Baguio City on a Tight Budget: Where to Go
Well this is a really long overdue post but hey, since I'm receiving messages regarding my trip to Baguio City this summer, I've decided to do a compilation of places you should visit. After a 3-day trip to the summer capital, I went straight back home in Manila to just literally wash my clothes. Because after a couple of days, I went back to Baguio for another 5-day stay, this time with my best friends. This is our first out-of-town trip and we're pretty excited. We are all first-timers (well not me technically and since I had an idea already, I became an instant tour guide haha!) and being students at the time being, our budget is really tight. Php 2,000-3,000 max. And remember this is a 5-day visit! But hey, we survived! We even managed to do a side trip to La Union where we tried surfing (more on that on my next posts so do watch out for it). Anyways, let's the start the trip.
The road to Baguio city is tough. And by tough I mean you have to wait for hours. The best way to go to Baguio is by riding a bus (Victory, Genesis, Dagupan). You have two options: deluxe (which is around 4-6 hours travel time, free biscuits and a bottle of water, La-Z Boy recliner chair, comfort room. Costs Php 700) or the regular air-conditioned bus (7-8 hours travel time, has stop overs. Costs Php 445. Php 356/student discount).
If you have some time to spare, I'd say go for the regular. It's almost half the fare. Plus, if you're a student, go take advantage of the discount by showing your ID. A little note though: try to book earlier or go earlier to the station. We went there around 3pm and it was already around 7pm when we got on board.
We arrived by around 12mn. Travel time is faster during at night. We have a friend who's staying in Baguio so we already have a contact. Original plan was for her to help us find a transient place. Unfortunately we couldn't contact her since it was already late. So we had no option but to find a hotel. But due to some great circumstances, everything is fully booked. It was PMA's graduation so we couldn't find a place to stay. Good thing we have a tent with us so we had no choice but to camp at Burnham Park. Yes, it's okay to camp there. To make things more interesting, it was 17°C due to an incoming storm.
Where To Stay
Our first night was very memorable. Imagine camping out in the middle of a busy place. It was such an experience. Plus it was freaking cold. Upon waking up, the first thing we did was contact our friend and find a place to stay. If you're on really tight budget, the best place is Teacher's Camp. It's the cheapest in the area. After showing off of charms, we managed to get a room for 4 for only Php 125/head per night. The only downside is that aside from the creepy ambiance (it's known as a haunted area), there's no available hot water for shower. But if you can endure the extreme cold and scary stories, it's the best choice.
If you want to pamper yourself and have a perfect place to stay complete with all the amenities, I would suggest Azalea Residences Baguio (read my experience here).
Where To Go
Now it's time for a breakdown of places you should visit and check out. This is listed in a random order since I've combined my 2 trips. Also, I didn't include the places where you should eat. I'll be posting that on a separate posts since they're quite a handful (I'd like to think that the only reason we went there was to eat. LOL!)
This should be first on your list. Why? It's because it's the center of Baguio City. At Burnham Park, you could enjoy the boat ride at the lagoon. Best time would be morning since the mist is visible which adds drama to the experience. From there, you can easily access SM Baguio, Session Road and Baguio Cathedral. I would suggest to put Session Road at the very end of your itinerary since it has the market where you can shop for pasalubong.
Harrison Road along Burnham Park is known for its night market. Check my full feature here.
If you're into jogging, go for Teacher's Camp. They have a lap there plus a garden full of sunflowers. And if you're into history and architecture, it's a great visit. Just beside it is the famed haunted house, the Laperal White House.
Next on the list would have to be Wright Park. Just like Burnham Park, it's also a central area. Around it includes The Mansion, Ketchup Community (a food district) and Botanical Garden.
You shouldn't miss these horses (especially the pink one).
Across Wright Park is The Mansion (in the background)
Mines View Park
A popular destination, Mines View Park gives you a great view of Baguio City. On our visit though, it was foggy and rainy so we didn't stay long. Beside it is the Good Shepherd, a popular shopping place where you can buy food items such as their famed Ube Jam, Snowballs and Alfajor.
Ben Cab Museum
This is one of my fave place. Being an art guy, I really appreciate the works presented in the museum. Plus, it gives a great view of Baguio City too which was pretty unexpected.
It also features a cafe with a majestic view of Benguet.
Also known as Garden in the Sky, Tam-Awan Village is a literally an indigenous village. After some flight of stairs, you'll be presented with an awesome view. Wasn't able to go inside though since I was dead tired and I just wanted to rest outside. Beside is another art gallery, Arko Ni Apo which has no entrance fee. Cameras are not allowed though and on the other side is The Farmer's Daughter Restaurant.
Tree Top Adventure
If you're in for some adventure, visit Tree Top. They have many options to choose from. I went for the superman ride. Twice.
La Trinidad Strawberry Farm / Rose Garden
The perfect place for strawberry picking! Check my full feature here.
We weren't able to go these places since it rained almost the entire time we were in Baguio but it's on our list:
Camp John Hay
How to Maximize your Budget
Fare is very cheap. It only cost Php 45-100 per trip. I would suggest you go the central areas then walk from there. Compared to Manila, walking in Baguio is fun even if it's sunny outside. You don't have to worry about it too much. Food is VERY cheap as well. Php 150 would go a very long way. As for the accommodation, since we stayed at Teacher's camp, we only spent roughly Php 600 for 5 days.
This is my suggested itinerary for your next trip. Take note that I just grouped the places according to their distance so travel time and fare would be maximized. You can actually visit all of them in just 2 days.
Drop off point: Burnham Park
Laperal White House
Night Market (around 8pm-12mn)
Drop off point: Wright Park
Drop off point: Mines View Park
Drop off point: Camp John Hay
(this has no drop off point as you have to go to each place directly via taxi/car)
Ben Cab Museum
La Trinidad Strawberry Farm
That's it. Thank you reading guys. And thanks to my best friends for having such an awesome trip. If you have any suggested itineraries or other places to visit, comment them in!
READ MORE: WHERE TO EAT
- Justin -