I really really loved Baguio, its scenery, its people, richness in culture and great weather. This area is known as the Cordillera Administrative Region and it is in the mountain area thus is much cooler than most of Philippines. The native tribes of this place are called Igorots which means Mountain people and includes the Ifugao, Sagada, Banguet ,Apayao and the Kalinga. One way to identify the men is that they either have long hair or have a strip of long hair at the back of their heads. Below are my highlights from Baguio City.

1)Botanical Garden:

This place should definitely be on your to visit list. The area shares several elements of the Igorot culture from their dressing, history, occupataion as well as a beautiful garden to visit and relax.

Wangechi blending inwith the Igorot tribe at Botanical Gardens, Baguio, Philippines
Blending in with the Igorot community in Baguio, Philippines

I came to learn that some of them were farmers, hunters and gatherers as well as some of them being headhunters.

Wangechi under attack of the Ifugao head hunters axe
Headhunter axe attack on me, in Botanical Gardens, Baguio, Philippines

2) Baguio Cathedral:

Philippines is dominantly Catholic and thus there are beautiful Churches all over. Baguio Cathedral is the oldest and largest Catholic Church in Baguio and is painted pink and white. It is quite a beauty to behold and the whole area has a serene feel to it, say a prayer while here.

Beautiful pink Baguio Cathedral in Baguio, Philippines
The beautiful Baguio Cathedral found in Baguio, Philippines

3. Conventional Center-Art Gallery

The Conventional Center is found within the town and  is like taking a walk through traditional Baguio. The paintings and other artworks reveal the culture of the people at festivals  and in their day to day lives. Thanks and credit to everyone whose artwork is shown here. If you do not have too much time but want to learn about the culture, this should be your first stop over.

Beautiful artwork showcasing Igorot culture at the Conventional Center- Art Gallery in Baguio, Philippines
Beautiful artwork showcasing Igorot culture at the Conventional Center, Artwork Gallery in Baguio, Philippines
Wangechi with a Pasi King, traditional Igorot ladies bag in Baguio, Philippines
With a Pasi King, which is a traditional bag for the Igorot ladies in Baguio, Philippines

3) Lourdes Grotto

The Lourdes Grotto is a Catholic Shrine where one has to climb 252 steps to get to the actual shrine. Once at the top, I felt like I was in the clouds literally and there we found  people praying, meditating and lighting candles.

Wangechi climbed the 252 steps in Lourdes Grotto, Baguio, Philippines
I climbed the 252 steps of the Lourdes Grotto in Baguio, Philippines

The area also has various Christian statues like Jesus with open arms as well as several stone paintings showcasing the “Way of the Cross”. These are the events showcasing Jesus carrying the cross up until he was crucified on the cross. This provided me with time to reflect on my Christian Faith and say several prayers.Truly, a reminder that Jesus is always ready to forgive us of our sins, if we only repent, ask for forgiveness and ask Him to be our Lord and Saviour.

Wangechi saying a prayer at Lourdes Grotto in Baguio, Philippines
Statue of Jesus with open arms at Lourdes Grotto, Baguio, Philippines
Stone painting showcasing "Way of the Cross" in Lourdes Grotto in Baguio, Philippines
Stone painting showcasing “Way of the Cross” in Lourdes Grotto in Baguio, Philippines

4)Diplomat Hotel:

Well, if you have heard of haunted houses and wanted a feel, start here. This hotel was previously a prestigious hotel, having 33 rooms and  frequented by the who is who in the society. However,  it was eventually deserted and when I visited, it had no doors or windows. The locals however claim that it is/was haunted as they could hear doors banging, windows breaking and noises from the hotel especially at night—spooky. I didn’t experience any of that but, as we walked within it and walked around the stairs-it just felt spooky.

Diplomats Hotel that is rumoured to be haunted, Baguio, Philippines
Diplomats Hotel that is rumoured to be haunted, Baguio, Philippines

5) The Worlds Largest Ten Commandments Tablet:

Right near the Diplomat Hotel gate is the Worlds Largest Ten Commandments Tablet. Yes, it earned this title from the  Guiness World Records. It clearly and boldly states the  Biblical 10 commandments that Moses was given by God.

Worlds Largest Ten Commandments Tablet is found in Baguio, Philippines
Worlds Largest Ten Commandments Tablet is found in Baguio, Philippines

6)Mines View Park:

If you are super serious, have no sense of humour and do not appreciate the basic things in life, keep away from this place. Ok, maybe this place may actually do you some good. I got to ride the most colourful horse in the world and hugged the largest and coolest  dog I have ever seen.

Wangechi with the cutest dog at Mines View Point, Baguio, Philippines
Coolest dog at Mines View Point, Baguio, Philippines
Wangechi riding the most beautiful horse in Baguio, Philippines
Cutest horse in Baguio, Philippines

Due to this place being located high in the mountains, you get to have an aerial view of  Baguio city and the hill tops.

Mountains in Baguio, Philippines
The beautiful scenery of the mountains in Baguio, Philippines

I also got to learn about their culture from their dressing to their beliefs . I thus couldn’t let the opportunity to try out their traditional wear, pass me by.

Dressed a s Baguio lady in Philippines
Blending in as a Baguio lady in Philippines

7)Strawberry Farm

Farming is something everyone should do, you will appreciate more what you eat. It is taxing but the fruits of ones labour make it worthwhile.This place mainly grows strawberries but  also grows and sells other food crops, some even for export as I heard. I  got to taste one of the sweetest strawberry ice-creams ever, here.

Wangechi trying to farm at the Strawberry farm in Baguio, Philipppines
Tryinng out my farming skills at the strawberry farm in Baguio, Philippines
Wangechi sampling one of the best ice-creams ever. Baguio, Philippines.
Sampling one of the best icecream I have ever tasted-Baguio, Philippines

8) Baguio Museum

The Museum was fun to visit as it not  only provided lots of information on Baguio, its people and its culture, I also got to enjoy looking at most of the artefacts. They however do not allow pictures to be taken inside.

Wangechi visiting Baguio, Museum
The Baguio Museum showcases the culture and history of the people in Baguio, Philippines

9) Visiting the homesteads

I enjoyed actually seeing and entering some of the traditional Igorot homes. Most are made of wood and their shape and design reveals which tribe the owner comes from.

Wangechi visiting and Igorot traditional houses in Baguio, Philippines
Igorot traditional houses in Baguio, Philippines

10) Sample delicacies:

Baguio delicacies vary and I sampled as many as I could-at resturants, homes, streets-everywhere: Your taste buds will thank you, I assure you.

 

Wangechi sampling some of the delicacies in Baguio, Philipppines
Delicacies in Baguio, Philippines

11) Transportation

I travelled via bus from Manila to Baguio which takes about 7-8hours. In Baguio town, I mainly used the public transport but to explore beyond the town, I was privileged to get a local to take and show me around. I thus highly advise you make friends or hire a taxi if you want to go outside the town area.

I loved the exposure to the culture, history and the beauty of the scenery in Baguio. There is so much more to see and experience, so I need to return in the future. For more on my travel in Philippines, check out:

Bohol: http://79.170.40.46/wangechigitahi.co.ke/bitter-sweet-experience-in-bohol/

Manila: http://79.170.40.46/wangechigitahi.co.ke/vibrant-manila/

Philippines 101: http://79.170.40.46/wangechigitahi.co.ke/philippines-101/

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