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Baguio and Banaue

Baguio and Banaue

Towards the turn of the 20th century, the American city planner Daniel Burnham carved on a valley in the upland Cordillera region of northern Luzon a summer recreational center, the city of Baguio.
With its nippy climate and pleasant mountain scenery, Baguio is a favored destination among artists, honeymooners and others looking for a cool retreat. It is also a faith healing haven and a university town.

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Baguio & Banaue

Towards the turn of the 20th century, the American city planner Daniel Burnham carved on a valley in the upland Cordillera region of northern Luzon a summer recreational center, the city of Baguio.
With its nippy climate and pleasant mountain scenery, Baguio is a favored destination among artists, honeymooners and others looking for a cool retreat. It is also a faith healing haven and a university town.

Also nestled within the Central Cordillera mountain range is the postcard-pretty town of Banaue.

Banaue’s claim to fame are the rice terraces – part of the 20,000 hectares of engineering marvel that also span the towns of Hungduan, Mayoyao and Kiangan. The terraces were built more than 2,000 years ago by the Ifugao tribe, using only their bare hands and crude implements.

Inscribed in the World Heritage List, this “8th Wonder of the World” serves as a living testament to man’s genius at turning a rugged and forbidding terrain into a continuing source of sustenance.

Baguio and Banaue are anchor tourist destinations and part of the 7,000 times more islands that make up the Philippine archipelago.

Baguio of Leisurely Pursuits

PhilippineTravel.com - El Cielito Inn Baguio

PhilippineTravel.com – El Cielito Inn Baguio

One of the cleanest and greenest cities in the country, Baguio is made for sightseeing. And for strolls and boat rides and gentle trots around the park. And for golf. Kennon Road, completed in 1905, opened Baguio to tourism. The zigzagging path previews the scenic highlights of the city. Along the 32-kilometer highway are the Bridal Veil and Colorado waterfalls.

Synonymous with Baguio is Burnham Park. Located in the heart of the city, the park’s features include a man-made lagoon ideal for boat rides, a skating rink, an athletic field and stadium, basketball and tennis courts, a biking zone, tree-and-flower lined promenades, and a plant market.

A popular golfing destination, the city takes pride in its Baguio Country Club and Camp John Hay. What used to be the rest-and-recreation base of American military personnel, the Camp is being transformed into a world-class resort and is also Baguio’s biggest pine tree conservation area. Its newly refurbished 18-hole golf course rivals that of the Country Club which has pretty garden-patched cottages surrounding its fairways.

Ornate iron gates open to the Mansion House, the official summer residence of Philippine presidents. It offers tourists with great photo opportunities with its rectangular reflecting pool along a tree-lined walkway. It also houses a museum of presidential memorabilia. Near the Mansion House is Wright Park where neophyte riders can trot around an oval track guided by trainers who lead horses with a hand-held leash. At the Mines View Park, tourists can have a panoramic view of the old mines of Benguet. At the park entrance is a flea market for souvenir items.

PhilippineTravel.com - Baguio Burnham Suites

PhilippineTravel.com – Baguio Burnham Suites

Sitting on top of a hill in Upper Session Road is the twin-spire Baguio Cathedral, a city landmark. Another pilgrimage site is the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes which sits on top of Dominican Hill. Devotees prefer to climb the 252-step ascent than drive through a winding road to reach the shrine. Bell Church holds a religious service of mixed Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian and Christian dogmas but tourists come here to have their fortunes told.

Located on an elevated pine-forested ground is the Philippine Military Academy, the country’s foremost military learning institution. Its Saturday morning Parade in Review by cadets in full regalia never fails to attract visitors. Also within campus is a Military Museum.

A cultural haven established by noted Baguio artist BenCab, Tam-awan Village recreates a typical ethnic village in the Cordilleras with authentic tribal homes uprooted from their original locations and re-set on similar terrain. There is also an art gallery-cum-coffee shop.

Banaue of Painterly Dreams

Because of its high altitude, Banaue is often described as “where land merges with the clouds to meet the heavens” with the rice terraces as “the stairway to the sky.”

Banaue is a place for nature adventures and cultural immersion. Days are for indulging in such activities as strolling, biking, and trekking. Evenings are for campfire chats at a village or warm indoor cosseting at the lodges and inns.

