What to see & do in Baguio
Baguio City is an elevated urban area in the Cordilleras, in Northern Luzon. Its history, dating back to the American colonial period, has greatly influenced the many attractions that tourists often go to. One of them is Burnham Park, named after the American architect who laid out the plan for Baguio City. Burnham Park is a very large area that houses a man-made lake where locals and tourists congregate for boating activities or to hold a picnic. It also houses the Melvin Jones Grand Stand where outdoor concerts are held as well as political and sports events. The Melvin Jones Grand Stand is sometimes transformed into a football field.
Aside from football, families or groups of friends can also engage in skating and table tennis. Tots may prefer kiddie rides which may not require much balance and coordination -- just a good grip to ensure that they don't fall off. Toddlers can also have fun exploring the balloon playground or other rides, such as bump cars, carousel and kiddie ferris wheel. The non-sporty type may opt for carnival games. Bikes, whether with three wheels or two are also leased out to children who are learning to ride a bike or adults who are already good at it. After a grueling time, you can recharge at any of the restaurants or food stalls within the park.
Another remnant of the American past and which has survived as a tourist attraction in Baguio is Camp John Hay. It used to be a rest and recreation spot for U.S. servicemen stationed in the Philippines. Camp John Hay is where you can find a golf course, amphitheatre, picnic grounds, butterfly sanctuary, Liberty and Art Parks and the Igorot and Mermaid Gardens. It also has an EcoTrail with pony trails and allows people to involve themselves in paintball games and wall climbing. The vast complex has restaurants and shopping centers. Dining among its many restaurants is a traveler's treat in itself. One can choose to dine in an upscale restaurant serving steaks or opt for fastfood instead. Coffee shops and cafes are also available. It would be a great way to sip a hot drink amidst a sea of green (not the golfing green, but amidst plants, shrubs and trees).
Mines View Park, while not a remnant of the American past, is considered as an offshoot of the mining activity common in Baguio City. Mines View Park has a viewing deck that gives a vista of the city's gold and copper mines, as well as the cordillera. However, the view is only a miniscule part of what this park is all about. It's all about shopping. Shopping is made possible, not in large shopping malls, but in various stalls that line up by the parking lot at the entrance of the park. Goods sold range from silver jewelry items to brooms, wood carvings, sweaters, souvenir shirts and different kinds of food, whether for personal consumption or gifts, called pasalubong.
Of the museums in Baguio, the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Museum differs from most museums, in that, it showcases the evolution of PMA cadets' uniforms through the years, cadet's quarters, weapons used and sometimes retrieved from captives, and several pictures and paintings depicting stories of battle or war.
Other places worth visiting in Baguio are: Wright Park, the Mansion, Baguio Botanical Garden, Lourdes Grotto, Tam-awan Village (depicting local architecture and artistry), Wood Carver's Village, Easter Weaving Room and Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary.