“Parang na akong turista. Hindi ko na kilala ang Baguio,” a classmate from UP Baguio told me after she revisited the city a while ago. She meant she no longer knew Baguio as she did before, back when we were university students frolicking along Session Road without a care in the world.
As a tourist destination, Baguio has always been a volatile city. New hotels, cafes, and restaurants emerge every now and then, and people frequently come and go. Inevitably, the pandemic sped up these transitions, so a week before my trip to Baguio, I was mentally preparing myself for disappointment: I would visit this city I had called home for a few years and would no longer recognise it.
But, Baguio surprised me with familiar magic. Making the trip more memorable, my friends from Manila tagged along. As this was our first out-of-town trip together, I came up with a five-day Baguio barkada itinerary with the greedy intent of introducing them to all my favourite spaces in the city. Thankfully, they enjoyed our vacation regardless.
Our 5D4N Baguio barkada itinerary
Since we had appointments on Saturday morning, we booked an afternoon trip to Baguio via Victory Liner. From Cubao, the bus left at 4pm, and we arrived in Baguio at around 10pm. Typically, trips to Baguio can take at least four hours, but because we took a day trip, the drive took approximately six hours, including a stopover in Sison, Pangasinan.
Day 1: Arriving in Baguio City at night
After dropping off our bags at a friend’s house, we headed to Pizza Volante Session for dinner. This pizzeria is usually the first restaurant I dine in whenever I travel to Baguio, simply because it’s affordable and open 24/7. We ordered two eight-inch pizzas, a four-cheese (₱205) and a pepperoni and mushroom (₱201), plus a Choco-Vanilla Affair (₱117) for dessert. We kept our order light because we planned to walk to Baguio Night Market for street food.
Upon arriving at Baguio Night Market, I was surprised to see a wider variety of options. Previously, stalls here only lined up along Harrison Road, but now, food kiosks also populate the Ganza Pay Parking Area in Burnham Park.
Baguio Night Market is open from 9pm to 11pm every night. Aside from budget-friendly eats, you can score uber-cheap thrift items here, too.
Day 2: Exploring the artsy side of Baguio
We started our second day in Baguio by attending a local church, CCF Baguio, which holds its services every Sunday, 11am, at Small World Christian School Foundation. From there, we hitched a quick ride to Seollem Cafe, a Korean cafe inspired by K-dramas Crash Landing on You, Itaewon Class, and Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. Aside from its charming aesthetic and fun K-pop music, the K-cafe serves delicious and sulit dishes. We shared soy chicken (₱340), classic premium toast (₱180), and matcha croffles (₱180) and were definitely full afterwards. We also ordered solo beverages to pair with our meals.
From Seollem Cafe, we took a taxi to BenCab Museum. Since the museum is located outside Baguio, our fare hit over ₱200, and the travel time took approximately 20 minutes. Obviously, the trip was well worth it. We spent around three hours exploring the place. Capping off the excursion, we had coffee at their in-house cafe, Cafe Sabel.
Instead of taking a cab, we rode a jeep from BenCab to Baguio City Hall. From there, we walked to the La Azotea Building, where we had dinner at Oh My Gulay. Somehow, we still felt stuffed from our earlier meals, but we wanted to try a few vegetarian dishes: KKK Sliders (₱190), Punyetang Shitake (₱185), Pancit Gulay ni Pepe (₱185), and tofu sisig (₱230). Needless to say, we brought home bags of leftovers, which we gobbled up later in the night.
Day 3: Working from “home”
On Monday, we decided to work remotely (fun, noh?). Fortunately, our friend’s home had a stable Internet connection, so we stayed there the rest of the morning. After lunch, though, we decided to transfer to Rocky Valley Lodge and Cafe.
A relatively new establishment, Rocky Valley offered us fast WiFi, good food, and a calm ambience where we could attend our virtual meetings. Best of all, we had a breathtaking view of the Cordillera mountain ranges. We ordered a 12″ regular Rockyvalley’s Pizza (₱590) and fish and chips (₱320) for sharing, plus individual beverages (from ₱150).
After work hours, we took a cab to SM Baguio (lol). We didn’t really intend to visit the mall, but Zark’s Burgers was offering ₱13 burgers, and we’re marupok for food. Since we were already in the area, we went to see the Sky Garden, which supposedly provides the best view of the city. (You be the judge.)
To cap off the day, my friends indulged my desire to drop by Luisa’s Cafe. This simple Chinese restaurant holds a dear place in my heart, as I spent most of my idle time here as a college student. I ordered beef mami (₱70), siomai (₱50 for four pieces), and Pale Pilsen (₱50) — just because I was feeling nostalgic.
Day 4: Checking off basic tourist activities
As I was making our Baguio barkada itinerary, I made sure to allocate one weekday for checking off basic tourist activities. A weekday, because I didn’t want us to cram into crowds; based on my experience, Tuesday is a safe day to visit Baguio tourist attractions because it’s mid-week.
We were supposed to visit Tam-Awan Village, Igorot Stone Park, and Farmer’s Daughter in the morning, but the soft drizzles encouraged us to sleep in. Instead, we roamed around Loakan and found a picturesque spot overlooking the city. (Let me keep this place a secret. Sorry!)
