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Monday, February 27, 2012

Baguio City Travel Guide: Baguio and Benguet Discoveries and Hot Spots

Baguio City is known as the summer capital of the Philippines.  It attracts a lot of tourist because of its cool weather.  Baguio City is also the most urbanized city in North Luzon.  There a lot of malls, restaurants,schools, banks and hotels in  Baguio City.  It is also equipped with electricity and connectivity.  Baguio City is filled with both private and public transportation which attributes to its frequent traffic.  However, it is the accessibility and easy transport to, from and within Baguio City that makes it a great tourist location.  There are a lot of foreigners in Baguio City which is why the locals are accustomed and very friendly towards them.



Baguio City Map




Baguio City Climate
Due to its high altitude, Baguio City has a cool temperature ranging from 10 to 23 degrees Celsius.  During the rainy season (May to October), it can be foggy and damp.

Baguio City Trip Budget

The Budget for a Baguio City Trip  ranges from 3,000 php to 5,000 php.  Your  Baguio City Trip  Budget should include allocations for the following:
Transportation

Public Transportation
  • To and From Baguio
    • Bus 
      • Victory Liner
        • Regular (Travel Time: 6-7 hours with 2 stops):
          • Cubao Terminal - 445 php
          • Pasay Terminal - 455 php
          • Caloocan Terminal - 445 php
          • Sampaloc Terminal - 445 php
        • Deluxe (Travel Time: 5-6 hours via SCTEX with CR)  
          •  Cubao Terminal - 715 php
          • Pasay Terminal - 715 php
  • Within the Baguio 
    • Jeep (Minimum Fare is 8.50 php)
    • Taxi (Flag down rate is 35 php for the first 500 meters)
    • Van for Hire 
Private Transportation via car from Manila
  • Take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) up to Exit 85 to get to Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).  Turn right and head for Baguio via Tarlac.  From Tarlac exit, follow the road signs going to MacArthur Highway and drive straight until you reach Rosario, La Union.  Turn right at the junction to Kennon Road or straight from the junction to Marcos Highway. 
Baguio City Trip Itinerary
There are two options in making your Baguio City Trip Itinerary:

1. Avail a tour with a planned out itinerary from travel and tours companies
2. Plan you itinerary by considering the following:
    a.  Baguio City Trip Samples Itineraries
    b.  Baguio City Activities By Area:

Baguio City Downtown Area
Leonard Wood Road Area
  • Botanical Garden (Leonard Wood)
  • Good Shepherd Convent (Gibraltar Road)
  • Mines View Park (End of Gibraltar Road)
  • Teachers Camp (Leonard Wood-Teachers Camp Road)
  • The Mansion (Gibraltar Road)
  • Wright Park (Gibraltar Road)
Commute to Wright Park, The Mansion, Good Shepherd Convent and Mines View Park:
NOTE: All are along Leonard Wood to Gibraltar Road so just drop of where you want to go in this order (Teachers Camp - Botanical Garden - Wright Park and The Mansion - Good Shepherd Convent - Minesview Park)
  • Ride jeepney labelled with "Baguio Plaza-Minesview" at the Minesview Jeepney Terminal. Good Shepherd Convent along Gibraltar Road is around 1 kilometer away Minesview Park(Fare price: 8.50 php)

Camp John Hay Area 
  • Historical Core
  • Scout Hill
  • Ecotrail
  • Treetop Adventure
  • Igorot Garden
  • Shalan di Kabadjo
    • Horse back riding
  • Pagnagbenga Park (Loakan Road)
  • Philippine Military Academy (Loakan Road) - Bring valid ID
Commute Guide to Camp John Hay:
1. From Scout Barrio Jeepney Terminal (formerly Bakekang Terminal)

  • Ride jeepney labelled with "Baguio Plaza-Scout Barrio" at the Scout Barrio Jeepney Terminal.  Tell the driver to drop you off at the gate of Camp John Hay.  (Fare price: 8.50 php)
2. From PMA
  • Ride jeepney or van labelled with "Baguio Plaza-KIAS-PMA-Springhills-Apugan" which will pass by Camp John Hay.
Commute Guide to PMA: Ride jeepney labelled with "Baguio Plaza-KIAS-PMA-Springhills-Apugan" or "Plaza-Loakan-PMA" at the Loakan PMA Jeepney Station.  (Fare price: 18.25 php; Commute Time: Approx. 30 minutes)
 

Itogon Benguet Area
Commute Guide to Balotoc Mines: Ride jeepney labelled with "Acupan-Balatoc" at the Acupan-Balatoc Jeepney Station near the corner of Jose Abad Santor Dr and Harrison Road .  (Fare price: 28 php; Commute Time: Approx. 30-40 minutes)

Naguilan Road Area
Commute Guide to Tam-awan Village and Arko ni Apo: Ride jeepney labelled with "Baguio-Plaza-Quezon Hill-Tam-awan" at the San Luis Jeepney Terminal. You will be dropped off somewhere near so that when you walk uphill, you will reach Tam-awan Village. (Fare price: 8.50 php)



