Baguio is one of our favorite destinations as a couple. We have frequented the city for the past couple of years, and each time is a different experience altogether.
We first went to Baguio as a couple during Christmas 2008. It was extra cold – more reasons for cuddling. (Yihee… Sobrang cheezy…) The plan was to stay at his aunt’s house in Quezon hill but we never really stick to ANY plan. That’s just how we roll… I persuaded him to stay at Corfu Village Inn, along Leonard Wood Road, instead because the place was 10-15 minutes away from Session Road and some of the parks on foot.
Rooms at Corfu are decent at Php800 per night. Hot shower, comfy bed (with surot from the 70′s), and cable TV sometimes without a remote control (inuuwi ‘ata ng ibang bisita, hehehe). What we like about the place is sits right below 50′s Diner! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is just a flight of stairs away. Buhay baboy lang.
We also have tried Microtel Inn & Suites right beside Victory Liner bus station on one of our visits. Off-peak, which is from June to August, the rooms cost Php2,100 per night but regular rates are Php3,500 to Php4,200 per night. It’s quite expensive but people who love big fluffy pillows and an oversized bed, like me, would definitely enjoy the place. And did I mention that the package includes a breakfast buffet? We stuffed ourselves silly with tocino, longganisa, danggit, scrambled eggs, sunny side-up eggs, and rices (yes, with an S).
If we had the money, we also would like to try and stay at:
1. PNKY Bed and Breakfast – It’s along Leonard Wood Road, 5-minutes away from Corfu Village Inn and 50′s Diner. It’s a cozy place ideal for couples. They also have a cafe for those who just want to lounge around and sip a cup of coffee. Package rates range from Php3,400 to Php 5,200 per day.
2. The Manor at Camp John Hay - If you want to experience the high life, this place is for you. Package rates range from Php5,200 to Php12,300 per night.
We don’t recommend staying at transient houses if you’re like us who would like to go in and out of our room at our own accord without ringing any doorbells or knocking on doors. We also want the freedom to stay outdoors till midnight without having to worry about waking anybody up at an unholy hour just to get to our room. Plus, most transient rooms don’t have cable TV or hot showers, and the going rate is Php500, which is quite steep if you ask me. Mag-Corfu ka na lang. Hehe.
Every time Bants and I visit Baguio, we gain at least a pound or two. There are lots of food to sample and restaurants to eat at. Here are a few that we recommend:
1. Jack’s Kitchenette and Restaurant – One of our favorite eateries, especially when we don’t have enough money in our pockets. Their specialty is Jack’s rice: a combination of quarter fried chicken, two slices of pork liempo, chopsuey (na magawgaw), and sunny side-up egg on a cup of rice. All this for only Php75. Di ba sulit? You can find its branches at Session Road and Baguio Market. Price range: Php50-100 per person
2. Vocas Cafe and Oh My Gulay Restaurant – This otherworldly cafe is owned by renowned filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik. The interiors are an eclectic match of materials and found objects. It serves both as an art gallery and a restaurant. After hours, Kidlat, his kids, and other Baguio-based artists congregate in this space to jam and to exchange ideas. The food served is strictly vegetarian. We especially love their pasta Puttanesca. You can find Vocas at the top floor of La Azotea along Session Road. Price range: Php75-200 per person
3. Bliss Cafe – Serves vegetarian and vegan food. Owned by our Buddhist friends, Jim and Shanti. The place boasts of good vegetarian food that doesn’t taste like rabbit food. Interiors display authentic Buddhist antiques from Tibet. You can find Bliss at the ground floor of Hotel Elizabeth in Gibraltar Road. Accessible by jeep. Price range: Php100-350 per person
4. Forest House – Cited by Philippine Tatler as one of the best restaurants in the Philippines, it serves good comfort food at reasonable prices. Bants and I are particularly fond of Jackero, which is grilled porkchop slathered with chili and beans served with a side of potato wedges and buttered vegetables. Hmmm… Thinking about it makes me hungry. You can find Forest House at Loakan Road. Accessible by jeep. Price range: Php150-650 per person
5. Slaughterhouse – Slaughterhouse is actually a group of small eateries beside the, er, slaughterhouse. Hehehe. Most of the meat products sold at the Baguio Market are from this place. Their specialty is pinapaitan, igado, bulalo, and menudo. If you’re a meat lover, this place is for you. Accessible by jeep. Price range: Php40-70 per person
7. Good Kitchen – Good Chinese food. Their buttered chicken is a must-try. You can visit Good Kitchen at Dangwa, near the bus station going to Sagada. Price range: Php70-200 per person
8. Pizza Volante – Frequented by bagets or young people. Try their Pizza Margherita and fresh green salad with blue cheese dressing. Price range: Php100-350 per person
9. Carinderia sa Gov. Pack Bus Station – Lutong bahay at its best. Besides Jack’s Kitchenette and Restaurant, we frequent this place when we have little money left in our pockets. They serve good food that’s super cheap. Their specialty is dinakdakan, an Ilocano variety of sisig. It’s a minute away from Session Road on foot. Price range: Php35-60 per person
10. Street Food sa Night Market – Fish balls, squid balls, chicken balls, kikiam, chicken skin, fried isaw, balut, toknene, kwek-kwek, proben. Need I say more? :D Find these favorite street fare at the Night Market along Harrison Road. Price range: Php0.50-10 per person
11. Burgers with leafy greens at the Wet Market – Who could resist fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on their burger? And this is only for Php18.00! You can find burger stalls along the road at the side of the Baguio wet market. Note: bawal ang maarte kasi madumi ang lugar. Hehehe. Price range: Php18-180 per person (depending on how many burgers you can eat, Jughead eh no)
12. Rito’s Bulalo – Probably the best bulalo I’ve ever eaten. Taob ang bulalo ni Rose and Grace dito. Magse-sebo ang ngala-ngala mo sa sarap! Pramis! The restaurant used to be behind LTO but they’ve moved to a place along Marcos Highway. Accessible by jeep. Price range: Php70-200 per person
13. 50′s Diner – A visit to Baguio is never complete without going to 50′s Diner! Sip milkshakes on their counter and munch on larger than life clubhouse sandwiches. Super delicious and super affordable! You can find 50′s Diner along Leonard Wood Road right beside Red Lion Pub. Accessible by jeep. Price range: Php70-150 per person
14. Cafe by the Ruins – An institution in Baguio, this is where the Pinikpikan band, later Kalayo, was founded. They serve good food but is quite expensive, for us, cheapskates, at least. Our good friend Carol, treated us to lunch here on my birthday this year. Thanks Ate Carol! Accessible by jeep. Price range: Php150-400 per person
If you want to drink a bottle of beer and have a barrel of laughs, there’s a bar a floor below Vocas Cafe in La Azotea Building along Session Road. We chanced upon this place during our visit on July 2009. A couple of big gay men, baklang maton as I usually call them, lured us into this bar as we were heading up Vocas. We weren’t disappointed. :D They serve sizzling sisig and local beers at Php35.
