In the beginning of the year, Paul asked for my help to organize a Baguio trip for his family. Like any typical family from Manila or near provinces, Baguio is a nice place to go when you are in need of a fresh view or to spend time with family. Unlike Zambales and La Union who cater the millennials more, Baguio is a family-friendly place that caters all ages, perfect for all kinds of family.
Disclaimer: I went with a family of 5 adults & 1 senior.
Baguio City, which is 260 km away from Manila, is known to be the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” for its colder weather during the summer due to its location. But with the new expressways, SCTEX & TPLEX, the travel time of 8 hours to Baguio is reduced to 4 hours, making the driving easy and Baguio as already an all year round destination.
I actually can see more of the people going up to Baguio during December to January to experience the less than ten degrees temperature.
Driving to Baguio
We left Rizal around 4:30 AM on a Friday and enter NLEX via Mindanao Exit. Two hours after, we had a CR break in SCTEX and continue driving until TPLEX Pozzurubio Exit. We stopped at Mcdonalds Rosario La Union for breakfast before we traverse the 47-km Marcos Highway. The ride is smooth and fast until we got stucked in traffic just in the entrance of Baguio City. Turns out, traffic has also invaded the City of Pines.
XCS gas (Honda City) – P1500
NLEX (Mindanao Exit) – SCTEX (Tarlac) – P340
TPLEX (La Paz to Pozzorubio) – P270
Itinerary (with budget)
4:30 AM – Departed from Rizal
We departed from Taytay, Rizal early morning of a Friday to avoid traffic. We went to gas up and double check our cars at a near Petron.
8:00 AM – Breakfast at Mcdonald’s Rosario, La Union
Before driving thru the 47 km Marcos Highway (Kennon Road is still closed due to falling rocks), we stuffed ourselves with a heavy breakfast since we will be having a late lunch as well.
12:00 NN – Dress up like Igorots on Wright Park (P20)
We spent almost an hour in traffic just in the entrance of Baguio City. We skipped Botanical Gardens and head straight to Wright Park. There’s a parking lot but can only cater a few cars.
There are two stores where you can rent Igorot costumes, one beside the stairs from the parking and horseback riding & another one on Wright Park. I advice you to rent the one in Wright Park since it got nicer backdrop of the pine trees and not that crowded.
12:30 PM – Walk along Wright Park
We bought some strawberry taho (P20) and take some photos along the pine trees. I remembered this place with lots of posentia and other flowers but there seems not much anymore.
12:45 PM – The Mansion
There’s nothing much to do in The Mansion except to take photos. For the Instagrammers out there, the gate is a sure beautiful background.
1:15 PM – Horseback Riding (P200/30 min)
Since we are still killing time until our airbnb check in time, we decided to try horseback riding in Wright Park. It costs P200 for 30 minutes and P300 for one hour. 30 minutes seem long to ride a horse just around a small round trail so we asked if two person can share one horse and ride it for 15 minutes each. They agreed. It only cost me P100. 🙂
It was my first time to ride a horse so I let the guide hold the horse’s rope. But he taught me slowly the basic of riding that by the end of my 15 minutes I was able to ride a jogging horse. It was fun.
2:30 PM – Check-in in our Airbnb (P11,000/2 nights)
My boyfriend’s parents want a place where they can cook so we rented an airbnb instead of a hotel. It is in a nice location, just a 10 minute walk from Burnham Park. We got it a little pricier since we already booked it 2 weeks before the trip and we are 8 people in all. Sign up in airbnb using my link to get P600 off your first booking. Here’s our airbnb link.
We ate our late lunch and rested for a while before we head out again.
5:30 PM – Boat ride at Burnham Park (P250/30 min)
We arrived at Burnham Park just in time for sunset. We rented a big boat for 8 people for 250 pesos for 30 minutes. It was already dark when we paddle our boat around the lake. If you are mosquito-prone like me, it is not a good time to do this.
6:15 PM – Rent a bike (P80/hr)
Beside the the Burnham lake, there are a lot of bike rentals where you can enjoy the cool breeze of the city. We rented 2 go kart bikes (3-wheeled) and one pedicab for one hour. It’s tiring that I’m sweating despite the cold weather.
