Baguio City may be considered “highly urbanized” but this is one of the most natural cities on the island of Luzon. While the economy in Baguio City is booming, the urban developers have used a light hand when building, rebuilding, and planning the ubran layout.
You’ll find historic buildings beautifully preserved right next to new buildings that ease the transition into modernity. All of which are tucked within green parks and rolling hills. It’s a scenic and practical use of space that clearly honors its history, roots, environment, and culture.
Also known as “The City of Pines”, Baguio City is situated in the Luzon tropical pine forest’s eco-region, which is the perfect climate to encourage the growth of moss, plants, and flowers that are indigenous to tropical climates. Meanwhile, the city sits at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level so the climate isn’t too unbearably hot.
In Baguio City, visitors can expect to encounter sites that pay tribute to the past along side delightfully progressive attractions. Come and see for yourself.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Baguio City:
1. Bridal Veil Falls
While you can’t access the falls like the olden days, visiting Bridal Veil Falls just for the view is absolutely worth it.
Hire a private driver to take you on the scenic journey along Kennon Road where you’ll come to a lookout that shows the veins of the river leading up to the waterfall. This makes for fabulous photos and a peaceful mini-retreat.
There is also a hanging bridge nearby that only the bravest of the brave manage to cross as it looks rather flimsy but has actually proven to be quite secure.
2. Lion’s Head
It’s a great idea to pair this attraction with the Bridal Veil Falls, as they are both located along Kennon Road.
This 40-foot tall Lion’s head was a team effort by a variety of representatives in Baguio City. The idea to carve a giant lion’s head into the mountain was thought up by members of the Lion’s Club circa 1960-1970. These members then contracted a group of engineers and miners to stabilize and prep the limestone mountain where the monument was to be carved. Finally, a Filipino woodcarver by the name of Anselmo Bayang Day-ag brought this idea to life.
In person, the size of this undertaking is quite spectacular and makes a nice addition to a fun day of sightseeing.
3. Mt. Pulag National Park
At 2,926 meters above sea level, Mt. Pulag stands as Luzon’s highest peak! But that isn’t its only impressive feature: above Mt. Pulag, visitors can catch glimpses of the Milky Way Galaxy at dawn. Not only that, but it is also famous for a gathering of clouds around its peaks which has been dubbed “the sea of clouds”. All of this paired with its incredible natural scenery has make Mt. Pulag National Park an international destination for nature lovers, hikers, and galaxy geeks alike.
There are four trails up the mountain, some of which require a permit from the DENR. Plan a quick stop by their office a few days a head of your hike.
4. Baguio City Market
Need your shoes repaired? Want to buy some fresh produce? In the market for a handmade broom? Care to try Purple Yam Jam?
All of that and more can be done at Baguio City Market.
Of course, “the more” is referring to eating. This market is the epicenter of fresh local fare from the region. Sit down at one of the many stalls to try locally caught fish, freshly picked strawberries, and a wide variety of the Philippine staple, Longanisa which is seasoned sausage. There are even vegan versions of Longanisa available!
5. Emilio F. Aguinald Museum
Many remember Emilio F. Aguinald as the youngest president of the Philippines and the monumental leader who guided the Philippines into the constitutional republic of Asia.
Emilio F. Aguinald led his country during the Philippine Revolution against the Spaniards, again in the Spanish-American war, and once more during the Philippine-American War.
You can learn more about this revolutionary leader and see some personal artifacts belonging to the late president at the Emilio F. Aguinald Museum in Baguio City. Museum hours are Wednesday – Sunday from 10am to noon and then again from 1pm to 4pm.
6. Asin Hot Springs
Take a dip in hot springs and cold spring pools situated in the rolling emerald mountains of Baguio City. Up high where the air is fresh and the scenery is stunning, you can spend your day in pure relaxation. And when you’re feeling energized, that is a big water slide that spits you out into a cool pool.
There is a restaurant on site that offers yummy Filipino dishes for a great price with a beautiful ambiance.
Pro Tip: Don’t come on the weekends unless you want to be bumping into others during your dip.
7. Baguio Craft Brewery
Step outside of the realm of Red Horse beer and into the gourmet world of craft beer.
It’s not every day that you find a craft brewery in Asia, so when you do- you’ve got to try it out immediately.