Commute Guide to Lourdes Grotto:
1. From Lourdes Dominican Jeepney Terminal
  • Ride jeepney labelled with "Baguio Plaza-Dominican-Lourdes" at the Lourdes Dominican Jeepney Terminal. (Fare price: 8.50 php)
2. From Tam-awan Village
  • Ride jeepney labelled with "Baguio Plaza-Quezon Hill-Tam-awan" and ask to be dropped off at the intersection between Naguilan Road and Dominican Hill.  Walk down Dominican Hill to reach Lourdes Grotto. (Approximate distance is 400 meters before you reach its 252 steps) (Fare price: 8.50 php)
La Trinidad Benguet Area
Commute to Bell Church and Flower Farm and Strawberry Farm: Ride jeepney labelled with "Baguio-Buyagan" or "Baguio-La Trinidad" along Magsaysay Avenue side of Baguio Center Mall or Trinidad Jeepney Terminal.  You can also see them passing around Shantung Road and Baguio City Hall.  It will first pass by Bell Church which is approximately 4 kilometers away from the Strawberry Farm.  For the Strawberry Farm, ask to be dropped off at the BSU last gate. (Fare price: 11.25 php; Travel time: Approx. 30 minutes - 1 hour depending on traffic)
Marcos Highway Area: 
  • Baguio Dairy Stock Farm 
  • Green Valley
  • Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary (Sto. Tomas Road)
  • Mount Santo Tomas (Tuba, Benguet)
  • Baguio Eco Park
    (Tuba, Benguet)
    • Dinosaur Island
    • The Holy Land
    • Tuba Science Museum

Hope this Travel Tripsters Baguio City Trip Guide Helps!  
(Last Update: June 12,  2016) 

Good Shepherd Convent Baguio: Best Baguio Pasalubong

Good Shepherd Convent is a must stop in Baguio City for pasalubongs.   

good shepherd

good shepherd

good shepherd

good shepherd

good shepherd

good shepherd

Good Shepherd Convent offers a good scenic view with all the flowery plants and religious monuments.

good shepherd

We, Travel Tripsters, always make it to a point to visit Good Shepherd Convent just for its pasalubong center where pasalubong products by the Mountain Maid Training Center are sold.

good shepherd

Mountain Maid Training Center is famous for its Ube Jam, Strawberry Jelly and Peanut Brittle which can be bought all over Baguio City.  Aside from that, they have a wide range of other products which can only be bought at Good Shepherd Convent.  One of our favorite is their Angel Cookies which I believe is underrated compared to the rest. 

Travel Tripsters suggest you try the product of  Mountain Maid Training Center.  Although its more expensive compared to other alternatives, a portion of your money goes to charity.  If you're buying in bulk, its better to buy directly at Good Shepherd Convent because it's cheaper than those found at other areas in Baguio City.  In addition, they also accept credit card.

Good Shepherd Convent Baguio Good Shepherd Convent Baguio Map
Entrance Per Person FREE
Payment Options Cash good shepherd
Business Hours No but suggested
Reservation Required No
Contact (74) 442-3865, 619-0158 
Other
Address
15 Gibraltar Rd., Baguio City, Philippines
Transportation to Attraction
Taxi, Jeepney 

Baguio City Market and the Rattan Fruit

A must stop in Baguio City is the Baguio City Market.  Every fresh produce of the North Luzon can be found in the Baguio City Market.  Products range from brooms to pasalubongs.

baguio city market
The Baguio City Market occupies a large area.  The market vendors are scattered on both indoor and outdoor parts.  It's best to go to Baguio City Market early in the morning between 5 to 6 am so you can bargain for a cheaper price.  The vendors believe in "buena mano" (a Spanish word which means "good hand") wherein the first sale of the day will bring succeeding ones.  

kape umali

baguio coffee
One of our Travel Tripsters favorite stops in the Baguio City Market is the coffee stalls.  They have the finest coffee beans from the Benguet Region.  In fact, the famous Nescafe Instant Coffee is the largest purchaser of Benguet Blend coffee. 

rattan fruit
We, Travel Tripsters, were intrigued upon seeing the Rattan Fruit.  The manong vendor noticed our musing and asked us to try it.  Upon opening and tasting, fellow Travel Tripster Kurt face transformed into a sour look I have never seen before.  The manong vendor was laughing hard at our looks.  Boy! It was so sour.  Haha! But, it was a good discovery too.

Overall, there are a lot of great finds at the Baguio City Market.  We Travel Tripsters advise it a must stop when you're at Baguio City.

Baguio City Market  Baguio City Market Map
Price Per Person Depends
Payment Options Cash
Business Hours 5am to 12 mn
Reservation Required No
Contact
Other
Address
Rajah Soliman Street, Baguio City, Philippines
Transportation to Attraction
Taxi, Jeepney 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quirante's Fun Rides & Recreation at Burnham Park

During our Travel Tripsters stroll at Burnham Park (see previous entry), we found an amusement park called Quirante's Fun Rides & Recreation.


