Want to travel to Baguio with a friend? We’ll introduce you to someone who will tour you (at least virtually) to the Summer Capital of the Philippines and experience it like a local.
The idea of traveling to Baguio, especially when alone, is exhilarating—hopping from one destination to another, trying local dishes, feeling the sweater weather every day, and shopping for some souvenirs.
But what if you’re now ready to go deeper? What if you want to experience Baguio as the locals do? The best way to do this is to allow yourself to be absorbed into the culture as much as possible by traveling like a local.
While being a tourist is fine, there’s something about experiencing a new (or familiar) place like a local. However, traveling solo may not always be fun compared to experiencing things with someone.
So, why not travel to Baguio with a friend? And no, we don’t mean “the friend” you heard on the news a few months ago. We interviewed Jan Carlito David II of Pixel Travel Story, a local blogger, who will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Baguio now, from the latest Baguio travel requirements to the best places to visit.
What’s inside this blog?
- Baguio before & after the pandemic
- What to expect when visiting Baguio now
- Baguio travel requirements 2021
- New tourist spots in Baguio
- Where to eat in Baguio
- Where to stay in Baguio
Baguio before & after the pandemic
Before the pandemic, Baguio was one of the hottest destinations in the Philippines. Hundreds of thousands of tourists are driving north every month to escape the hot weather in other places in the country.
“Baguio was preparing for the grand tourism activities around December 2019 to March 2020 because of the expected influx of tourists. However, things have started to change in late 2019 because of COVID-19,” shares Jan.
The City of Pines was one of the Philippine tourist destinations that have been greatly affected by the pandemic. Earlier this year, the city experienced low tourist arrivals even if they increased their target number of tourists a day.
While the city suffered from a drop in tourism, the locals of Baguio didn’t stop to think of ways on how to recover. They became even more creative and innovative amid the pandemic.
Jan says “Virtual Tourism has started to be recognized. Private organizations and even the Department of Tourism conducted virtual tours, symposiums that encouraged people to share photos and clips of their past travel experiences. This allows the residents of the city and outsiders to discover other travel spots around Baguio but also Benguet.”
What to expect when visiting Baguio now
Unlike traveling pre-pandemic, we can’t go to Baguio on a whim anymore. Extensive research and planning are needed in order to explore Baguio hassle-free.
“When visiting Baguio, everyone still needs to practice safety protocols such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing inside establishments or outdoor areas. Expect that transportation within the city also changes with only 70% seating capacity on jeepneys and 3-4 passengers allowed in taxis. The fare relatively also increased,” Jan shares.
“To those who enjoy the nightlife, restaurants, and bars often close earlier around 5pm. As a guide, I suggest that tourists enjoy tripping, walking, or biking around the city. To also enjoy the cold weather and destination, it’s better to visit during weekdays to avoid crowded places. Moreover, I hope we get to support more local products, follow the rules and bring ample respect,” Jan adds.
And now that the local government has increased their daily tourist limit, expect longer lines and longer waiting time. With this, make sure to bring with you all the necessary documents and a lot of patience.
Suggested article: A Complete Travel Guide for a Memorable Staycation in Baguio
Baguio travel requirements 2021
Travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are not required to take an RT-PCR test, but they must present their vaccination cards.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated adults cannot enter the city.
According to the city mayor, there are only three (3) main Baguio travel pass requirements. These are:
- Baguio Visita registration with QR-coded Tourist Pass
- Vaccination card or vaccination certificate
- Health screening and verification at the triage in Baguio upon arrival
For more detailed information about the requirements for entering Baguio City, read this: Baguio Travel Requirements: Updated 2021 Guide to Traveling to Baguio
New tourist spots in Baguio
Photo credits to Baguio City Guide
If you want to go somewhere new and uncrowded, Jan recommends some places you can add to your itinerary. See what he has to say:
To spice up the usual destinations around the city, there are also new spots built and discovered such as the: Mirador Heritage and Eco Park. This bamboo park will remind you of the Bamboo Grove in Japan. On your way to the top are rock formations, located on the top of the hill is the Torii with the historical bell made from a century-old bombshell. The retreat is also open for the public upon reservation. It is just beside Cafe Inigo, a great place to enjoy the sunset view while sipping a cup of coffee.
If you were fascinated with the bamboo park of Mirador Hill, the Bamboo Sanctuary is also a good place to relax but also learn about the benefits and uses of bamboo. A bamboo art gallery is also placed for viewing.
Located along Longlong Road are Baguio Igorot Stone Garden and Campfolkswagen just near Tam-awan Village. These new spots here in Baguio City just sprouted during the pandemic that also drew attention to tourists from outside the city. Going farther along Longlong road, you will find yourself in Mount Costa or sipping great street coffee with Torogi Kapi.Baguio is full of surprises as if the ones discussed above are not enough. This perpetually cold city has one more natural attraction that will take you by surprise.
16 kilometers northwest of Baguio lies the hot springs of Tuba, Benguet. Known as the Asin Hot Springs, these thermal and therapeutic springs are the perfect spot for relaxation and rejuvenation. Because of its considerable distance from the city center, Asin Hot Springs is one of the most underrated destinations in the province of Benguet. Although the pools are tiled, the waters that fill them are natural and come straight from the mountains. The springs are even said to have healing properties.
Going to Asin Hot Springs you can also visit Sam’s Agritourism Park or dine at Pinderella’s Cafe & Secret Garden while enjoying the walk around the rare plants. Both places are just near BenCab Museum.
Want to visit more tourist attractions in Baguio? Read this: 15 Must-Visit Baguio Tourist Spots for a Fun Escapade
Where to eat in Baguio
According to Jan Carlito, here are some of the best cafes and restaurants to try when you’re in Baguio:
- Arca’s Yard
- Cafe by the Ruins
- Hatch Coffee
- Il-Lengan Cafe
- Tsokolateria Artisanal Cafe
- Vanilla Cafe
- Patch Cafe
- Oh My Gulay Resto
- Al Tiera Bistro
- Cafe de Angelo
- Grumpy Joe
- Ili-likha Community
Where to stay in Baguio
Looking for affordable hotels in Baguio? Book your accommodation with ZEN Rooms to enjoy quality rooms on a budget.
Whether it’s your first time or nth time already, Baguio never fails to amaze its visitors even during the trying times. Before your trip, make sure you have prepared everything you need and bring a camera to capture new memories Baguio will give you.
Have fun and share with us your travel photos on Facebook or Instagram by tagging us and using the hashtag: #ZENTraveler.
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