Philippine Vacation: Baguio: Summer Capital of the Philippines
Those of you who have traveled and vacationed in The Philippines know that it is a country near the equator, and therefore it is warmer than most other countries. But, there is a place in the Philippines where many vacation during the Summer: Baguio City, one of the coolest places in the country.
Philippine Summer Vacation Capital
Baguio City is known by Filipinos as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines”, where the place provides an escape from the summer heat in the cities of the country (especially when summer heat peaks over 100 degrees Farenheit).
The reason why Baguio City is cool is because it is built above mountains (and partly because it is a little above the equator). When you go there, you need to adjust to the low pressure of the area (to do so, you could swallow air or yawn to normalize the pressure in your ears which is the cause of difficulty hearing sounds).
Travel to Baguio City
Baguio City is built atop mountains. To reach the capital of the city via land vehicle, you first need to travel through the feet of mountains regardless of where you came from. As you get higher, you will then notice the decreasing pressure and the fog, as you are already hundreds of meters above sea level.
Many travellers rather fly than drive to Baguio. If you arrive by plane, you will land at Loakan Airport, the only airport in Baguio City. It is only 1.8 kilometers long, which limits the size of planes which can land on it.
The Last time I vacationed in the Philippines, I visited Baguio and learned that it is the only place in the Philippines where strawberries are grown and therefore sold at lower prices than elsewhere in the country. The cool climate of the city allows this to happen.
One notable source of fresh strawberries in the area is the “Strawberry Farm”, where you pick strawberries from the farm, and pay only at the exit, depending on the weight of the strawberries that you have picked. This feature allows you to pick the strawberries which you believe are the freshest.
If picking strawberries yourself is not what you think is best for you, it is possible to buy packed strawberries from vendors beside the Strawberry Farm. The strawberries from vendors usually come from the farm itself, but because they are already picked several hours before they are bought, the freshness would not be not like the newly-picked ones.
I have many friends who live in Metro Manila, and they will always try to get strawberries fresh from there.
Because strawberries only come from Baguio City, those that are found in markets outside Baguio City (including of course Metro Manila) are no longer freshly picked, but preserved in cold storage.
Many vacationers enjoy Baguio City’s Flower Festival is locally called Panagbenga (which means “season of blooming”), and is held during February. It lasts the entire month, though the peak of the celebration is during the third week of the month. Like the name says, this festival is for celebrating the bloom of flowers that occur in the city.
When I first visited Baguio City, it so happened that the Flower Festival was currently being celebrated. I saw dancers wearing costumes resembling flowers. I remember most of them wearing yellow flowers, especially sunflowers.
If you don’t have enough gifts and whatnot accumulated already on your Philippine vacation, Baguio City will not be left behind when it comes to offering souvenirs for people who are soon on their way home. Even if I have not been to Baguio City recently, it happens that relatives (and a few friends) give me products from Baguio City where they visited.
The city offers unique, delicious food products definitely enjoyed by Filipinos like the following (of course there are a lot more).
• Strawberries – Not to mention this, but strawberries are always sought for by Filipinos who would return to their homes after having good times in Baguio City.
• Peanut brittle – This is a hard delicacy made of crushed peanuts, butter and sugar packed in a plastic jar.
• Strawberry jam – These are crushed strawberries mixed with sugar, ideal as sandwich spread by Filipinos for refined white bread.
• Strawberry preserves – These are whole strawberries preserved in glass jars and mixed with sugar.
• Choco flakes – As its name says, these are flakes made of chocolate and sugar, packed in plastic jars similar to peanut brittle. These often do not contain milk.
• Purple yam jam – Called as “ube halaya” by the Filipinos, it is a sweet, preserved serving of purple yam often enjoyed as dessert after a delicious meal.
There are also a lot of non-food items that are very often bought by Filipinos who visit the place. Because there are a lot, I would mention only the most commonly- bought products.
• Woodcrafts – These are usually available as little wooden keychains having engraved designs that represent Baguio City.
• Home cleaning items – From brooms to scrubs, Baguio City offers cheap home cleaning equipment made from natural materials.
• Jackets and scarfs – These make you look like you are protecting yourself for the winter months, but nevertheless these make you look good.
• “Everlasting Flowers” – These are flowers attached in straws which last for a long time, as its name speaks for itself; they last a long time. They are available in colors yellow and pink. They symbolize the development of Baguio City and how it maintained its status through time.
If ever you are planning your Philippine Vacation, be sure to spend some time in Baguio where you can get a break from the heat, and enjoys some good times in the mountains. You’ll be glad you did.