The Top Things to Do in Baguio, the Philippines

Discover the best of vibrant Baguio City on the island of Luzon
Discover the best of vibrant Baguio City on the island of Luzon | © Zairon Jacobs / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Ronica Valdeavilla
Writer28 July 2021

Nicknamed the summer capital of the Philippines thanks to its comparatively cool temperature, Baguio City is one of the most popular places to stay on the island of Luzon. From strawberry picking to craft beer to Mines View Park, here are the top things to do and experience there.

Stop to see the giant lion's head

Architectural Landmark
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Like something from the stage show of The Lion King, this cartoon-like statue of a lion’s head is unmissable, standing 40ft (12m) tall and painted gold. Located on Kennon Road, Luzon’s major highway that leads to Baguio, the fearsome beast is a popular photo op for travellers. Constructed in the 1970s through the initiative of the Lions Club (a local community-service organisation), it’s now considered a guardian of the city.

Relax at Burnham Park

Park
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Burnham Park Lake, Baguio City
© Siegfried Kräker / Alamy Stock Photo

When Baguio was still in its planning stage, during American occupation in the early 20th century, one of its central features was to be Burnham Park. Now a designated heritage site, the 33ha (81 acres) space features a man-made lake with rowing boats for hire, a children’s playground, a skating rink, a rose garden and an orchidarium. You can roam around the park’s paved walkways or rent a bike to take it all in.

Zip line at Camp John Hay

Forest, Park
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A United States Armed Forces military base during most of the 20th century, Camp John Hay was handed back to the Philippine government in 1991. These days, it’s a 213ha (526 acres) recreation ground featuring outdoor activities at the Tree Top Adventure centre, including a seated cable ride, motorized zip lines, and a free-fall vertical 60ft (18m) zip line. Back down on terra firma, pay a visit to the Bell House, a historic building that exemplifies American colonial architecture.

Watch the sunrise at Mines View Park

Natural Feature, Park
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Sunrise over Mines View Park
© Jie Qi Ng / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the most-visited spots in Baguio is Mines View Park, thanks to its panoramic views that take in the city, the old town of Itogon with its abandoned gold and copper mines, and the Amburayan Valley. Located on a ledge 4km (2mi) from downtown, it’s worth the hardship of coming here for a sunrise. Add to the sense of a spiritual experience up here by renting Cordillera-region indigenous clothing on-site, headdresses and all.

Go strawberry picking

Park
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La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines
© Zairon Jacobs / Alamy Stock Photo

Baguio City is the strawberry capital of the Philippines. Thanks to its cool climate, strawberries grow easily here – which explains the delicious strawberry ice cream in every café and restaurant. See where they come from by checking out the strawberry farm that’s located in La Trinidad, Benguet, around a 15-minute drive from the centre of town. From November until May, you can pick as many strawberries as you want and pay based on weight.

See the gallery and gardens at BenCab Museum

Museum
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One of the masters of Filipino contemporary art is Benedicto Reyes Cabrera (also known as BenCab), whose elegant, figurative work often features women wrapped in swirling fabrics and capes. His four-level private museum in Baguio, the BenCab Museum, houses all his paintings, sculptures and installations. The entrance fee includes access to the sprawling gardens, which have a meandering river and mini waterfall. Located in Tadiangan, 15 minutes from the city centre, you can take a jeep from Baguio market.

Get the best deals at ukay-ukay stores

Market
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Seafood and Meat Choices at Baguio Night Market
© Christiane Lois Dating / Alamy Stock Photo

Thrift shoppers delight: Baguio is a dream with its ukay-ukay stalls, where secondhand clothes (often shipped from the West) are sold at cheap prices. Almost every part of Baguio City has ukay-ukays, but the best spot is the Baguio Night Market on Harrison Road, which stays open from 9pm until 4am and has great jewellery and shoes for sale as well as bargain clothing. The street food will keep you fuelled with enough energy to shop into the small hours.

Try the local beer at Baguio Craft Brewery

Brewery
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The craft brewery trend is alive and well in the Philippines. Head to Baguio Craft Brewery, where festoon lighting and outdoor wooden seats at the tasting room create an enchanting atmosphere as you sip the produce that’s made on-site. Craft beers are poured from 18 rotating taps – the signature brew being a strawberry beer. The bar snacks focus on fresh ingredients sourced in the Cordillera Region, such as crispy chicken skins marinated with pinakurat (a spicy dressing).

Sing karaoke on Session Road

Architectural Landmark
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Head to Session Road to get a feel for Baguio’s nightlife. This 1.7km (1mi) stretch is at the heart of the action, with bars, restaurants, shops and hotels lining the thoroughfare of mid-20th-century America and art deco buildings. A fun spot for groups is the Rabbit Hole, an Alice in Wonderland-themed bar and karaoke lounge with private VIP rooms, where you can belt out all the classics.

Stroll around Baguio Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden, Park
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Baguio Botanical Garden
© Zairon Jacobs / Alamy Stock Photo

A few minutes from the hustle and bustle of Baguio’s Central Business District is a whole other world: the Baguio Botanical Garden, with its towering pine trees, tropical greenhouses and water features. Tourists and locals brush shoulders here to bask in the peace of nature. Climb the stone steps to the garden’s art gallery, browse the stalls selling handicrafts, and dip into the huts that represent the region’s Igorot culture.

These recommendations were updated on July 28, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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