Summer Capital of the Philippines

Baguio City, the Philippines’ Summer Capital; where people flock to experience the feeling of being out and about under the sun without worrying about getting all sweaty and stinky. It’s hard to find a place like that in a tropical country like the Philippines, where you get one out of two options: one of which is to endure the almost-painful heat of the sun, or to stay at home looking at how the trees almost bend at a right angle due to the strength of the storm winds. So yes, to the Filipinos like me, Baguio City is a breath of fresh air to us, and gives us a peak at what it’s like to squint from the brightness of the sun while simultaneously vigorously rubbing our hands together in attempt to ward off the cold.

After resting for a couple minutes, we set out to start our adventure. One of the places we went to was Burnham Park, which was a walking distance away from the inn. The park offered a lot of options: you could walk around (which is what one usually does in a park), but I really wouldn’t advise it, especially around late afternoon, if the sight of mosquitoes swarming above your head and chasing you around when you’re trying to run away from them could potentially trigger you; there were tons of bicycle rentals of any type available but you only get to ride it up and down the designated street, which was roughly 200 meters (but I wouldn’t take my word for it since I’m so bad at approximating measurements); there was also a boat rental with tons of cute designs which you get to use in this little man-made lake (I’m not even going to try approximating its dimensions). Around the park there are tons of food options you could choose from: there’s the trusty and greasy fast food; there are some barbecue joints here and there, and you would know from the amount of smoke and the undeniable aroma of barbecue sauce when you walk by; and there are some karenderia’s that offer lutong bahay (home-cooked) meals.

Another destination we went to was Camp John Hay. There, we took a little tour around the Bell House, an all-American suburban type of house, complete with wooden floors, a fireplace, and porch. There was also this little arena in the middle of the area (outside the house, of course). Long story short, it was beautiful, and there were tons of spots that would look great as selfie backgrounds.

The Bell House

We also went to Mines View Park, which overlooks Baguio City. There we saw St. Bernard dogs, which I adore, and my sister rented an ethnic attire of the local tribes, traipsing around the park proudly for a couple minutes before returning it. We also bought some strawberries there, which are priced much cheaper than those you find in the groceries.

My sister in tribal attire

St. Bernard at Mines View Park

Those are just some of the many destinations in Baguio City. All in all, I could say that the place was very refreshing, definitely a must-visit for those who are fond of the cool weather but are forced to deal with all this humidity year round. The only downside I could say are the narrow highways which cause traffic during rush hour, and the sight of all those people waiting in line to get a ride and go home isn’t something I, personally, like to see, not because they’re an inconvenience, but because it emphasizes the lack of availability of public utility vehicles. Regardless, I would love to return for a visit. – G

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