Baguio Craft Brewery is Baguio’s first brewery and is doing impressive things with 16 rotating craft beers on tap! If you want to try a homerun, their signature beer called Lagud is a strawberry craft beer that will knock your socks off.
Like champions, Baguio Craft Brewery has the ultimate menu of beer-friendly appetizers including Buffalo wings, fish tacos, and Moroccan spicy shrimp. It doesn’t get any better than this!
8. Botanical Garden
It’s no surprise that the City of Pines has an outstanding Botanical Garden.
This garden is much more than flowers and fauna, however. It is said to be a spiritual center where the spirits of the native Igorot people dwell. You’ll see native hut replicas of the local Igorot people paying tribute to their cultural legacy all around.
These huts, of course, are surrounded by bright flowers and luscious plants that encourage the development of a diverse wildlife including beautiful butterflies and a range of bird species. So, keep an eye out.
9. Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral
What once served as an evacuation center during the Japanese occupation throughout World War II, now serves as the most popular tourist destination in Baguio City.
This Roman Catholic Church stands as the pride and joy of Baguio City as it is absolutely stunning with unique features that you won’t find on other churches in the country.
You’ll notice the light pink rose towers with stained glass windows that sparkle in the sunlight. Topped with rusty red tile roofs, you can see this cathedral from all areas of the city- but it is certainly most beautiful up close.
10. Baguio Athletic Bowl
Wander on over to the Baguio Athletic Bowl and see what sporting event is on. The field, track, and stadium serve as Baguio’s central hub for all things athletic including soccer games, track and field events, and festival celebrations.
Built in 1945, the athletic bowl certainly needed a makeover to improve its dilapidating conditions. From 2014 to 2016, it underwent a full transformation and is now a sparkling piece of art.
Stop by on the weekends for the best chance to become a local spectator.
11. Tam-Awan Village
Nestled into the hilly mountains of Baguio is an unsuspecting art village. At a glance, you only notice traditional huts with grass roofs scattered on different levels of elevation throughout the forest. But once entering, you’ll discover that each hut is actually a contemporary art gallery. You get nature and art in one place.
The grounds are lovely to explore. You’ll find a Koi Pond, forest trails, and exquisite views of the town from Tam-Awan Village. There is a guide on site who can tell you more about the huts and the art pieces they house.
12. Ifugao Woodcarvers’ Village
Traditional crafts and skills like weaving and woodcarving have been preserved at the Ifugao Woodcarvers’ Village.
Here, locals carry on long standing traditions and talents with roots that span back decades. Buy some souvenirs and at the same time, you’ll be supporting a dying industry and fading art form. You can find small trinkets such as woven baskets and staple pieces like checker-printed coffee tables.
You’ll also be pleased to learn that the price tags on these items are a fraction of the price you would pay for similar items in nearby Manilla.
13. Cemetery of Negativism
Everyone can get on board with the concept of burying negative energy and unproductive thoughts. That is exactly what is happening at the Cemetery of Negativism in Baguio.
To set the scene, the first headstone that you’ll read says, “Negativism is man’s greatest self imposed infliction, his most limiting factor, his heaviest burden.” So, what else is there to do with all of this burdening negativity? Put it in the ground so that it can never escape.
Have a wander around the gravestones of negative thoughts, each monument accompanied by a childlike animal cartoon. Some thoughts are funny and some hit too close to home. There’s nothing like it.
14. Burnham Park
Most popular for its giant swan boats that your can take out on the lake and paddle around, Burnham Park is a great place to spend a leisurely day with your family or sweetheart.
There are rose-bush lined jogging trails, cozy park benches overlooking the water, food stalls selling traditional Filipino dishes, hawkers selling souvenirs and knickknacks that you certainly don’t need but are fun to look at.
Come and enjoy the acres upon acres of shady pine forests and manmade lake that tourists and locals can’t get enough of.
15. Ketchup Food Community
With a name like that, how can you not be curious? Just to clarify what you may be thinking, they actually do serve much more than ketchup and ketchup-friendly foods at this Baguio restaurant. In fact, many of the dishes here are straight-up gourmet.
This Asian Fusion gem of a restaurant cooks up sensational dishes like Kiniing Chicken that has been smoked, seasoned, and plated in a rich ginger broth. There are Instagram-worthy desserts and fresh drinks that will bring pure nostalgia to your tongue.