Baguio City has long established itself as the “Summer Capital” of the country, with its blend of historical and modern highland attractions. But beyond the bustle of the city’s energetic modern buzz, Baguio has plenty of understated corners that preserve its rich indigenous culture, precolonial traditions and deep roots in agriculture. Rediscover the natural, cultural, and creative hubs hiding in plain sight in and around the city in this rundown of experiences to include in your next trip up north.

Museo Kordilyera in Baguio City, Benguet. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Visit the local museums. Museums are always a good place to get a glimpse into a place’s heritage, history and culture. Check out the iconic, Ifugao-inspired stone-and-wood architecture of the Baguio Museum at the heart of the city, and the contemporary exhibits of the University of the Philippines Baguio’s Ethnographic museum, the Museo Kordilyera nearby.

Chocolate de Batirol and kakanin. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Dine local. Baguio’s easy access to an abundance of produce yields a vibrant local cuisine from just about any continent. Don’t forget to seek out places that serve native delicacies like Chocolate de Batirol’s famous traditional hot chocolate in Camp John Hay, traditional and fusion Cordilleran dishes in Cafe by the Ruins, and the endless list of cafes that serve fresh Arabica coffee (which you can also buy in bean form at the public market).

Baguio City Night Market. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Check out the public markets. Nothing beats a trip to the local public market. Markets not only contain the pulse of the place, but also carry pasalubong (souvenir) finds that are unique to the destination such as the different woven textile products, coffee, dried goods, and handcrafted products at the Baguio Public Market, or go thrift-shopping at the Baguio Night Market beside Burnham Park.

Women weavers of Narda’s Handwoven. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Immerse yourself in the arts. The Cordilleran region is known for its skilled crafters and makers, from traditional weaving and wood sculpting, to filmmaking and the modern arts. See the skilled women weavers in action in weaving hubs such as Narda’s Handwoven, the seasonal workshops and events at Tam-awan Village (where you can also stay overnight in one of their Ifugao huts), visit the Ifugao woodcarvers of Asin Road in Tuba, and make your way further to the renowned BenCab museum – owned none other than by National Artist Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera himself. You also needn’t go far if you’re right in the middle of the city. Located at the fifth floor of La Azotea Road in Session Road is the Victor Oteyza Community Art Space (VOCAS) Gallery art space, and further up along Assumption Road is the Ili-likha Artists Village, which features a selection of cafes and restaurants creatively built onto a rocky slope.

Attend festivals and communal activities. Get to know the community even better by mapping out their festivals and gatherings that might interest you. Perhaps the most popular is the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, a month-long flower festival celebrated annually every February. Lifted from the Kankanaey term pertaining to a “season of blooming”, the festival is marked by colorful botanical parades and activities.

Coffee bean processing at Kalsada Coffee farm. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Farm visits and farm-to-table experiences. Go straight to the source of the province’s bountiful harvests with an immersive and enriching tour around its many farms. Pick your own strawberries from the La Trinidad strawberry farms, follow the journey that each cup of coffee makes through Kalsada Coffee’s farm tours, and snap photos of the many farms which can be found throughout the province.

Discover more destinations to see, experience, and savor around Baguio City. Visit these links to map out your next journey across the Philippines. 

Travel Safely!

All these tourist destinations have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.

To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel, Apple Store, or Google Playstore.