You’ll definitely experience Japan in Baguio City with these two new attractions that opened despite the pandemic affecting the tourism industry. First is the “Little Kyoto” Bamboo Ecopark in St. Francis Xavier Seminary in Pacdal, Liteng, and second is Mirador Heritage and Ecopark in Mirador Jesuit Villa, beside Lourdes Grotto. Since I’m missing international travels for a while now, I dropped by these places on our first wedding errand in Baguio last January 2021.
JAPAN IN BAGUIO: LITTLE KYOTO VIBES IN BAMBOO ECO-PARK PACDAL
We got lost first because we selected the wrong pin “Bamboo Sanctuary” in Waze. Beware of that! The correct pin is the “Baguio Bamboo Sanctuary” in Pacdal Liteng. It is inside St. Francis Xavier Seminary, and the road leading to it is narrow and steep. Thankfully, they have a wide parking space and no entrance fee implemented. But we decided to donate instead for the place.
I’ve seen a lot of photos of this place on Facebook travel groups before our travel, but it still amazed me seeing it with my own two eyes. The bamboos are bounded into the unpaved walkway by a red fence. The color red is an excellent choice for it gave a pop of color in photos, making the place more alive. The dirt walkway is somehow paved for walking that you won’t worry about your kid or senior companions tripping. But it sure will be a dirty experience on rainy days.
This place is described as “Little Kyoto” on social media, and I agree with it as someone who’s been to Kyoto’s famous Bamboo Grove before. The bamboos here in Baguio are just thinner and smaller than the ones in Kyoto, but maybe if we gave it more time, it’d grow beautifully too. But the experience of walking in the middle of enclosed bamboos is the same that I can’t help but take just so many photos. Truly, a Japan in Baguio City moment.
Baguio’s bamboo eco-park is not that small, yet it’s not large either. There are multi-levels, but the main walkway has the most beautiful view. We decided to follow the upward path until the bamboos were slowly replaced by large pine trees and led us into an open overlooking spot.
There are snacks, a restroom, and bamboo benches available by the exit where you can rest.
JAPAN IN BAGUIO: A TORII GATE IN MIRADOR HERITAGE & ECO-PARK
A torii gate is the highest Japanese element that almost all recognizes. So I asked my boyfriend to drop by this new attraction despite our busy schedule because aside from the gorgeous torii gate, the view is incredible. Mirador Heritage and Eco-park is located in Mirador Hills, just beside Lourdes Grotto. The road leading to it is well-paved, and they also have wide parking.
I didn’t research anything about this place before going, and all I knew was the torii gate with a beautiful view of the Quirino Hills. We paid P50/person entrance fee and a P25 parking fee, and the man behind the ticket counter told us that we’d enjoy it up there because the sky is clear. He ushered us to a rocky entrance, and I was confused because I thought we would just follow the stairs to Lourdes Grotto and enter on the back of it.
ARASHIYAMA BAMBOO GROVE
So we followed the rocky stairs that weren’t paved well, that we struggled on keeping our balance until we were shocked we were in another bamboo forest just like the one in Pacdal. They’re almost the same, but this one in Mirador Heritage has more of a forest ambiance where bamboos are everywhere.
After the Bamboo Grove, we were teleported to a rock garden that we needed to hike. This moment is where we realize that we were doomed because of not researching. I was wearing a skirt and non-hiking shoes, and it’s a long way of not properly paved rocky stairs to the top. It was a funny experience, though, and I saw a lot of gorgeous photo areas that I couldn’t climb because it would be dangerous with my shoes.
The Rock Garden is actually beautiful. We just didn’t get the chance to appreciate it because we weren’t prepared for it. There are benches around too where you can stop to rest and enjoy the view.
Mirador Peace Memorial
Finally, after just following the main path, we found the spot that we wanted to see in the first place. The torii gate was not as big as the one in Japan’s, but still, it’s beautiful. The bell in the middle is from an unexploded bomb dropped in Mirador Hill during World War II. It was built to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.
There is a multi-level terrain surrounding the torii gate, and each level has white steel benches where you can sit and enjoy the view. I want to warn you that it’s primarily lovers here. This place would be the new dating spot.
We were indeed lucky to see it first in a clear sky. Due to Baguio’s unpredictable weather, it’s usually on a foggy background. It would have been prettier on a sunrise or sunset.
Wander B Tips!
- Go early in the morning to avoid crowds and for better photos. Mirador Heritage is open as early as 6 AM and Bamboo Eco-park Pacdal at 8 AM.
- Wear hiking shoes if you want to explore the whole Mirador Heritage and Eco-Park.
- Kids and seniors can enter behind the Lourdes Grotto, so they won’t need to hike the Rock Gardens to see the Mirador Peace Memorial. Just show your entrance ticket to the guard.
- Do not vandalize on the bamboos and rocks. Do not leave any trash. Be responsible travelers.
Are these places worth it?
Do these places make you experience Japan in Baguio City? YES, both these new tourist spots are beautiful and unique in Baguio City. It is worth adding to your itinerary because where other places can you visit a bamboo grove or a torii gate with the view of Quirino Hills? Instagram travelers would definitely love these places, but those who are not would still enjoy it for the peace and serenity.