Panagbenga Festival? Go to Baguio City or the “City of Pines” also regarded as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” because of its cool climate.
The grandest City of Baguio is located in the northern part of Luzon and currently the seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). Baguio nowadays is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country. Baguio’s location, climate, natural assets, cultural heritage and great history truly made this city fit for business, residence and vacation.
Why Baguio is okay for business?
Baguio is among the leading economic progressive cities in the Philippines nowadays and industrialized by far than some cities in Metro Manila. The place is strategic enough because there are already established hotels, banks manufacturing companies, export zone, BPOs and call centers. Aside from that, Baguio and the rest of Cordillera areas produces wide variety of flowers, fruits and vegetables. The convergence of products or goods of its neighboring places contributed much to the healthy trading in the area. Back then, farming is the main source of livelihood of the locals in Baguio. Farm goods are sold or retailed in bulk at the Baguio central market and some are delivered in Metro Manila. But now, Baguio is already a home of many business entities whether small, medium or large scale, migrant workers, foreign and local tourists or students. Knowing the population of Baguio is getting more dense – this a good prospect for the growing business sectors. All in all, Baguio is a place fit not just for business but also for people who wants a lifetime stay.
Baguio City as a permanent place to live
Honestly, I have been to Baguio City for two times already and planning again to go back soon. At first, I was amazed by its stunning scenery. At my second visit, I was even more amazed by its culture and historical facts. Besides, Baguio’s locals are very hospitable per observation during my visit. Transportation wouldn’t be a problem because, many operators providing public transport – Public Utility Vehicles (PUV) that you can hire just like you are in the metro. To name some of their public transport vehicles, they have jeepneys, cabs, taxi, fx and buses. For sure, you can go to your favorite place in Baguio anytime you want. There are also malls and convenience stores built nearby, so you don’t have to worry about your usual city shopping routine and buying grocery items. When it comes to education, Baguio City has many well-known universities and colleges whether local or international namely University of Baguio (UB), Saint Louis University (SLU), University of the Philippines Baguio (UP Baguio), Philippine Military Academy (PMA), University of Cordilleras (formerly Baguio Colleges Foundation), STI College, AMA Computer College, Shalom International School, Brent International School and more. Given that, families can widely select from any school available in town which they deem best for their children. Graduates from any school in Baguio have a big chance to land a job since there are many big and well-known companies in the area. In the spiritual aspect, majority of the people in Baguio are Catholics, followed by other religious groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses, United Church of Christ (UCCP), Jesus is Lord Church (JIL), Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), our Muslim brothers and more. Churches, Chapels, Mosques and other house for worships can be easily accessed in the place.
To conclude, Baguio is a nice place where you can find diversity in many aspects; diversity of people, religions, ethnicity and race. These diversities even make it a good place to live because, regardless of your country, nationality and religious beliefs Baguio is still open for you. And in common, it is adding more significance to the culture and historical development of Baguio City.
Baguio City as one of the leading tourist destinations in the Philippines
Despite, the swelling population and commercialization, Baguio is able to preserve its culture and colorful action-packed history. Camp John Hay and Burnham Park are just two of the many historical places in Baguio wherein both contributed much in the tourism industry of the city. As they said, Baguio is the City of Pines because of the volume of Pine trees growing in the area. The subtropical highland climate makes it more suitable for other tropical plants to freely grow. In fact, there are vast strawberry farms in Baguio which is also one of the “MUST-SEEs”.
