Known to be the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio is frequented by tourists during the hot season for its cold climate, its flower festival every February, its famous landmarks, and the many activities people of all ages would surely enjoy – from riding a boat and viewing mines, to picking strawberries and learning more about the local culture.
However, the 'City of Pines' doesn’t only come alive during the summertime. For someone who’s not a fan of big crowds, but is a sucker for budget deals and the so-called “cuddle weather,” Baguio during the rainy season is a combination that’s to be experienced. It’s the perfect weekend getaway to anyone wanting to escape the city for a day or two, see thick layers of fog a la Silent Hill, and put their thick jackets to good use.
Here are some of the places you could check out for when you decide to go to the city:
1. BenCab Museum
See the works of National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto "BenCab" Cabrera at the BenCab Museum. It houses 12 galleries and exhibitions created not only by BenCab but of other Filipino masters of the arts. There's also a museum shop and a cafe in the area, perfect for those who want something to bring home or a hot drink amidst the cold weather.
2. Mt. Cloud Bookshop
A bookstore which opened back in 2010, Mt. Cloud Bookshop is the place to go for the book lovers and the artists alike. Available here are Filipiniana books, most of which are independently published or are considered "controversial". The bookshop also holds spoken word and open mic events for poets and artists who want to share their works, so if you're one of them, better check their Facebook and website from time to time for their schedule.
3. Cafe by the Ruins
What better way to experience a cold, rainy day than a good cup of coffee or hot chocolate and some good food, right? Cafe by the Ruins serves all-day breakfast food from their platters to the well-loved champorado. The place also celebrates local art, so expect to see different artworks hung on the wall which vary every month. Their original branch may not be opening anymore, but you can visit their second branch at the Upper Session Road to have a taste of their bestsellers!
4. Baguio Night Market
Aside from the cold weather and the strawberries, if there's one thing Baguio is known for, it would be their Ukay-Ukay. Those with a keen eye for cheap yet really fashionable clothes would find this place their heaven and wouldn't be leaving the place empty-handed. Also available here are street foods and different Baguio souvenirs you could take home for your friends.
5. Easter Weaving Room
Perhaps you've only seen these patterns and weavings in the locals' clothing, or as decorations in houses and stores, but in the Easter Weaving Room, you actually get to see them creating the patterns and weaving them to be garments, table cloths, and wall decors. The place has been existing for more than 100 years now, and it has been continuously preserving and promoting the arts and culture of the region.
Tip: During the lean season, hotels usually give discounts or drop their rates to much cheaper rates. You're sure to get a nice accomodation without paying a lot.
- By Private Car: From Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway and drive to Exit 85 which will get you to SCTEX. Exit at Tarlac City and follow the signs until you reach MacArthur Highway. From there, drive until you reach Rosario, La Union. Turn right at the Rosario Junction which will get you to Kennon Road. Turn right to Marcos Highway and drive all the way to Baguio City. (Estimated travel time: 4-5 hours)
- By Bus: Take the Victory Liner (Pasay, Cubao, Caloocan), Philippine Rabbit (Avenida), or Genesis (Cubao, Avenida) buses and take the 7-8 hour ride which will take you to Baguio City.