Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Baguio City: The Summer Capital of the Philippines

Baguio City and the Panagbenga Festival

by Marion Erika Macapagal

Baguio City, also known as the City of Pines, has been a famous tourist attraction in the Philippines. Though, it’s not my first time here, this is the first time that I’ll be writing about my experience in a non-dramatic way (sorry naman! drama princess lang ang peg minsan :p). I'll try to be more informative in this blog, then share my emotions through the photos posted here instead. 

I recently joined our company’s photography club and I didn’t think twice when I was invited to join the photo walk in Baguio City. The Backpackers’ planned trip to Davao and the Mt. Apo climb for February was crossed out from my list due to tight budget and schedule, so I decided to plan a different trip for the month, and very timely, Accenture Photography Club (APC) was going to Baguio City!

Strawberries, flowers, candies =  ♥ sweet life

How to get there (from Manila)?

As I’ve mentioned, Baguio is a popular destination, so there are many options for transportation. By land (this is intended for travelers without their own vehicles), there are numerous bus trips that leave at all hours from different terminals (Pasay, Cubao etc). Popular buslines are Victory Liner, Genesis, Dagupan Bus Line and Philippine Rabbit. One-way fare cost about Php400-450php per person (air-conditioned), deluxe would cost 650-750php, and travel period is about 6-7 hours during daytime and about 4-5 hours during nighttime (depending on the traffic). By air (haven’t tried this), as of this writing, all flights to Baguio had been terminated. According to Wikipedia, commercial air service into Loakan Airport/Baguio City Airport was discontinued in 2012.

Buslines contact info:

Victory Liner


(02) 361-1506
(02) 361-4665 to 66

(02) 727-4688
(02) 410-8986
(02) 727-4534

(02) 920-7396

(02) 833-4403
(02) 833-5019 to 20

(02) 559-7735

Genesis Transport Inc.
Address: 704 EDSA Corner New York St., Cubao, Quezon City
Phone: (02) 7090545

Dagupan Bus Company Inc.
Address: New York St., Cubao, Quezon City
Phone: (02) 727-2330 / 2287, 929-6123 / 5639

Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc.

Address: 819 Oroquieta Street 1000 Manila and Balintawak 

Phone: (02)734-9836 | (02)734-9838

Eats (It's) more Fun in Baguio!

Eating is more fun with friends and loved ones, much more fun if the ambiance is great, and in Baguio, there are a lot of places where you can eat out. It's totally up to you to choose bettween dining in an expensive or affordable restaurant. You can find good to excellent restaurants, café, and other places to eat in the city that will definitely make your vacay unforgettable. If you plan to go to Baguio, you may want to dine here:

Café by the Ruins
It is called Café by the Ruins because it is an old stone wall left after the ruins of war. It was an old house of the Governor of Benguet, across the street from the City Hall.
Address: 25 Shuntug Rd
Phone: +63 74 442 4010 / 5041
Breakfast & Brunch Restaurant /CaféFood: Cordillera-inspired Filipino dishes 



Bliss Café

Address:  Hotel Elizabeth, Gibraltar St. corner J.Felipe St. | SE of Burnham Park
Phone: :+63 74  6190367
Food:  vegetarian, international
Facebook Page:

Kaffee Klatsch

The name Kaffee Klatsch came from the German term kaffee which means 'coffee' and klatsch which means 'gossip'.

Address: 39 City Camp Road, Baguio City, Philippines
Phone: +63 917 528 5282
Coffee Shop + a live acoustic performance of their resident band, Klatsch Brewers in some nights
Facebook Page: 

Starbucks Baguio

Address:   Cottage 661 Camp John Hay
Phone: (074) 446-4933
Coffee Shop

***There are also carinderias everywhere but I don’t have a list or any recommendation at this time. Maybe next time when I get to stroll around the whole city.***

Chillin' & Tambay. More Fun in Baguio. Yes! It’s more fun in the Philippines.

Okay, I don’t work for the Department of Tourism nor I was paid to advertise their “It’s more fun in the Philippines” tourism advocacy, but I thought it would be nice to use it to promote our OWN and let the world know how blessed this country is despite all of those negative publicity about corruption, etc. Yay! Let’s just continue with our tour, shall we?

Session Road

The busiest street in Baguio! This is the commercial center of the city where all sorts of establishments are located – shops, restaurants, banks, hotels etc.

Session Road, Panagbenga 2013
Photo by: Dave Orquia

Camp John Hay

This is a former US Military recreational camp turned into a beautiful resort with golf course, hotels, a shopping center, convention center, and other attractions.

***You may want to visit the beautiful parks and gardens in Baguio: Burnham Park, Wright Park, Panagbenga Park, People's Park, Mines View Park, Igorot Garden, Rizal Park, and Japanese Garden. We did pass through some of these parks/gardens but did not have enough time to actually stroll around and enjoy the view.***

Other must-visit places near Baguio:

Strawberry Farm
La Trinidad, Benguet

-Just 30 mins away from Baguio
-Transpo: via jeepneys going to La Trinidad, go to Gen. Luna area near the University of Baguio, tell the driver to drop you off at the Strawberry Farm. From the main road (left side), you’ll see a big banner “Welcome to Strawberry Farm” and you’ll just need to walk a few blocks to get to the farm itself. Or via taxi same route.
-Highly recommended activity: Strawberry Picking which cost 250-350php (1 kilo)
-Strawberries (picked by the farmers) cost 100-150php (per kilo)
-There are numerous food, souvenir, veggies and fruit stalls there where you can buy your pasalubongs or for your own consumption.

With Ate Melody, caretaker of the farm (where we picked some strawberries)
fresh fruits & veggies, and strawberry ice cream
Kuya (the ice cream vendor) requested "i-instagram mo ha", I did kuya! I did! haha

Picked these strawberries for my pasalubong

Other than strawberries and veggies, sunflowers are everywhere too

Me and the Strawberry Farm :)

Flower Farm
Bahong, La Trinidad, Benguet

-Bahong is said to be the “rose capital” of the Philippines. It also produces other flowers aside from roses.
-20-30 mins away from the Strawberry farm
-Transpo: taxi or own vehicle (the better), the road going there is narrow and path gradually slopes down
Tip: Do not go here few days and/or right after Panagbenga
When we arrived here while all people are busy watching the flower float parade in Baguio, all flowers except those you see in the photos (few rose buds and some chrysanthemums) are what’s left after farmers harvested all of them for the Panagbenga festival.

The Main Event

The Panagbenga (Flower) Festival

Why am I so ecstatic about witnessing a festival like this? Well, aside from the reason that it’s my first time to personally witness it, looking at these beautiful and colorful flowers always fascinate me. Celebrating the ‘season of blooming’ makes us understand that flowers were created to symbolize love, beauty, vibrancy, charm, and happiness, and that celebration of such is also a celebration of a love-filled life (Yes you are loved! You are loved by the Creator of this universe). May we always celebrate life for this is a gift given only once. Visit Baguio and enjoy God’s greatest blessings – the flowers, strawberries, pine trees and many more. 


APC in Baguio City

After the parade, Harrison Road

 The Flower Floats

Dora is so cute :)

Photo credit: Karl Daiwey, Merphix Astudillo, Marvin Pabustan and Dave Orquia

Thank you to all of the APC members who shared their knowledge in photography. You guys rock! Nice meeting you all ♥

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tina_fajardo said...

Ang ganda.. nakaka-aliw

Anonymous said...

never pako nahilig sa mga festivals.. no wonder why Baguio napili ng APC, andami pala bulaklak..~DQXTC