baguio landmark lion head

Baguio: 2-Day Itinerary with Family

Cold fresh air. Pine trees. Strawberries. Those are the top three things that come to mind when I think of Baguio. At least, that’s what’s left of a childhood memory of my last visit to the Summer Capital of the Philippines. My last few visits for work, were too fleeting and confined mostly in the four walls of the “office”. This time, though, was with the family and was spent exploring more of what Baguio has to offer. This is what our holiday weekend in Baguio looked like:

How to get to Baguio from Metro Manila

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  • By BUS: Buses depart from various terminals in Metro Manila, including Cubao, Pasay, and Sampaloc. Travel time typically ranges from 4 to 7 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the route taken. Buses offer different classes of service, including regular, air-conditioned, and deluxe/executive coaches. Prices vary accordingly.
    • Victory Liner: Royal Class, First Class, Regular Aircon, Deluxe
    • JoyBus: Executive, Deluxe, Premiere
    • Pangasinan Solid North Transit: Deluxe, Luxury
  • By PRIVATE VEHICLE: If you have access to a car, you can drive to Baguio City via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), followed by the scenic Marcos Highway or Kennon Road. The journey takes around 4 to 6 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. It’s advisable to start early in the morning to avoid heavy traffic, especially on weekends and holidays.

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

lourdes grotto baguio

Coming from a Catholic family, it is normal to start the vacation with a visit to a religious place. And since I don’t remember coming here when I was little, I decided to include this popular grotto in the list.

A favorite site during the Holy Week, there are two ways to reach the shrine up the hill. Either you climb the 252 steps or drive through the winding road. I chose the former but lost count of the steps around the 50th. I was too distracted with all my huffing and puffing. Quite an exercise, indeed. I suggest you take the winding road when going down just so you can experience both.

It is customary to light a candle after saying your prayers near the foot of Our Lady of Lourdes.

  • How to get here: Ride the jeepney with Dominican Hill signage
  • Address: Dominican Hill Rd, Baguio, 2100 Benguet
  • Opening hours: 8 AM – 6 PM

Mirador Heritage and Eco-Spirituality Park

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Located in Mirador Hill like the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, this park is one of the newer attractions in Baguio. Visitors flock to the Mirador Peace Memorial which is where you can find the red Japanese torii gate with a bell made from an unexploded World War II bomb.

Another ‘Instagrammable’ spot is Arashiyama Bamboo Grove which has a very similar name to its inspiration in Japan. You can also go up the Rock Garden and enjoy the amazing views from around Mirador Heritage and Eco-Park.

  • Entrance fee: Php 100 (children under 12 years old is free)
  • No pets allowed

Tam-awan Village

tamawan village baguio

Appalled that my foreigner friend saw this before me, Tam-awan Village instantly ranked high in the itinerary. Designed to make Cordillera history and culture more accessible to people, this reconstructed village showcases seven Ifugao huts and two Kalinga houses that visitors can see and experience. These houses differ from normal huts in that they are made without nails and are elevated from the ground using hardwood posts.

After paying the entrance fee, you can choose from the two routes going up the village, the one with the colorful salamander and the concrete stairs. Be prepared for a bit more hiking to reach the highest hut where you will be rewarded with a panoramic view. The trail is relatively easy and clear cut but it could get tricky when the ground is wet.

Created in 1998, Tam-awan (meaning “vantage point”) also exhibits assortment of art made by local artists that symbolizes what Cordillera heritage is about. There is also a coffee shop and craft shop inside where you can sample native coffee.

  • How to get here: ride the Quezon Hill- Tam-awan jeep or Long-long jeep via Tam-awan (from Kayang Street)
  • Address: 366-C Pinsao Proper 2600 Baguio City
  • Opening hours: Monday – Sunday: 9am – 5pm

BenCab Museum

bencab museum bulol
Art, culture, and nature. Need I say more?

Indeed, National Artist Benedicto Cabrera’s four-level private museum is one of the best I’ve seen in the country. Showcasing some of his works, his extensive bulol (Ifugao rice god) collection, the famed erotica collection and various works of contemporary and local artists, visitors will also be enthralled by the cafe downstairs and the adjoining garden and farm.

For an added fee , you can avail of a tour guide for the Eco-trail hike at the farm and garden. We didn’t avail of this due to time constraint but I’ve read from other bloggers that it’s worth seeing.

