Baguio City: Exploring the City of Pines in One Day, DIY Style

The Story

Baguio City is included in our destinations this year as a sidetrip from Sagada. However, we decided not to visit yet Sagada for this time and opt for Vigan. The two places are a bit apart from each other, but still makes sense. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone!

This post is the fourth part of the Vigan, Ilocos Sur DIY Trip + Baguio City Side Trip Series. Go back to the main article to view the details and the followed itinerary.

If you are also interested in Vigan, you can check the first three parts of the series below.

3 Days & 2 Nights in Vigan and Baguio City:
Going North: A DIY Trip to Historic Town of Vigan and Baguio City in 3 Days

Vigan City, Ilocos Sur:
A Mesmerizing Half Day Tour around Calle Crisologo & Bantay
Get Artistic in National Museum, Cafe Leona and Calle Crisologo at Night
Enjoying Baluarte, Loomweaving, Bagnet Factory and Hidden Garden

Budget Guide and Travel Tips:
Vigan – Baguio DIY Budget Guide and Travel Tips

Touch Down Baguio!

We arrived in Baguio City at around 7:00pm in the evening coming from Vigan City, enduring a cutting trip in La Union. There are buses that go directly from Vigan to Baguio but we are unable to catch one.

Raz is a bit anxious on how our Baguio trip will go since we are unable to book an accommodation ahead of time. This is due to lack of time as we got really busy at work a few days prior to our trip. Hence, we are here in the middle of the streets, with no idea in which direction to go at first. The weather is so cold and it seems like rain will pour anytime. We tried our luck in Hotel45 since it is the nearest hotel from the bus drop-off. We aren’t very lucky this time since the hotel is fully booked. And guess what? The licensure examination for nurses is on-going during the time of our visit! Oh well, Isn’t this fact made the situation a lot worse?  Gladly, someone from the tourist assistance desk helped to find a hotel for us to spend the night.

Baguio Night Market

We successfully checked-in to a hotel that is inside the city center  (Thank you for the tourist assistance!). The night market is just a few blocks away! Isn’t that a good pick for location? Having a 2-hour rest time and dinner (ate our packed food from Vigan), we get out of the hotel and started to walk around going to Harrison Road. This road closes at night to make room for numerous vendors selling variety of goods and merchandises starting at 9 in the evening.

Baguio City Night Market at Harrison Road

If you are the kind of person that enjoys finding the cheapest price for a new shirt, dress, or a pair of shoes, name it, you will definitely enjoy looking for not one but many here! Just prepare your “good” haggling skills! Do not bring your expensive devices with you and bring only enough cash if you plan to shop, just to be safe. The area will be very crowded and you might not know if you turned out unfortunate from pickpockets. For us, having a taste of street food while walking through the stalls here in Harrison road is good enough. We got back to our hotel after a hour.

Baguio Cathedral

A rainy Saturday morning at Baguio Cathedral

We took our bundled breakfast at the hotel, went out for a walk going to the cathedral. It is windy  outside with mild rain. But this trip won’t be stopped by this wind! All we think here is just maximize the time we had as possible, instead of just staying inside the hotel having a “bed” weather.

Inside Baguio Cathedral

The morning mass is about to start when we got there. So, we attended it and also pray that the weather will go fine this day. The mass ended, we get back to the hotel to bring some things and to add clothing (It is really cold!). A plus staying in a hotel inside the city center is that several spots is walking distance. Hence, also the transport terminals going to other distant destinations.

Mines View Park

Mines View Park is one of the top spots you can visit in Baguio. It offers a nice view of the city from it’s viewing deck. But, if you look at the picture below, you can no longer  get a nice shot from the front signage of the park. There are so many “photobomber” shops behind you. Anyway, let’s just take this picture.

Baguio City Mines View Park
Mines View Park Viewing Deck

Although the rain stopped, the wind is still getting colder and our 3-layered clothes aren’t enough to cope up with the temperature. And yes, we just remembered, we are in Baguio and this is really the climate here.

Strawberry Taho

Buy the strawberry taho for P20 and taste its goodness! Sorry, we are not able to consume it all since it turned out to be cold as ice after a few minutes roaming around!

Plants for sale in Mines View Park

If you are into plants, there are several vendors here in Mines View Park. We did not get any. Are they going to live in a hot climate like in Pampanga or Tarlac?

Saint Bernard dog in Mines View Park

Your visit in Mines View Park will not be complete without striking a pose with this very cute but large dog in purple shades. Ohh! He’s so heavy! Each photo cost P50 I guess. We had several photos with the dog and the price we paid is discounted (about P200). Haha.

Igorot Costume

Also try to wear the traditional Igorot costume. Rent a set for P20 pesos and enjoy unlimited photo op. Yes, we are looking funny with this clothing. Are we wearing it right?

