of an artist. Art works are every where. If you want to have a peace and quiet day, this is a place to go. They serve coffee, cakes and full meals too. All sides and parts of this cozy house is picture perfect.
7.BenCab Musuem – A museum with a cafe by the national artist for visual arts, Benedicto Cabrera. The museum exhibits a lot of his personal works. He has a lot of sensual artworks so I must say you have to be ready to explain if you have kids with you. Entrance fee is P100. The famous tuyo pasta is a must try when you dine in their Cafe Sabel. The backyard has a majestic view of the mountains and landscaped garden with edible plants.
8. Green Valley Hotel and Resort– it has an indoor pool, bowling alley and basketball courts. In this complex you will find a lot of accommodation options. Free entrance and a good spot for picture taking. 🙂9. Ketchup Community – junction of different restaurants. This has now become really a rave especially its location is right beside the Wright Park. We tried the Happy Tummy, a Thai restaurant. You can also order food from the other restaurants in the area and have it served to wherever you were eating. Happy Tummy has good value for its food. We also ordered the famous ribs from Canto. It’s so good that people are really lining up just to order. Unfortunately, we were unable to take a picture of the entire area since we were really hungry then. But here is the food from Happy Tummy.
Baguio has now been a very crowded city, and yet its charm still remains. It will always be one of my favorite cities here in the Philippines. My tip for you to enjoy it, despite the crowd is to go places not so known to tourists and if schedule permits, do not go on a weekend. Continue to explore the other charms of Baguio aside from its usual tourist attractions and you’ll find yourself loving Baguio even more. #chimes