A trip to Baguio is a classic vacation for any Manileno looking to escape the metro’s sweltering heat. What used to be a long journey to the summer capital of the Philippines is now a short four hour-drive with various ways of access, allowing more and more people to experience the province’s cool climate. For those who’ve been, they’re probably well-aware of Baguio’s most famous attractions. From horseback riding at Camp John Hay to buying treats at Good Shepherd Convent and paddling a swanboat at Burnham Park, you think you’ve seen it all, but Baguio has a whole lot more up its sleeve and we’re letting you in on its secrets. Here’s a list of hidden gems in Baguio:
Where to Eat in Baguio
1. M&N Viewdeck Cafe
No matter how many times you’ve been to Baguio, the view will never get old, and that’s exactly what M&N Viewdeck offers. They offer a wide range of drinks from your regular joe to aurora fruit teas as well as unique dishes like Laing Pasta and Kamote Cheese Rolls. The cafe is open from 6:30 am to 7 pm every day with the exception of Sunday where they open at 12 noon. There’s also an apartelle right next to it, as well as an event space.
2. Hot Cat Coffee
If good coffee is the goal, then Hot Cat Coffee has it in spades. This specialty coffee shop describes itself as “new wave coffee and tea” and boy, do they deliver. Caffeine nerds will be delighted to try their Itagon Blend-Pour Over, Mitsugaru, Spanish Latte, and more. Opened in 2016, the cafe is every bit as cozy as you’d expect it with warm, homey interiors and a gorgeous open-air courtyard filled with Baguio’s famous pine trees.
3. Calle Uno Foodhub and Co-Working Space
Baguio’s first food park concept finds itself in Calle Uno. In addition to being a co-working space for professionals, the foodhub is also home to innovative food concepts to fill your stomach. The only things you need are an empty stomach, some spare cash, and plenty of stories to tell to friends. Be sure to experience a Baguio food trip with crowd-favorites Highland Smokes, known for their mouthwatering barbeque, and Nest Coffee Roasters, which serves single-origin coffee from the Cordillera Region.
4. Green Chaya Cafe and Restaurant
When you hear about Baguio’s charming little Japanese restaurant, you might have a preconceived idea of what it might look like, which is why people don’t normally expect to be greeted by a rustic log cabin that’s full of life and charm. The Japanese menu also complements the restaurant’s look—simple but inspired. Our recommendation? You can’t go wrong with the classics. Just imagine it, having an amazing bowl of ramen in Baguio weather? Sign us up!
5. The Barn
Old-school cool is one way to define The Barn. The famous artisan restaurant in Baguio promises to showcase the beauty of “old” Baguio, which translates to captivating views of pine trees and lush greenery with delicious comfort food right in front of you. Indulge in a selection of special soups, salads, and more. Plus, keep an eye out for their Kurobuta Platters, widely known as the “wagyu of pork,” in case you’re in the mood to treat yourself.
What to Do in Baguio
6. Asin Hot Springs
While swimming in Baguio is probably the last activity that comes to mind, Asin Hot Springs makes it somewhat possible for people of all ages to take a dip in its thermal waters. This hidden gem in Baguio is a few ways away from the city center but definitely worth the visit, not just for the spring alone but also for its peaceful surroundings.
7. Mount Costa
If Burnham Park feels too crowded for you, try heading to a lesser-visited area like Mount Costa. The 6-hectare garden is home to over 24 gardens inspired by various attractions. It’s where you can find the Mirror Garden, Land Art, an amphitheater, and a very musical park to the delight of kids everywhere. Catch some fresh air, dine alfresco, and take a walk in the park.
8. Mt. Cloud Bookshop
In addition to Baguio’s famous night markets for thrifted clothing, local delicacies, and local crafts, books are also an abundant resource with book shops scattered throughout the city. Mt. Cloud Bookshop is a particular standout in this department, with its vintage-style interiors and unique selection of books wherein a vast majority are Filipiniana titles across several genres and written languages. They host open mics in person and now sell their books online. You can even catch a feeding session with their ho(r)seguest/mascot, Rain Cloud! (You can also visit Hot Cat just downstairs!)