I’m a Baguio-born girl, and proud of it. I will always cherish my memories growing up in Baguio City. Whenever I visit Baguio I realize that, indeed, there is no place like home. No matter how long I have been a Metro Manila resident, my heart is always in Baguio.
So. You want to visit Baguio? This page is dedicated to places, restaurants, food finds, and travel tips to make your Baguio trip as memorable and hassle-free as possible.
First, how to get to Baguio?
Getting to Baguio has never been easier and faster because of the TPLEX (Tarlac – Pangasinan – La Union Expressway). What used to be a six to seven hour drive can now be easily 4 to 5 hours.
- If you’re travelling by car…
Take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and go all the way to SCTEX (Subic – Clark – Tarlac Expressway) and then further to TPLEX. As of now, the TPLEX ends at Urdaneta, so that is your exit. You will exit on MacArthur Highway. Carry on the main highway towards La Union.
Travel Tip: At the moment, there are no gas stations and food stops along TPLEX, so make sure your car has enough gas, your tummies not hungry, or bladders not full before you enter TPLEX. Best to gas up, eat and use the toilets at one of the many gas stations along NLEX.
In La Union, you will have to choose between Kennon Road or Marcos Highway to get to Baguio. Kennon Road (a.k.a. Zigzag Road) is the quicker route, but much steeper, more winding, and narrower than Marcos Highway. It is also less safe to travel on especially when it’s raining because of several landslide prone areas. If you want to see the Lion’s Head monument, then take Kennon.
Marcos Highway has scenic mountain and sea views
Marcos Highway is the choice of bigger vehicles like buses and trucks because it is wider and has a less steep ascent. It is also the better choice for those who are less adventurous or less seasoned with long and steep drives. It was my choice of route on my first ever drive from Baguio to Manila! Add about 30 minutes more to your travel time if you do take Marcos Highway. But the scenic mountain and sea views are worth it. (There are several viewing decks along the way where you can safely stop your vehicle. Please stay safe always and do not just stop randomly to take photos.)
If travelling by car, set aside a budget of approximately Php1,000.00 for two-way (Manila – Baguio – Manila) toll / fees. Unfortunately, the 3 expressways – NLEX, SCTEX, and TPLEX – have yet to have a consolidated toll system, so you will have to stop 3 times to pay tolls.
Don’t forget to turn on the headlamps and fog lamps even during the day, especially if it gets foggy.
No car? No problem! Buses travel to Baguio every hour from Cubao and Pasay.
Victory Liner has regular and first class air-conditioned buses that travel ’round the clock. My choice whenever I visit Baguio alone or with just one kid in tow is the Victory Liner Deluxe (first class) bus. It is a non-stopping trip that takes 5 hours max. The seats are comfortable and wider with 2-1 configuration, plus there’s a toilet (which I never really use). The toilet is a big plus especially for senior travellers. Dad needed a toilet in the bus, so he always took the deluxe buses when he travelled to Manila or Baguio.
Travel Tip: Reserve the single seat if you’re travelling alone for maximum privacy and comfort.
My only beef with Victory Liner is that it doesn’t offer online reservations. The other bus company, which is my second choice if Victory Liner is fully booked, is Genesis Transport’s Joy Bus. One can reserve seats online for Joy Bus via the iwantseats website.
Travel Tip: The air-conditioning in both bus companies could get really cold. So bring a hooded jacket, scarf, socks, blankets to keep warm. Joy Bus provides blankets too… but if you’re OC, you’d rather not use them, right? 😀
- Where to eat in Baguio? Check these places out. (List will be updated periodically.)
Hill Station | Vizco’s | Ketchup Food Community | Canto | Happy Tummy | Nelly’s Best Burgers | Cookout Grill | Tam-Awan Village Cafe | Korean Street Food on Assumption Rd. | Cafe by the Ruins Dua | Mama’s Table by Chef Vicky Tinio |
Lastly and most important – dear travellers, please respect Baguio’s culture and nature.
- Igorots are among of the most dignified, most well-educated, and best English speaking indigenous groups in the country. However, we do come dressed as you are dressed. Traditional native costumes are reserved for special occasions, hence we don’t wear them everyday.
- Please don’t trash our city. Baguio already has enough garbage problems on its own. Be mindful with your trash; don’t leave behind your litter.
- Traffic situation gets horrible during holidays. Baguio weather is perfect for walking, so if you can, leave the car behind and walk!
I hope you visit Baguio and love it so much there, that it becomes one of your favorite destinations. 🙂