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Overview

Set amongst the cool, pine-covered hills north of Manila, Baguio has a history similar to the hill stations of India. The gateway to the tribal villages of the Central Cordillera, the town was founded during the American era as a retreat where US soldiers could escape the tropical heat of the coast. Most of the original settlement was flattened in WWII, but the town that replaced it is a popular holiday retreat for Manila city-slickers and the college-town vibe makes it an appealing stop on the way north to the rice terraces at Banaue. The grandest house in Baguio belongs to the president, but there are hundreds of ranch-style villas dotted ...

Set amongst the cool, pine-covered hills north of Manila, Baguio has a history similar to the hill stations of India. The gateway to the tribal villages of the Central Cordillera, the town was founded during the American era as a retreat where US soldiers could escape the tropical heat of the coast. Most of the original settlement was flattened in WWII, but the town that replaced it is a popular holiday retreat for Manila city-slickers and the college-town vibe makes it an appealing stop on the way north to the rice terraces at Banaue. The grandest house in Baguio belongs to the president, but there are hundreds of ranch-style villas dotted around the hills where the urban elite come to unwind. Most of the tourist attractions are Catholic shrines and relics from the American era, but the bustling town market is a lively place to pick up handicrafts from the hills. There's even an Ifugao village, relocated from the Central Cordillera, where visitors can learn about local art forms and the curious Filipino martial art of arnis. A few flights touch down in the underused Baguio airport, but most people arrive on the fleet of air-con buses that run daily from Manila.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southeast Asia
  • Language: Filipino, English
  • Currency: Philippine Peso
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    March to May is peak season, but visitors come year round (book ahead for Christmas).