PhilippineTravel.com - Hotel Elizabeth Baguio

PhilippineTravel.com – Hotel Elizabeth Baguio

A leading tourism destination in Asia, the Banaue rice terraces start from the base of the Cordilleras and reach up to several thousand feet high. Its length, if stretched from end to end, could encircle half of the globe.
The rice paddies are fed by mountain springs and streams that are channeled into an irrigation canal that runs downhill through the terraces.
In the village of Batad, the terraces take the shape of an amphitheater and can be reached by a 12-kilometer ride from Banaue Hotel and a 2-hour hike through mountain trails.

After trekking through the terraces, cool retreats indeed are the spring-fed stream of Guihob and the magnificent Tappiya Waterfalls which has an enormous basin for swimming.

Shopping takes a different twist in Banaue. While souvenir items are offered by curio stores, the more exciting way to shop, however, is to go on a village visit, watch a family demonstrate their native craft and then haggle for a better price on their product.

Island Flavors

It has been said that there is only one kind of lucrative business in Baguio, and that is dining.

This, of course, is overly exaggerated but then who can question this wisdom with the proliferation of food places offering all kinds of eats in this tiny city!

Star Café along Lower Session Road is noted for its excellent breads and pies and fine Chinese cuisine while the adjoining Dainty Restaurant has the best coffee in town and good noodles, too. For really great old-fashioned breakfasts, check out Casa Vallejo at the Upper Session Road. New Bonuan at the Happy Glen Loop, Jade Restaurant along Marcos Highway and Barrio Fiesta at the Upper Session Road are where you can partake of home-cooked native cooking. Kalapaw Restaurant in Chuntug Street specializes in grilled squids and tuna jaws. Inn Rocio in Kisad Road dishes out Continental food, Mario’s Restaurant in Upper Session Road has good steaks, great Caesar’s Salad, and decadent cakes. And the artsy Café by the Ruins in Chuntug Street serves eclectic, seasonal dishes. At the Hotel Monticello in Kennon Road, Hakuun Sanso Restaurant serves authentic Japanese cuisine while 50′s Diner specializes in traditional American staples. Rose Bowl Steak House and Restaurant in Harrison Road offers an international fare of Chinese, American and Filipino dishes. The local food chain Don Henrico’s has its beginnings at the Upper Session Road and serves yummy pastas and pizzas.

While Baguio bursts at the seams with restaurants, one has a limited choice in Banaue where most dining outlets are found in the mountain inns and lodges. Banaue Hotel has theme restaurants and offers catering services for picnic meals.

Souvenir Hunting

Baguio is a shopping destination for great souvenirs which can be bought at a steal.

The Baguio City Market in Magsaysay Avenue is a good place to start for souvenir hunting. Its stalls are filled with all kinds of ethnic products and bottled delicacies. Adjacent to it is the Maharlika Livelihood Center where there is a good selection of dry goods and woodcarvings.

Heavenly fruit jams and cookies can be had at the Good Shepherd Convent on Gibraltar Road while exquisite silver filigree novelty items are sold at the St. Louis University’s Filigree Shop along Assumption Road.

Beautiful tapestries and hand-woven linens are made at the Easter Weaving Room in Guisad Road and at Narda’s Handicraft in Upper Session Road.

Another good place to buy hand-carved curio items is at the Ifugao Woodcarvers Village some five kilometers off the city proper.

Warm Hospitality

Filipinos do not simply provide the guest with a place to rest or park their luggage, they also share the best of what they have. This warm, effusive brand of hospitality is what distinguishes Philippine hotels from the others.
There are a choice of comfortable accommodations, a number of them charming mountain inns and lodges, both in Baguio and Banaue.

PhilippineTravel.com - Baquio and Banaue hotels

PhilippineTravel.com – Baquio and Banaue hotels

In Baguio:

Baguio Hotels at PhilippineTravel.com

7,000 Times More Surprises

Discover 7,000 times more surprises that await beyond Baguio and Banaue.

TUGUEGARAO. Tuguegarao is the capital town of the province of Cagayan which is situated at the northeastern tip of Luzon. The Cagayan Museum in the Provincial Capitol Complex has an interesting collection of anthropological fossils and other excavated artifacts. St. Peter’s Cathedral, built in 1761, is the seat of the Diocese of Tuguegarao. Nearby is the San Jacinto Chapel, built in 1724 and the first church in Cagayan.
Rio Grande de Cagayan, the Philippines longest river, flows from Tuguegarao in the south to Aparri in the north. It teems with freshwater fish.

The town of Peñablanca, 24 kilometers away from Tuguegarao, is the jump-off point to Callao Caves, a series of more than 300 chambers of which only 27 are explored. The main cave – which has a Gothic chapel complete with a stone altar and pews – can be reached after a short boat trip across the Callao River and after climbing some 300 steps up a cliff wall.

