Memos from Asia

BAGUIO: The Oasis in the Philippine Desert

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(Credit: RhonVelarde01, CC BY-SA 4.0)

When you live in a tropical country like the Philippines, humidity and heat is something that you have to live with every day. The country only has two seasons, rainy and sunny, and except for a couple of rainy days, it is almost always hot. This is why Filipinos enjoy going out of the country to experience the colder seasons, like winter and fall. But for those who do not have the luxury of time and money to spend on a vacation outside of the country, there is a nearer and cheaper alternative that can be found in the northern part of the country. This oasis is Baguio City.

Baguio City has a cool climate all year round because it is located approximately 5000 ft above sea level. It is a popular destination during the hottest times in summer thus it became known as the Summer capital of the Philippines. The lowest temperature recorded in Baguio was at 7.1 degrees Celsius. However, on a normal day, the lowest temp range could be from 13 to 16 degrees Celsius, while the hottest only goes as high as 22 to 24 degrees.

The cooler climate has attracted a lot of local and foreign tourists to Baguio, but it is not the only thing that the city is known for. There are a lot of places that you can visit while you are in the city. They have everything from historical places, museums, adventure activities for the thrill-seekers, and even a relaxing itinerary for those who just want to bask in the beauty of nature. Here are some of the places you should visit once you are in Baguio.

La Trinidad Strawberry Fields

If there is a fruit that can easily be associated with Baguio, it would be strawberries. Baguio City has probably the sweetest export quality strawberries there is in the country. And the good thing about it is that you do not only get the chance to buy them there, but you also get the chance to pick the strawberries yourselves when you visit La Trinidad Strawberry Fields.

This activity is best for families especially when there are small children who would get excited over this experience. Nevertheless, even small group travelers or solo travelers who like strawberries would also definitely enjoy this activity. The strawberries sold there are reasonably priced per kilo and are best from September to December.

Camp John Hay

Your Baguio City experience would not be complete without a visit to Camp John Hay. It is a one-stop-shop for those who want to enjoy recreational activities and sightsee at the same time. If you are into adrenaline-filled activities, Camp John Hay has a variety of it in Tree Top Adventures. Attractions such as ziplining, harnessed free fall, sky walking and trekking are just some of the adventures you can choose from. All while enjoying the pine trees that cover the area.

If you are not into the kinds of activities that the treetop adventure offers and prefer more laidback sightseeing, you can visit the Butterfly Sanctuary, Yellow Trail, Bell House, and the Cemetery of Negativism that can be found in the nature park. After a long day of walking and activities, Camp John Hay also houses picnic areas you can utilize for the breaks. But if you prefer not to bring food with you, do not worry since there are restaurants within the compound you can choose from.

Ben Cab Museum

If you are an art enthusiast, you should not miss out on the Ben Cab Museum while you are in Baguio. Benedicto Reyes Cabrera, or Ben Cab, is a renowned contemporary artist who has multiple exhibits within Asia and Europe. He has conferred the National Artist title In 2006. The Ben Cab Museum houses several works by Ben Cab and a couple of acknowledged artists in the country.

Aside from the art pieces that you can see in the museum, the Ben Cab Museum is situated on a cliff where you can see a breathtaking view of the mountains filled with forests and gardens. It is a place where there truly is an intertwining of man-made art and the environment’s natural beauty.

Session Road

Session Road is the most popular, busiest, and liveliest street in Baguio city. It is the business center of the city, where a lot of commercial activities take place. So, if you are looking for a hotel to stay in, a place to dine, or a place to shop, this should be one of your go-to’s.

The Session Road is popularly known for the numerous vendors of thrift shops for clothes, but even if you are looking for something else, this would be the place to find it. There are also a lot of old movie houses and restaurants that serve good food along this street. This picturesque street is would remind you of the mid-20th century in America.

Burnham Park

At the heart of Baguio City, you will find a 32-hectare lot that is considered the “mother of all parks” in the city, the Burnham Park. Named after American Architect Daniel Burnham, who designed the original plan for Baguio, Burnham Park has been divided into 12 cluster areas. All these areas serve a different purpose, but all tie up to make the park an avenue where all kinds of people can enjoy while preserving the rich culture of Baguio.

One of the clusters is the Burnham lagoon, which is a man-made lake where you can enjoy boat rentals and rowboats for rent. There is also the Igorot garden, where you can get a chance to dress up in native Igorot clothes. You can also find a Rose Garden, Sunshine Park, Picnic Grove, Skating Rink, children’s playground among others.

These are just some of the more popular places that you can visit when you are in Baguio and the must-sees if you are only staying for a couple of days. But even if you plan to stay longer, like an entire summer, you will never run out of beautiful places, food, and activities you can enjoy while you are in the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

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