Recreation
Quirante's Fun Rides & Recreation has a huge circular skating rink.  There also offer roller skates rentals at 30 php per 30 minutes, roller blades rentals at 100 per 30 minutes and scooter rentals at 75 php per 30 minutes.  I suddenly missed roller blading.  If I had known this I would've brought my own roller blades and paid the cheap fee of 20 php per hour.  I wish there was a skating rink like this in Manila.=( It was more interactive to skate with others.  I only roller blade once in awhile at our own home with our dogs.  The roads and sidewalks around Manila is rough and inappropriate for roller blading.  

There are also Table Tennis rentals at 60 php per table.  Table Tennis is one of my favorite sports.  Too bad its not very popular.  It's difficult to find an opponent to play with.

There are also kiddie rides which could entertain kids for a long period of time.   I recall many of my childhood memories with kiddie rides.  My mom would leave us with our nanny on kiddie rides places while she would wander off to shop.  

 


Quirante's Fun Rides & Recreation also operates carnival games.  

Balloon Playground
These balloon playground are popular among kids.  

Fun Rides
Funny Flight (30 php/head)
Carousel (35 php/head)
Of course, the Carousel is a must for all recreational places.

Convoy Race (20 php/head)
Bump Car (50 php/head/5 minutes)
Rio Grande Train (70 php/head/3 rounds)
Animal Fantasy (30 php/head)
Food

Beggang Resto and Grill
We Travel Tripsters see Quirante's Fun Rides & Recreation as a fun activity for the entire family.  It's a great place to visit especially at night.  

Quirante's Fun Rides & RecreationQuirante's Fun Rides & Recreation Map
Entrance Price Per PersonFREE
Payment Options
Business Hours
Reservation RequiredNo
Contact
Other
Address
 Burnham Park, Baguio City, Philippines
Transportation to Attraction
Taxi, Jeepney

Monday, February 20, 2012

Balatoc Mines Tour in Itogon Benguet

One of our Travel Tripsters favorite adventures is our trip to Balatoc Mines in Itogon Benguet.  The Balatoc Mines Tour was supposed to be only until 2 p.m. but we arrived around 2:20 p.m.  Luckily, the guides allowed us to take the Balatoc Mines Tour still.  We were given a visitor pass by the guards at the gate and were told to proceed to the Visitor Center.  

Our guide Evelyn met us outside the Visitor Center and led us in.  From there, we were instructed to wear helmet and boots.  We saw a photos taken inside the Balatoc Mines of celebrities such as Boy Abunda, Jessa Zaragosa, Paolo Bediones and Eric Quizon.

 
There were a lot of employees working when we came in.  The guide narrated to us the background of the Balatoc Mines and Benguet Corporation.  Benguet Corporation has been mining gold since 1903.  It expanded to chromite in 1934 and copper in 1971.


We got to see a lot of mining tools and equipments.  As we went along, our guide explained them one by one.  She also accommodated all our questions of curiosity.

 
We were each given our own chapas as souveneirs.  The chapas served as IDs for the miners.  They are given one as they enter and they should drop it into the box when they return.  The foreman shall inspect the chapas in the box at the end of the mining day to know if a miner is still in the tunnel.

 

When we entered the Vegas Tunnel, we instantly understood the need for the boots.  It was muddy inside.  The tunnel walls also had side spaces so miners can avoid the carts passing by.  That is also were they eat their lunches when explosions are going about.  The Acupan First Aid Team also hang out there.

 
Our guide explained to us the parts of the cave so we know which has a stable foundation.  We also got to learn the mining operations.

Kurt was able to try drilling holes for real with Manong.  The air pressure made the driller so powerful and loud that I became hesitant to try it.

 
Our guide explained to us how explosives in the mines are done.  Kurt got to hold an actual explosive.

The highlight of the Balatoc Mine Tour is the actual explosion.  It was so intense!  Of course, I can't explain the sensation in words.

Fool's Gold
Manong gave both of us fragments of rocks with sparkling fool's gold as our souvenir.  I'm using it now as paper weight. =p

We exited the tunnel by riding the mining cart.  We wished the tour could be longer but our minds back then were overloaded with so much information already. =)

We Travel Tripsters loved the Balatoc Mines Tour.  We highly recommend the you try it out!  It's a fun, educational and thrilling experience.  

Tip: If you will be using the jeepney as transportation, try not to visit on a Saturday afternoon like we did because all the miners go home on a Saturday and all the jeepneys are full.  We were fortunate that the locals were so kind and courteous as to let us seat ahead of them knowing that we are tourists.

Balatoc Mines Tour Balatoc Mines Tour Map
Price Per Person Adult: 250 php
Kids: 150 php
Payment Options Cash
Business Hours Mon-Sat: 10am-2pm
Reservation Required No
Contact (74) 447-2617
Other Email: balatocminestour@benguetcorp.com
Address
Balatoc, Itogon, Benguet, Philippines
Transportation to Attraction
Taxi, Jeepney