Besides pine trees, Good Shepherd ube jam, and the 1990 earthquake, Baguio is also famous for its Ukay-Ukay stores. Bants and I frequent Bayanihan at the back of Burnham Park, the one along Session Road, and Hilltop near the wet market. Ukay goods at Hilltop are sold at dirt cheap prices. Halos mga basahan na kasi tsaka mga paborito ng may-ari. Hehehe. But if you’re lucky like my friend, Sassy, you’ll find good buys like the vintage Adidas jacket she bought for Php10.
We recommend that you do your shopping at the Night Market, which runs along Session Road and Harrison Road. Unlike other items at regular Ukay stores that are a bit overpriced, goods sold at the Night Market are cheap. I was able to buy a denim jacket for Php150, which normally sells at Php250 in regular Ukay shops.
If you’re tired of the usual Baguio tourist spots you can visit the Asin hot springs of Tuba, Benguet. You can catch a jeep going to Tuba at Baguio Market. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Asin hot springs.
It’s a 20-30minute drive from Baguio to the hot springs. There is an entrance fee of Php100, swim-all-you-can. Jeepneys that’ll take you back to Baguio are available only until 4pm. Make sure that you have boarded a jeep before that time.
You can also try walking from Leonard Wood Road to Mines View Park. It’s a long walk but a very enjoyable one. Have a rest stop at the Baguio Mansion or Malacanang of the North and sample some Strawberry Taho. Pramis, ang sarap!!!
Other places worth visiting in Baguio:
1. Tam-awan Village - A small village of authentic Ifugao huts that house art made by Baguio-based artists. Help revive the place by paying a visit. Located at Quezon Hill, accessible by jeep.
2. Cafe Sta. Isabel – Art gallery and cafe owned by renowned artist, BenCab. Located along the highway going to Asin Hot Springs, accessible by jeep.
3. Ayuyang – If you want to sip beer while listening to reggae music, this place is for you. Located at Governor Pack Road, accessible by jeep.
4. Nevada Square – Kung udz-udz ang trip mo, eto’ng bagay sa’yo! Located at Loakan Road, near Forest House, accessible by jeep.
05:00PM – ETD Victory Liner Bus Station, Cubao
11:00PM – ETA Victory Liner Bus Station, Baguio
11:15PM – Check-in at Corfu Village Inn
09:00AM – Breakfast at 50′s Diner or Carinderia sa bus station. Buy lunch for picnic at Asin hot springs.
10:00AM – ETD Baguio Market. Catch a jeep going to Tuba, ask around the market area where you can get a jeep going to Asin hot springs, Tuba, Benguet. Ask driver to drop you off at hot springs.
10:45AM – ETA Asin hot springs. Spend the rest of the day swimming.
12:00NN – Lunch. You can either eat the food you brought or buy food at the resort resto.
01:00PM – More swimming!
02:00PM – Wash up. Prepare to head back to Baguio.
03:00PM – ETD at Asin hot springs
03:45PM – ETA Baguio. Back to Corfu Inn to freshen-up
04:00PM – Rest or walkabout Session Road
06:00PM – Dinner at Oh My Gulay, Pizza Volante or Forest House
08:00PM – Night market shopping!
12:00AM – Dessert at Vizco’s. They serve the best cakes in Baguio, besides Forest House of course
09:00AM – Breakfast at 50′s Diner or Jack’s Kitchenette
10:00AM – Walkathon from Leonard Wood or Session Road to Mine’s View Park. Pass by Teacher’s Camp, Botanical Gardens, Wright Park, and Baguio Mansion. After photo-ops at Mine’s View, visit Good Shepherd convent for some angel cookies, chocolate crinkles, and pandan iced tea.
12:00NN – Lunch at Rito’s or Slaughterhouse
01:00PM – Pasalubong shopping at Baguio Market or Maharlika
03:00PM – Back at Corfu to pack-up and freshen-up
04:00PM – ETD Baguio. You can either board a bus at Victory or other buses at Governor Pack Road, which are much cheaper
10:30PM – ETA Manila
Php2,000 to Php3,500 per person
- Apply sunblock
- Bring jacket, sweater, or poncho
- Bring your camera
- Have coins or change ready if you’ll be commuting or buying stuff from the market
- Beware of pickpockets! Especially along Session Road