Residents from Region 1 can now travel to Baguio for leisure and tourism. On October 1, 2020, Baguio City started accepting screened tourists from La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur. This forms the first travel bubble in the country. And starting October 22, tourists from other parts of Luzon will also be allowed entry to the city.
But before you go, do note that there are procedures to follow when you travel to Baguio under the new normal.
What You Need to Know When You Travel to Baguio Under the New Normal
Who is Allowed to Travel to Baguio for Leisure and Tourism
As stated above, tourists of all ages from all regions of Luzon will be allowed to travel to Baguio starting October 22. In addition, they must not have underlying health conditions, and no COVID-19 symptoms and exposure. Pregnant women are not allowed as of the moment. Only 500 tourists per day are allowed in the city.
What are the Requirements
- Travelers are required to pre-book their accommodation in hotels that have obtained a CAO (Certificate Authorizing Operation) from the Department of Tourism and the local government.
- Tourists need to get tested with RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen tests not more than 72 hours (3 days) prior to travel. The test results are valid for a 5-day itinerary only. Another option is to undergo a Rapid Antigen test upon arrival at the Central Triage at the Baguio Convention Center. The fees are to be paid by the tourists.
- Travelers are required to pre-register through the online registration system Baguio VIS.I.T.A. There is no registration fee. Prepare to upload a copy of government-issued ID and current photo when you register and create a Baguio VISITA account. Tourists are no longer required to upload itinerary and hotel booking confirmation.
- Be sure to have a copy of your QR-coded Tourist Pass (QTP) (electronic or printed) for easy reference at the borders and at tourism establishments.
For more information, you can read the updated guidelines in Baguio Tourism’s Facebook Page.
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How to Get to Baguio
As of the moment, public transportations to Baguio are not in operation. You can either use a private vehicle to get to Baguio or request a tour transport from your travel agent/operator. The entry access to the city will only be through Naguilian Road or Marcos Highway.
Where to Stay in Baguio City
To ensure that the proper safety protocols are in place, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) recommends that tourists stay in DOT-accredited establishment for the duration of their trip. As of October 28, 2020, staying in your own, relative’s or friend’s house is already allowed.
Check out this post: Hotels In Baguio City That Are Now Open For Tourists for some of the accommodation establishments that are now open.
Going Around the City
Tours must be coordinated with a DOT accredited tour operator/agency. The tour operator and/or hotel management shall closely monitor the movement of tourists.
As of October 28, day trips (not staying overnight) are already allowed. Trips to BLISTT (Baguio City, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay) tourist attractions are allowed. (Source: Baguio Tourism’s Facebook Page)
Tourists need to present QTP in all establishments and sites they visit. Health protocols must be observed in all establishments and sites at all times. Always wear a face mask, sanitize hands, and maintain physical distancing.
Places to Visit
Tourists can choose from the different tour packages offered by DOT-accredited tour operators. They also have the option of preparing their own itinerary and coordinate it with their chosen DOT-accredited tour operator.
Baguio has plenty of attractions for any type of traveler. Here are some of the more popular sites for first-time visitors:
Burnham Park is considered to be one of the most famous parks in the country. It is located in the center of the city. Tourists can enjoy a boat ride on a rented rowboat in Burnham Lagoon, a man-made lake. This park also has a skating rink, a children’s playground, biking, and picnic area.
Baguio Botanical Garden
Located between Teacher’s Camp and Wright Park, the Baguio Botanical Garden is a garden featuring a variety of plants and colorful flowers. It features sculptures representing local traditions. There are plenty of nice spots to take pictures of. The garden has plenty of picnic tables and benches.
Wright Park is a large park that is a popular place for horseback riding activity. The park features “Pool of Pines”, a shallow elongated rectangular body of water surrounded by pine trees.
Located across Wright Park, The Mansion is the official summer residence of the President of the Philippines. Tourists are not allowed to go inside to check the mansion. Visitors are only allowed to enter a little past the gates to take a picture when the president is not in the residence.