LA UNION. The stretch of white and gray sand beaches that line the towns of La Union is the main attraction of the province located in the southwestern Ilocos region in northern Luzon. Foremost of these beaches are Darigayos-Paraoir Beach in Bacnotan, San Juan Beach in San Francisco-Canaoay, Bauang Beach, and San Nicolas Beach or “Puerto de Japon” in Agoo.

Poro Point has excellent diving spots, notably: Black Buoy, Fourteen Mile Reef, Tamyo Reef, Research Reef and Fagg Reef. Mona Liza in San Juan, north of San Fernando is a prime surfing area.
The Provincial Capitol is an imposing yellow building built during the American regime. It sits atop a hill in San Fernando overlooking the bay. West of the Capitol is Museo de la Union which showcases the archaeological finds in the province. Museo Iloko, beside the Agoo municipal hall, houses religious artifacts, antique furniture, porcelain wares and miniature dolls.

Christ on the Mount stands atop a hill along the Marcos Highway overlooking the town of Tubao. The miraculous image of Our Lady of Charity is enshrined in the Agoo Cathedral.

THE ILOCOS REGION. One common denominator that bonds the Ilocos region is the Church – whether it be the opulent centuries-old Catholic churches or the newer and simpler Philippine Independent churches founded by the Ilocano renegade Bishop Gregorio Aglipay in the late 1890′s – for the Ilocanos are a God-fearing and prayerful people.
To protect their grand churches from earthquakes, the Ilocanos developed an architectural style unique to the region which they called “earthquake Baroque.” The churches of Santa Maria and Paoay are two of four Philippine Baroque churches inscribed in the World Heritage List.
The Ilocos region has a scenic but sparse landscape of narrow coastal plains, sand dunes, the ascetic Ilocos Mountains and the wild China Sea.
In Ilocos Sur, the places to see are the 18th century Old Mestizo District in Vigan, another World Heritage Site, the awesome seascape of Bantay, the majestic Pinsal Falls in Sta. Maria, the location setting for many local films, and the white sand Puos Beach in Cabugao.

In Ilocos Norte, the capital city of Laoag is the gateway of international trade and travel in the region. Other points of attraction include: Paoay and its lake and sand dunes; Cape Bojeador in Burgos; the breathtaking landscape of Pagudpud; the scenic beaches of Pasuquin; and the mystical town of Dingras.

Planning Your Trip

Baguio can be reached by land and air travel from Manila, the country’s main international gateway.

The Philippines is accessible from the travel capitals of the world. Traveling time to Manila from Hong Kong is an hour and 50 minutes; from Singapore, 3 hours and 10 minutes; from Bangkok, 3 hours and 50 minutes; Tokyo, 4 hours and 15 minutes; Sydney, 10 hours and 20 minutes; London, 20 hours and 45 minutes; Paris, 21 hours and 15 minutes; Frankfurt, 19 hours and 40 minutes; San Francisco, 16 hours and 15 minutes; Los Angeles, 15 hours and 20 minutes; and New York, 25 hours and 20 minutes.

Flights are scheduled 4x-a-week from Manila to Baguio, with less than an hour of travel time.

There are also regular and air-conditioned buses that leave their Manila stations for Baguio. Travel time is approximately 7 hours. The buses, which leave on scheduled runs, do stopovers at designated points along the route for refreshments and other necessities. Reservations are needed before boarding the buses.

By air:

Telephone (632) 8403811 to 16

By bus:

832 Aurora Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City
Telephone (632) 4101991
1600 Dimasalang St., Sampaloc, Manila
Telephone (632) 7312879
New York cor EDSA, Quezon City
Telephone (632) 7272287
Rizal Ave., Sta. Cruz, Manila
Telephone (632) 7349836
EDSA cor East Ave., Quezon City
Telephone (632) 3614665
561 EDSA, Pasay City
Telephone (632) 8330293/8335019

From Manila, Banaue can be reached by bus which passes through the central and northern Luzon provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya. Bus companies require reservation for the daily trips. Travel time is 9 hours. Banaue is also accessible by bus from Baguio. Travel time is 9 hours.

By bus:

Dimasalang cor. Laong-laan St.
Sampaloc, Manila
Telephone (632) 7432227/7436673
832 Aurora Blvd. cor. Driod St.
Cubao, Quezon City
Telephone (632) 4101991

Source: http://www.dotpcvc.gov.ph

Hotels in Baguio – PhilippineTravel.com

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