OF LEISURELY PURSUITS
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 parks 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 Baguios 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.
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 countrys 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
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BANAUE OF PAINTERLY
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.
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.
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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,
Marios Restaurant in Upper Session Road has good steaks, great
Caesars 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 50s 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 Henricos has
its beginnings at the Upper Session Road and serves yummy pastas
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.
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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
source: Department of Tourism
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