8:00 PM – Dinner at Good Taste (P1,100)
There’s a line when we got to Good Taste. It was one of the recommended family restaurants here since it’s cheap, generous servings and really tastes good. We didn’t wait too long in line but waited around 30+ minutes for the food. It was jampacked! We got 4 sharing meals (P1100) that is still too much for 8 people.
9:30 PM – Christmas Village, Baguio Country Club (P120)
We took a taxi (P100) from Good Taste to Baguio Country Club to see the Christmas Village. Its a nice place for kids and kids in heart. They have soap foam as DIY snow that the kids around enjoyed so much.
Rate: Adult (P120) | Kids (P50) | Seniors (P85) | PWD & BCC Member (free)
10:00 AM – Baguio Cathedral
We can’t miss this beautiful Baguio Cathedral. There are Saturday mass at 6 AM, 7 AM & 5 PM.
11 AM – Mines View
Mines View is still a nice place to visit for the amazing overlooking view but not on a weekend because of the crowd. The Good Shepherd is also here so we bought our pasalubongs already. Parking space is hard so I advice you to take the taxi instead or go on a weekday!
12:30 PM – Camp John Hay
If you have home cooked foods, you can enjoy your lunch in the Camp John Hay in a picnic style. There are a lot of big families having their picnic here. We just dropped by to take photos in the gigantic pine trees and look around.
Rates: Picnic table (whole day) – P300 | Picnic Table (3 hours) – P200 | Picnic Grounds – P15/pax | Overnight Camping – P300/pax
2:00 PM – 50’s Diner (P1300)
Another cheap restaurant good for family is 50’s Diner. Meals are below P200 it’s already a generous serving. Too bad their milkshakes (what other said are best here) are not available that day. Bonus point is their IG-worthy restaurant.
4 PM – Valley of Colors
On our way to the Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, we pass by this colorful houses. There are a lot of cars stopping in the side of the road to take photos. We did the same. This spot is famous on Instagram but I advice you not to expect too much.
4:30 PM – Strawberry Picking at La Trinidad Strawberry Farm (P500 / kg)
We drove almost an hour from Baguio City Center to pick strawberries on La Trinidad Strawberry Farm. You need to buy a minimum of 1kg to be able to pick strawberries on your own. We decided to split it into two so my boyfriend’s sister and I would have half kg each and the farmer let us, four people, pick up for the 1kg.
Vegetables are a lot cheaper here too. And oh of course never miss the strawberry ice cream.
7:00 PM – Went back to airbnb and cook dinner
If you’re traveling with big family, it’s still nice (and cheaper) to cook dinner.
9:00 PM – Sky Ranch, SM Baguio (P100 / entrance fee)
Baguio Sky Ranch is small compared to other but most of the people inside are local kids enjoying themselves with the rides and games. We rode the Super Vikings (P100), Baguio Eye (P150) and Drop Tower (P100). Other rides are already for kids. I would have skipped this if not because of my boyfriend’s sisters.
10 AM – Check out of Airbnb
11:00 AM – Lourdes Grotto
Before going down to Manila, we wanted to pass by the Lourdes Grotto since it’s also a Sunday. It’s a 252 steps until you reach Mama Mary but if you are with a senior, there are already roads where you can directly drive on top to skip the stairs. We lit some candles and pray in the small chapel beside the grotto.
12 NN – Bye Baguio
2:30 PM – Pass by Manaog Church
Boyfriend’s mother and grandmother requested to pass by Manaog Church first before we go home. I’m actually glad they did because I haven’t came back since I went before my board exam. It was crowded on a Sunday and the tropical weather is back. We just lit some candles again, prayed at the church and take some photos outside.
3:30 PM – Late Lunch at Chowking Binalonan
The fast foods around Manaog church are jampacked so we decided to eat first at Binalonan town proper before we head back to Manila.
7:00 PM – Hello again, Manila
Back to regular programming. 🙁
It’s a short but happy vacation and can’t wait to go back again to Baguio since there’s still a lot more to see. If you’re planning to go to Baguio with you big family, we can talk in the comment section below.