At the beginning of the year, Paul asked for my help to organize a Weekend in Baguio DIY Itinerary 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 to the millennials more, Baguio is a family-friendly place that caters to all ages, perfect for all kinds of families.
Disclaimer: I went with a family of 5 adults & 1 senior.
Baguio City, which is 260 km away from Manila, is the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” for its colder weather during the summer due to its location. It is located in the mountains of Benguet Province. 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 can see more people going up to Baguio from December to January to experience less than ten degrees.
Driving to Baguio
We left Rizal around 4:30 AM on a Friday and entered NLEX via Mindanao Exit. Two hours after, we had a CR break in SCTEX and continued driving until TPLEX Pozzurubio Exit. We stopped at Mcdonald’s Rosario La Union for breakfast before we traversed the 47-km Marcos Highway. The ride was smooth and fast until we got stuck in traffic just at the entrance of Baguio City. It 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
Baguio DIY 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-checked our cars 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 at the entrance of Baguio City. We skipped Botanical Gardens and headed straight to Wright Park. There’s a parking lot but can only cater to 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 advise you to rent the one in Wright Park since it has a more excellent pine trees’ backdrop and is not that crowded.
12:30 PM – Walk along Wright Park
We bought some strawberry taho (P20) and took some photos along with 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 cost P200 for 30 minutes and P300 for one hour. 30 minutes seemed long to ride a horse just around a small round trail, so we asked if two people could share one horse and ride it for 15 minutes each. They agreed. It only cost me P100. 🙂
It was my first time riding a horse, so the guide held the horse’s rope. But the guide taught me slowly the basics 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 night)
My boyfriend’s parents wanted a place where they could cook, so we rented an Airbnb instead of a hotel. Our original option was to rent a Baguio villa. Still, since we started searching only a week before our trip (+ the holidays), all villas, the most famous accommodation in Baguio, are fully booked. The good thing is we still saw this Airbnb in a lovely location, just a 10-minute walk from Burnham Park but a little small for eight people.
We ate our late lunch and rested for a while before we headed 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 eight people for 250 pesos for 30 minutes. It was already dark when we paddled 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)
Besides Burnham lake, there are a lot of bike rentals where you can enjoy the cool breeze of the city. We rented two 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 since it’s cheap, has generous servings, and tastes good. We didn’t wait too long in line but waited around 30+ minutes for the food. It was jampacked! We got four sharing meals (P1100) that are still too much for eight 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. It’s a nice place for kids and kids in the 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 is Saturday mass at 6 AM, 7 AM & 5 PM.
11 AM – Mines View
Mines View is still a nice place to visit for the fantastic overlooking view but not on the weekend because of the crowd. The Good Shepherd is also here, so we bought our pasalubongs already. Parking space is hard, so I advise 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 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 suitable for the family is 50’s Diner. Meals are below P200. It’s already a generous serving. Too bad their milkshakes (what others said are best here) are not available that day. A 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 these colorful houses. There are a lot of cars stopping on the side of the road to take photos. We did the same. This spot is famous on Instagram, but I advise 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 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 cooked dinner
If you’re traveling with a big family, it’s still lovely (and cheaper) to cook dinner.
9:00 PM – Sky Ranch, SM Baguio (P100 / entrance fee)
Baguio Sky Ranch is small compared to others, but most 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 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 prayed 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 went home. I’m glad they did because I haven’t come back since I went before my board exam. It was crowded on a Sunday, and the tropical weather was back. We just lit some candles again, prayed at the church, and took some photos outside.
3:30 PM – Late Lunch at Chowking Binalonan
The fast foods around Manaog church are jam-packed, so we decided to eat first at Binalonan town proper before heading back to Manila.
7:00 PM – Hello again, Manila
Back to regular programming. 🙁
It’s a short but happy vacation, and I can’t wait to go back again to Baguio since there’s still a lot more to see. If you plan to go to Baguio with your big family, we can talk in the comment section below.