  • How to get here: Ride the jeepney bound for Asin Road
  • Address: Km. 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays 9am to 6pm (last entry at 5:30pm); Closed Mondays, Christmas day and New Year’s day.
  • Entrance fee: Php 200 – General admission; Php 150 – Senior/PWD with valid ID; Php 120 – Student with valid Philippine school issued ID; Free – Child no taller than 42″

Camp John Hay’s Historical Core

Although Camp John Hay has been around since 1903, this former United States Air Forces R&R (rest and recreation) spot is definitely worth a revisit not just because of the hotels, golf course and shopping centers, but because of the Historical Core, where you can find The Lost Cemetery (Cemetery of Negativism), The Bell House, Bell Amphitheater, Statue of Liberty replica, and History Trail.

Walk along memory lane as you explore the Bell House and its adjoining library museum, and the History Trail, which gives you a glimpse of the Camp’s more than 100 years’ past.

There’s also a Secret Garden near the Bel House but since it was getting dark, we didn’t get a chance to see it. Recently featured in a popular primetime local soap opera, my family had a blast going around the Lost Cemetery.

Burnham Park

Extremely touristy, this one almost didn’t make the cut. But since my youngest brother hasn’t been here yet, well what can I do? Haha.

One doesn’t think of Baguio and not think of Burnham Park especially the quintessential lake filled with colorful swan boats. For this quick visit, we tried the bikes for rent at the side of the park.

This iconic park in the heart of Baguio City is surrounded by various attractions such as the Burnham Lake, Children’s Playground, and Igorot Garden.

Session Road

This road is a bustling thoroughfare lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. It’s adjacent to Burnham Park, making it easy to explore both areas on foot.

Whether you’re looking for clothing, accessories, handicrafts, or local delicacies, you’re likely to find it on Session Road. Session Road is also known for its vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene, so if that’s your scene this is where you need to go at night.

Laperal White House

Known as Baguio’s famous haunted house, Laperal White House (also known as Laperal Mansion) looks just like any other unassuming Victorian-styled house. Built on 1920 by one of Baguio’s oldest clans, the White House is said to be a witness to the gruesome demise of the family during the Japanese occupation. This led to the house becoming a hotbed of paranormal activity since then.

In 2013, it was opened to the public as a gallery where bamboo and wood art by Filipino artists are exhibited.

In December 2022, an upscale restaurant, Joseph’s, opened in the location. According to its website, the fine dining restaurant’s menu was crafted by a French chef who worked at a Michelin-star restaurant.

If you’re a fan of art or dark tourism, this is worth a visit along with the old Diplomat Hotel. Honestly, even with all the artwork and people inside, the house still gave me the creeps.

Baguio Botanical Garden

The garden is home to a diverse collection of plant species, including both native and exotic varieties. You can explore themed gardens showcasing different ecosystems, such as ferns, orchids, and bonsai trees.

You can also see traditional Igorot tribal huts, providing insight into the indigenous culture of the Cordillera region. And of course, the garden’s lush greenery, colorful blooms, and picturesque landscapes make it a favorite spot for photography enthusiasts.

Baguio Botanical Garden is conveniently located near other popular tourist attractions in Baguio City, such as Wright Park, The Mansion House, and Mines View Park. It’s easily accessible by public transportation or within walking distance from downtown Baguio.

Mines View

Renowned for its panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, Mines View Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Baguio so be prepared for a crowd if you go during peak hours and days.

Visitors can gaze out over the scenic landscape, which includes old mining sites, lush forests, and terraced hillsides. It’s a perfect spot for capturing stunning photographs and soaking in the beauty of nature.

Baguio Cathedral

The trip won’t be complete without a visit to this famous church, known to many as the Baguio Cathedral. Accessible via Session Road, Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral is known for its twin spires and is also the biggest church in the city so don’t be surprised that it is almost always packed. Be sure to check out the stained glass windows.

Baguio is one city that has evolved throughout the years and has managed to adapt to the changing times. There are definitely lots more of places worthy to visit with your family. With its accessibility and close proximity to the metro, this will remain to be a favorite place for many to come back to.

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Post initially written August 2015. Updated 2023.

Darlene is currently on the road again and traveling full-time after being an expat/overseas Filipino worker in Qatar. She's rediscovering what it means to travel solo and in her 30s while working on her blogs.