Baguio City has many names which describe this mountain getaway high in the Cordillera Mountain Ranges. It is commonly referred to as The Summer Capital of the Philippines, or The City of Pines.
Whatever you want to call Baguio City, the one thing remains constant in comparison to the rest of the Philippines, it is it’s temperate climate. The humidity that sucks the life out of you in other areas of the Philippines is not here. In general it is on average a good 8 degrees C cooler than the rest of the Philippines. It also does not get much warmer than 26 degrees C. This is nice comfortable living.
On the down side, during the wet season from June to October, Baguio has more than it’s fair share of rain, sometimes up to twice as much as anywhere else in the Philippines. The upside is that typhoons do not batter the city as it is relatively shielded by the mountains of the Cordilleras.
Baguio is fresh and delightful, as you start your final ascent to Baguio, you can smell the pine trees before you can see them, the smell is clean and crisp and is a great way to start your journey and exploration of this unique Philippine city.
Baguio was first established by the Americans in 1909, who recognized the tourist potential of the area, it was not until world war II that the Americans established a recreational area for there service men called Camp John Hay. Camp John Hay is now a magnificent tourist recreation area complete with an 18 hole golf course and world class resort.
Baguio City sits high on the Cordillera Mountain Ranges on a plateau roughly 1,500 metres above sea level. It is located in the central north of the main island of Luzon.
It is surrounded by the province of Benguet and is classified as an independent city, it is not part of Benguet Province. Baguio City is the administrative centre of
the Cordillera Administration Region.
Baguio Philippines is about 250 kilometres north of the Philippine capital city of Manila.
The city of Baguio can be accessed by two modes of transport:
1. By Road 2. By Air
Which mode of transport you choose will depend on your budget, your available time or your patience. If you are on a budget then your best mode of transport is by road. If time is short then catch a plane. If you have little patience and get frustrated easily, then the plane is for you.
1. Travel to Baguio City by Road.
From Manila you can either take an air conditioned bus or hire a private car or mini van. We will look at these options separately.
- Bus Buses leave Manila from each of the bus companies own depot. Unfortunately Manila does not have one central bus station. It will take you roughly 6 - 7 hours to travel the 250 odd kilometers from Manila to Baguio City. Bus timetables vary between the different bus companies. Schedules are fairly constant between 5:00 am and 6:00 pm. You can catch buses later than 6:00 pm as some buses leave around midnight so that you arrive in Baguio in the early morning, which can be a bit chilly.
- Hire car or minivan As an alternative to the air-conditioned buses, hiring a car with or without a driver is an option. If you are not familiar with driving in an other country and don’t want the hassle that comes with it, then arrange for a driver as well.
Hiring a car or mini van can be inexpensive is there is a group of you and you then have he option of traveling where you want to. Any hotel can arrange a car or car and driver.
Traveling to Baguio City by road from Manila is fairly straight forward, the fun begins when you get to the base of the Cordillera mountains.
There are only three access roads to Baguio City Philippines.
i) Kennon Road This is the quickest route of the three. Baguio connects with the town of Rosario in La Union with Kennon Road. Kennon Road was named after US Army Colonel Lyman Kennon. He was the last builder on the project and completed the road in 1903. This splendidly scenic route passes by cascading waterfalls and lush mountain vegetation.
Coming to terms with the roads twists, turns and blind corners can be scary for the uninitiated, a good reason to hire a vehicle with a driver who is familiar with Kennon Road. Kennon Road is quite often impassable after severe storms as it is prone to major landslides. If you do drive yourself ensure you are alert as the road can be testing in parts, with steep drop offs into deep gorges.
Hazards encountered include sharp blind corners, other drivers, weather including fog.
On a clear day it is without any doubt a spectacular journey, with some fantastic photo opportunities.
ii) Naguilian Road This road acts as a more comfortable route for the transportation of agricultural produce, mined natural resources and other raw products coming out of the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Naguilian Road is not as drastic or uncomfortable for the driver.
Worth remembering is that if you do opt to take this route it will add an additional three hours to your journey. However if you are connecting via Bauang in La Union, this may be a more convenient route.
iii) Marcos Highway The Marcos Highway is the easiest route of the lot. The road is well maintained and easy to navigate. The hairpin bends and blind corners of Kennon Road are non existent.
You can access Marcos Highway at the same point as Kennon Road in Rosario La Union, you can also connect at Agoo in La Union.
2. Travel to Baguio City by Air
Flying from Manila is the most convenient way to travel, it is quick and hassle free and will only take you 50 minutes. Asian Spirit has flights to Baguio from Manila daily,
have a look here for timetables and schedules of Philippine airline carriers.
Flights land in Baguio City at Loakan Airport, which is a bout a 20 minute car drive south of Baguio. Due to the mountainous region, fog is a constant hazard, which is the main reason why flights are scheduled for mid morning.
Private Transport to Baguio
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