Good Shepherd Convent

Good Shepherd Convent

Good Shepherd is known for its in-house tasty pasalubongs you can buy for your loved ones and friends. The prices are a bit steep from the regular pasalubong you can buy outside, but it is worth it. Buy the Ube Jam and Lengua de Gato here! Also, for every item you buy, you are helping the convent itself with its missions.

Wright Park

Baguio City Wright Park

Wright Park is known as the place in Baguio where you can try to ride a horse. The park houses many horses and you can find some weirdly colored horses in pink. We believe that the horses’ hair were dyed with this color to make them appeal to children (and adults, too).

Several stairs can be found in Wright Park.

Wright Park is huge than we earlier thought. You can spend hours here, relaxing and walking around. The park also houses a rectangular body of water known as the Pool of Pines. It directly points to the next spot here in Baguio, The Mansion.

The Mansion

The Mansion at a Distance

The Mansion is the version of the Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the president of the Philippines. The difference here is that The Mansion serves like a rest house of the present during summer.  It makes sense since Baguio is the summer capital of the country. Having said that, it is off limits to enter the building. But, you can do your photo rituals in front of it.

We will have our own mansion too in the future!

We bought some bonnets and scarf in the nearby store here, even though the temperature is already getting better (for us). However, the rain started to pour badly and we’re caught waiting for a jeepney in the street going back to downtown. Gladly, we had our umbrella with us.

Burnham Park

Among all the destinations you can find in Baguio, Burnham Park is the most common and most accessible among them all. The park is named after  Daniel Hudson Burnham, an American architect and urban planner who laid out the plans for the whole city.  Burnham Park is divided into 12 smaller park facilities, including the Burnham Lake, Children Playground and Melvin Jones Grandstand to name a few.

Baguio Feels.

Short Trivia: Did you know that the original plan for Baguio City is to support only 25,000 to 30,000 people living in the place? Now, the population is already at around 350,000. That explains the terrible traffic conditions now at Baguio, aggregated by the flocks of tourists visiting it everyday.

Burnham Lake.

You can say that the water in Burnham Lake is dirty and murky. But, you can have an enjoyable pedal boat ride here that will cost you 150 pesos for one boat for 30 minutes.

Walking around Burnham Park.

Oh My Gulay!

Honestly, we had trouble finding this restaurant in Session Road. It seems like it is hidden somewhere! Gladly, we found it on an unexpected location, on the very top of an old building!

This the best area to dine in Oh My Gulay.
This is the view of the city in Oh My Gulay!

Oh My Gulay Menu

If finding the location of Oh My Gulay is already challenging, what more else will happen when you order? We have a trouble again choosing what to order since everything is named unique and weird. Let’s take “Pancit Gulat ni Pepe” under “Pancit Pantalo sa gutom” category. Or, you may want to order “Heneral Luna’s Punyetang Shitake” under “Pastang Walang Suko”. 😀

The weird menu.

If that is not weird for you, then I guess you are thinking the same on how the owners/founder/s of this place planned Oh My Gulay!. It is like mapapa-Oh my Gulay ka talaga!

The tasty pasta in Oh My Gulay!

Oh My Gulay isn’t just a simple restaurant where you can only eat and go. People who are into “arts” will greatly appreciate the restaurant’s architecture.

Now we wonder how those foreigners ordered their food here. Maybe the names are just normal to them. Are we just abnormal or it happens to be we are Filipinos that can relate to the food names?

Is this photo looking familiar? You might already seen this on a park.
Look at those plants near the stairs. If you will ask, they are real and not plastic.
How about this statue. Is this weird for you?

If you are having trouble looking for Oh My Gulay! Here are the some photos that can lead you to the place:

Our side trip to Baguio City ended here in Oh My Gulay! restaurant. We spent a half hour more here after eating. Then, we get back to our hotel to pick-up our backpacks. We planned to visit The White House and Botanical Garden too for this side trip, but the weather did not permit us for such.

We saw ourselves riding a Genesis Bus bound for Manila at past 4pm, a bit early but we need to catch this trip since the next trip schedule is uncertain. Nonetheless, this isn’t bad for a Baguio City side trip!

Guide Map

Below is a guide marking the places you can visit in Baguio City. Other nearby attractions and transport terminals are also pinned on this map.

Expenses Summary

Baguio Tourist Assistance (for Car Fuel only) – 50
Night Market Food – P45
Jeepney Fare (Tour around the city, 5 times x P8.50 x 2 person) – 85
Strawberry Taho (P30 x 2) – 60
Igorot Costume Rental ((P20 x 2) – 40
St. Bernard Dog Pictures (8 shots) – 200
Pasalubong/Scarf/Bonnet – 450
Drinking Water – 45
Late Lunch at Oh my Gulay! – 517
Taxi Fare: Downtown-Hotel, Hotel-Bus Terminal – 90

Total for Baguio City Side Trip: Php 1,582 (2 pax)

If you are wondering about the complete expenses and our budget, you can look at Vigan – Baguio DIY Budget Guide and Travel Tips. Everything we spent is written there.

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