“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you did not mean to take.”-Angela N. Blount.
Known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio is an item on the bucket list of most Filipino travelers.
As one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, Baguio sees a throng of visitors throughout the year, especially in December. Known for its cooler climate and pine trees, foreign and local tourists flock to Baguio to escape the city’s hot, humid, and stifling air. Today, Baguio City remains a favorite tourist destination considering it offers so many awesome things to do and an endless list of tourist spots and attractions.
More importantly, the city is quite accessible from Metro Manila, making it an unbeatable place to visit when looking for a quick weekend getaway. Indeed, the city has retained the charm that makes it such a beloved destination. By now, you may already be planning an itinerary of where to go in Baguio for your road trip, but beyond that, planning a list of stops is recommended if you wish to elevate your experience. Strategically choosing your stops between Metro Manila and Baguio City ensures you get the most out of your trip and make it even more memorable. This way, you can explore places along the route and discover places you may never have been to.
So, if you intend to visit the City of Pines on your next road trip, below is a list of recommended pit stops you should take between your trip from Metro Manila to Baguio City:
1.) Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach (Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila, 1004 Metro Manila, Philippines)
While Manila Baywalk is an attraction easily accessible to most urban dwellers, you may not have had the time to visit, considering the traffic and your tightly packed schedule. That said, you would not want to miss the best views in the Metro, including Manila’s Baywalk situated along Roxas Boulevard. Here, visitors and onlookers can witness some of the most spectacular views of the Manila sunset. It is also a great area to go people-watching.
2.) Intramuros (Manila, 1002 Metro Manila, Philippines)
Travel back in time and visit old-world Intramuros on your way to Baguio City. With history permeating its cobblestone roads and walls, Intramuros remains as one of Metro Manila’s most fascinating places to visit. Like Fort Santiago, it is home to Spanish-era landmarks. In addition, it has a shrine dedicated to the country’s national hero, Jose Rizal. What makes the place even more interesting and exciting is the Spanish colonial furniture that pepper the Casa Manila museum located nearby, complemented by the horse-drawn carriages that ply the area’s cobblestone streets.
3.) Avilon Zoo (9003 GP Sitio Gulod San Isidro, 1860, Rodriguez, Rizal, Philippines)
Give your little tots something to do along the way by making a pit stop at Avilon Zoo. Located in Rizal, this large zoo is home to a variety of exotic and native animals. It also has a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs while your kids get to enjoy feeding some of the animals.
4.) Minalungao National Park (General Tinio, Nueva Ecija, Philippines)
Pepper your road trip itinerary with visits to places where you can immerse yourself in Nature, such as Minalungao National Park. Located at Nueva Ecija, this park was established in 1967 to protect and preserve the scenic Penaranda River and its surroundings. Today, the national park is home to the most beautiful and pristine nature in Central Luzon—something you can witness on your road trip to Baguio City.
5.) Mt. Pinatubo (Botolan, Zambales, Philippines)
Take pictures and enjoy scenic views by making a stop at Mt. Pinatubo. If you can spare the time, you may even go on a hike to the active volcano’s peak, as it has hiking trails leading to its crater lake. Mount Pinatubo is still one of the most favorite destinations among hikers and local and foreign travelers. Reaching the summit takes 2-3 hours, depending on your skill. Still, your efforts will be rewarded by an unparalleled and breathtaking view of the volcano’s crater lake.
6.) Burnham Park (Jose Abad Santos Dr, Baguio, 2600 Benguet, Philippines)
Once you reach Baguio City, do not head to your hotel just yet. Instead, make a stop at Burnham Park, which is located along Harrison Road and in front of the Melvin Jones Grandstand. Here, you can enjoy a myriad of activities—from spending time boating in the man-made lake or riding bikes around the park. You can even try Baguio City’s famous strawberry taho and other local delicacies, which you can enjoy under the pine trees.
7.) Good Sheperd Convent (Gibraltar Rd, Baguio, 2600 Benguet, Philippines)
Good Sheperd is mostly known for its specialty products, such as strawberry jam, peanut brittle, chocolate crinkles, and snowballs. Tourists flock to this place to ensure that they get to bring home some of these goodies back to their families. However, if you are not looking to hoard this stuff to take back home, Good Sheperd also makes a good stop as it is located near tourist spots such as Mines View Park and Wright Park. It also features The Sheperd’s Gallery, where you can witness a spectacular view of the city from a higher point of view. If you intend to make a stop at the Good Sheperd Convent before heading to your hotel, be sure to take a lot of photos as it has plenty of excellent backdrops for photos.