Baguio is one of the most walkable cities in the Philippines.
The pedestrian-friendly sidewalks were wide, clean, safe, and most notably, didn’t suffer from the merciless tropical climate.
I’ve always wanted to live in Baguio and escape the unbearable heat of the lowlands. During my visit, however, I had to settle for a 3-day trip.
On my second day, I did a walking tour of the city.
Started at Session Road, the main thoroughfare of Baguio and main hub of the city’s central business district.
Morning Walk at Session Road in Baguio City, Benguet
Session Road was a great way to start a walking tour of Baguio. Many major urban centers in the Philippines reveal the country’s Spanish-colonial heritage. In contrast, Baguio showcases the influence of the American occupation.
Along Session Road were a number of American-colonial shop houses still extant.
Ritual at the Baguio Cathedral
Followed a mean set of stairs from Session road to the Baguio Cathedral … *relatively mean set of stairs. I was still getting used to walking along sloped roads. Tiring, yes, but also a good workout on the calves, glutes, and quads.
When I reached the top, I noticed a gathering in front of the Baguio Cathedral. At the center were a few men dressed in the traditional Igorot attire. Cool people in costumes!
Before I could join the circle, I heard the loud squealing of what sounded like a pig. Since my vision wasn’t good at distant objects, I used my camera as a telescope and squinted through the viewfinder. Soon enough, I witnessed a man plunging a sharp wooden stake right into the pig’s chest.
I was shocked but no one else seemed to be alarmed. The gore was more of a spectacle, really.
After the squeals died down, a tune of native instrumental music played and the group of Igorots started dancing. Shortly after, the priests joined the cultural display. The experience was a weird and amusing coincidence.
The activity could probably be a blessing ritual sacrifice.
Most tourists who’ve gone to Baguio are familiar with its rose-colored cathedral. It’s a staple item on most Baguio tours.
Had to return an hour later to take photos of the Baguio Cathedral without the crowd.
View from Baguio Cathedral
Wasn’t so much interested with the cathedral itself. The best part was the great view of Baguio City from the parking lot.
Baguio City Skyline
SM City Baguio Mall
Baguio is known as site of the formal surrender of the Imperial Japanese Army to American marking the end of World War II. The event happened on September 3, 1945 at the High Commissioner’s Residence in Camp John Hay, Baguio City.
A visit to Baguio isn’t complete without stopping by Burnham Park. It is named in honor of Chicago-based architect Daniel Burnham, who was responsible for drafting the urban masterplan of Baguio.
I wonder how he’d react to seeing the current state of the city. Burnham designed Baguio as a compact garden city accommodating a population of only 25,000 to 30,000 people. Baguio’s latest census is pegged at just under 300,000 people. I reckon that’ll give any urban planner a big headache.
Bust of Daniel Burnham
Such a refreshing place for a walk
or just lazing under the shade …
A romantic place for lovers and people with voyeuristic tendencies alike
Baguio City Hall
It was my first time knowing Baguio had preserved its old City Hall Building. Learned after reading a historical marker that the original structure was destroyed during WWII. The current structure was built in 1950, which is still old enough to be a heritage building.
Baguio City Hall
Baguio Public Market Area
Another thing I liked about Baguio was the public market. Elsewhere, you’d see how huge air-conditioned malls have replaced the city public market. Baguio still maintains a thriving public market, which was surprisingly clean and organized.
One of the first (if not the first), elevated pedestrian walkway outside Manila.
Vehicular traffic is a problem in Baguio, especially during rush hour
Pasalubong shopping area
Aguinaldo Park and Museum
From the Baguio Public Market, I had aimlessly followed random streets and somehow found my way to the Aguinaldo Park.
Monument of Emilio Aguinaldo riding a horse
Aguinaldo was the first Philippine president. He was elected at the young age of 29. The youngest to have been elected and longest-lived President of the Philippines.
Leonard Wood Road
Loved the shaded sidewalks and the abundance of pine trees at Leonard Wood Road. This area looked to be the uptown part of Baguio.
Green views at Leonard Wood Road
This was the last stop of my walkathon in Baguio. Hailed a taxi and headed to Camp John Hay for lunch … yay, tee time!