Mines View Park
Located past The Mansion and Wright Park, Mines View Park offers a breathtaking view of the Cordillera mountains. You can have your photos taken wearing Ifugao tribal outfits and holding shield and spear here.
Nestled into the hilly mountains of Baguio, Tam-awan Village is a reconstructed Cordillera village with traditional huts, an art gallery and craft shop, a sunset-viewing deck, and a cafe.
BenCab Museum is a museum that houses National Artist ben Cabrera’s art collection in a four-level building. It also has a cafe that features family recipes by BenCab. There is also an eco-trail where you can hike around the garden and the forest in front of the museum.
Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay was formerly a military base of the United States Armed Forces. It is now a tourist destination and a forest watershed reservation in Baguio. Le Monet Hotel, The Manor at Camp John Hay, and Forest Log Cabin are within Camp John Hay. There are plenty of things that you can do here such as trek through the pines, have a picnic, try the Tree Top Adventure, visit the Butterfly Garden, dine, or go shopping.
Diplomat Heritage Hotel
The Dominican Hill Retreat House, commonly known as Diplomat Heritage Hotel is an abandoned structure on top of the Dominican Hill. There are many ghost stories and urban legends surrounding this hotel. But this place has nice hilltop views.
Laperal White House
The Laperal Mansion or Laperal White House is another structure in Baguio believed to be haunted. It is just beside the Teachers’ Camp. The house is not open to the public. It used to house an art museum.
Where to Eat in Baguio City
Baguio has a lot of restaurants that serve great food. There are way too many restaurants that you might have a hard time deciding where to eat. Here are some recommendations:
Good Taste Cafe and Restaurant
Good Taste is one of the go-to restaurants of the Cordillerans. It is a restaurant that serves Chinese and Filipino Cuisine. They serve delicious food at a very affordable price. The original Good Taste Restaurant is located behind Baguio Center Mall. They have a branch at Otek St., just a 3 minute-walk from Burnham Park. Their bestselling dishes include buttered chicken, beef broccoli, and Lechon chop suey.
Hill Station is located on the ground floor of Casa Vallejo. It is a fine-dining restaurant that serves dishes that blend the spicy flavors of Asia with the taste of Old World Europe and New World America. They also serve yummy desserts.
Located along Session Road, Pizza Volante serves Italian food. They serve really good pizza and for dessert, I highly recommend their Choco Vanilla Affair. It’s a freshly baked chocolate cake topped with vanilla ice cream.
Tea House Restaurant and Bakeshop
Another favorite of the locals of Baguio, Tea House is a restaurant known for its pancit dishes and cakes. It is a small restaurant located along Session Road. Their Chona’s Delight is a must-try. It’s a fluffy sponge cake bits with lots of creamy caramel.
Oh My Gulay Artist Cafe
Oh My Gulay serves delicious and affordable vegetarian food. It is located on the fifth floor of La Azotea Building along Session Road but is currently undergoing renovation. But Oh My Gulay “Bassit” is temporarily operational at Ili-Likha located along Assumption Road. Their Tandang Sora Parmigiana, breaded eggplant over whole wheat bread with special sauce, is my favorite here.
Cafe by the Ruins
Cafe by the Ruins is one of the most famous restaurants in Baguio. It is located along Shuntug Road across Baguio City Hall. It is a cafe built over the ruins of a World War II building. This restaurant serves authentic local dishes that showcase the region’s culture such as Pinikpikan and Bagnet with Padas Bagoong.
Located in Session Road, Sizzling Plate offers a wide variety of delicious sizzling choices. The place is spacious and cozy. However, they have poor ventilation so be prepared to smell like grilled meat after a meal. Their sans rival is highly recommended.
Central Park Restaurant
Central Park Restaurant is a restaurant that specializes in authentic and modern Chinese and Asian cuisines such as dimsums, dumplings, congee, rice toppings, and hotpot. They serve good food at an affordable price.
Hope you found this guide useful. Leave a message below for any inquiries and suggestions. And please remember to observe the minimum health standards at all times. Observe physical distancing. Avoid crowded places. Wash your hands regularly. Wear a face mask properly. Let us help stop the spread of the virus.
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