Based on my experience, the best time to go to Baguio is during the month of February as they celebrate the Panagbenga Festival (Blooming Flowers Festival). During this time, the whole city becomes very lively and many activities or events happening throughout the month. These activities may include the opening parade, trade fairs and bazaars, street dancing competition, parade of floats, flower stalls, food outlets and live band performance at the session road, and last event will be the closing ceremonies. Going to the Night Market at the Harrison Road is one of the things you shouldn’t miss. There you can buy ukay-ukay (bargains) items like jackets, pants, t-shirts, shorts, bonnets etc. You can see many stalls selling Baguio’s sweet delicacies such as strawberry and ube jam. Aside from that, many souvenir items and indigenous products being sold at a reasonable price. When you think about those activities you can do and those places you can visit whether daytime or nighttime, surely there is no boring moment throughout your stay in Baguio. In my opinion, Burnham Park is at best and very romantic especially when visited before the sun sets and at night. It’s nice to see from a distance that many couples and families enjoying the colorful pedal and paddle boats for just 250 pesos for 30 minutes.
If you want to have an overlook of the abandoned gold and copper mines in Baguio and the beautiful sunrise, you should visit the Mines View Park. It has a deck where you can also have a wide view of the valleys and natural landscapes decorated by many Pine trees. This place is really stuffed with the rich beginnings of the locals in the area. During my visit, I saw indigenous people wearing their usual traditional costumes and holding a spear. The are many stalls in the area selling souvenirs and sweet delicacies including strawberry jams, ube jams, candies and more. But most of the tourists prefer to buy strawberry and ube jams at the Good Shepherd for quality and freshness. Other than those two leading products, they also have peanut brittles, candies and cookies. I’m sure each travel itinerary includes buying of pasalubong and will always be in the to-buy list before going home of every tourist especially Filipinos.
Below is the list of events and places in Baguio that you should visit:
The month long celebration of Panagbenga (Blooming Flower Festival). The celebration includes:
1.Opening Ceremonies and Street Dancing at Panagbenga Park, Melvin Jones, Session Road and Harrison Road
2.Baguio Blooms Exhibition at Lake Drive, Burnham Park
3.Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Grand Alumni Homecoming at Loakan Road
4.Grand Street Dancing Parade at Session Road, Harrison Road, and Panagbenga Park
5.Grand Float Parade at Session Road and Harrison Road
These are some of the captivating places with historical significance in Baguio:
5.Philippine Military Academy (PMA)
6.Camp John Hay
9.Baguio Botanical Garden
14.Asin Hot Springs
15.Wood Carvers Village
17.Balatoc Mines and Crosby Park (outside Baguio located in the town of Itogon)
Going to Baguio is a 4-7 hours of travel from Manila through Victory Liner Bus including the two 15 minutes plus stopovers for regular air-conditioned Bus and 4-6 hours for first class Buses without stopovers. Victory Liner Buses departs within an approximate 1 hour interval, but it depends on the season. To avoid delay, heavy traffic and more inconvenience, I would suggest that you buy Bus ticket in advance and go to Baguio before the Panagbenga Festival. As to my experience at the Bus terminal, I’ve waited for two more hours for the next Bus as a chance passenger. Although it was not so bad experience, but still it is nice to have a safe and relaxed travel experience. For your Bus choice, there are other Bus companies (operators) in Cubao Quezon City, to name some: Partas Bus, Genesis Bus, Cherry Bus, Five Star Bus and others.
Early booking also to a hotel in Baguio is highly encouraged, most hotels during Panagbenga will most likely be fully-booked. If you travel on a tight budget, you may also avail affordable room accommodations in many inns, apartelles, transient houses and others.
Today, Baguio City is not just a tourist destination but also a place where you can spend and enjoy precious moments with your loved ones and bring a lifetime memories with you.
However, as observed, together with the progress and urbanization of Baguio, there are corresponding concerns that needs to be addressed right away. Some of these concerns like conflicting land claims, preserving the heritage areas, road developments and relocation of vendors, stalls – should be in one place wherein there is an information booth and rest rooms for the convenience of visitors. Those are some of the challenges, but as for me, i think these civic, cultural, and environmental challenges are just normal repercussions to a developing city like Baguio.
And it is in the hands of the government officials, business sectors, residents and tourists to meet halfway, helping hand in hand to prevent and solve issues accordingly before it affects the lives of many people in the area.
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