We had brunch at Photo Fog Cafe in Camp John Hay, where we ordered Vizco’s famous strawberry shortcake (₱580). Again, we each ordered drinks (from ₱60). We were fortunate enough to visit Camp John Hay on a foggy — but not rainy — day, so we spent the rest of our time just strolling around until we were famished.
Afterwards, we had snacks and drinks at Ililikha Artist Village on Assumption Road. More than the food, we enjoyed its intimate atmosphere. A creative space by Kidlat Tahimik, Ililikha allows its guests to easily settle down, and this is exactly what we did for a couple of hours: We ate, chatted, and played board games.
Our next tourist destination? Burnham Park, of course. While there are several activities you can do in the area, we only opted to rent bikes (₱50/hour). We thought it would be fun to teach one of our friends to ride a bike, and she did learn!
After Burnham, we headed to Mt. Cloud Bookshop, a speciality bookstore with impressive collections of independent items. While I was busy devouring the books, my friends had coffee (from ₱110) at Hot Cat Specialty Coffee, which sits right below the bookshop.
At this point, we realised we hadn’t had a decent meal for the day. So, we decided to walk around and look for a restaurant. We found a fairly new cafe in Leonard Wood, Cafe Beam, which, to our pleasant surprise, offers both authentic Korean fare and karaoke. We shared the following: spicy ramen with egg (₱120), spicy red pong (₱300), jajangmyeon (₱280), egg roll (₱200), and a bottle of soju (₱200). Since many Koreans reside in Baguio to learn English, I had secretly wanted to try out a new Korean restaurant, and Cafe Beam didn’t disappoint. By the end of our time, a Korean lady thanked us for dining in — we believe she’s the owner!
Day 5: Slowing down
For our last day, we had nothing on our Baguio barkada itinerary, save for pasalubong shopping. We went to the Baguio public market at 11am, where we bought the usual: fruits and vegetables, strawberry and ube products, and coffee beans.
Exhausted from our shopping trip, we decided to have a heavy lunch at Balajadia Kitchenette in the Slaughterhouse Compound. Serving massive portions, the kitchenette let us order loaded dishes: sinanglaw (₱150), poqui-poqui (₱80), and inihaw na liempo (₱130).
We spent the rest of the afternoon packing and getting ready for our trip to La Union (which is a story for another day). Then, we parted ways. My friends thought it was a good idea to do their laundry while I was out having dinner with some college friends. Random, but definitely practical!
As for me, I stuffed myself with a wasabi burger (₱115) and a concoction called Calamansi Sea Breeze (₱75) at Miwishayu. Tucked behind a subtle hotel, the restaurant provides a serene al fresco spot as well as a romantic interior space. We chose to dine al fresco to enjoy the Baguio breeze.
I met up with my barkada after dinner, around 8pm, and we all agreed that we didn’t want our trip to end. So, for the rest of the night, we just walked and walked and walked. Around 10pm, we headed to Kaffeeklatsch for our final coffee time. While listening to the live band, we sipped our drinks of choice. I went for the Klatsch Cup (₱185), which has dark espresso and black chocolate.
Baguio barkada itinerary + cost breakdown (per person)
Baguio is one of my favourite places of all time. One of the things I love about the city is its affordability. Whenever I travel to Baguio alone, I could easily survive with ₱500 per day. But, I wanted my friends to try out as many destinations as possible, while also staying on a budget. Below is our Baguio barkada itinerary and cost breakdown.
- Bus from Cubao to Baguio: ₱626
- Dinner at Pizza Volante Session: ₱523 (₱105)
- Snacks at Baguio Night Market: ₱50
- Taxi from Night Market to Loakan: ₱125 (₱25)
- Seollem Cafe: ₱1,717 (₱343)
- Taxi to BenCab Museum: ₱200 (₱40)
- BenCab Museum Entrance Fee: ₱150
- Snacks at Cafe Sabel: ₱120
- Jeep to Baguio City Hall: ₱11
- Dinner at Oh My Gulay: ₱790 (₱158)
- Taxi from Oh My Gulay to Loakan: ₱120 (₱24)
- Taxi to Rocky Valley: ₱180 (₱36)
- Lunch at Rocky Valley: ₱1,890 (₱378)
- Taxi to SM Baguio: ₱180 (₱36)
- Dinner at Zark’s: ₱426 (₱85)
- Dinner at Luisa’s Cafe: ₱170 (₱34)
- Taxi to Loakan: ₱120 (₱24)
- Taxi to Camp John Hay: ₱100 (₱20)
- Brunch at Photo Fog Cafe: ₱981 (₱196)
- Snacks at Ililikha Artist Village: ₱150 (₱30)
- Bicycle rental: ₱50
- Coffee at Hot Cat Specialty Coffee: ₱110
- Dinner at Cafe Beam: ₱1100 (₱220)
- Taxi to Loakan: ₱180 (₱36)
- Jeep to Baguio public market: ₱11
- Pasalubong shopping at Baguio public market: ₱300
- Taxi to Slaughterhouse: ₱120 (₱24)
- Lunch at Balajadia Kitchenette: ₱485 (₱97)
- Taxi to Miwishayu: ₱180 (₱36)
- Dinner at Miwishayu: ₱190
- Coffee at Kaffeeklatsch: ₱185
- Bus from Baguio to Cubao: ₱626
This Baguio barkada itinerary and cost breakdown is only a rough estimate of what we did and how much we spent. Of course, this also counts the fact that we didn’t spend on accommodation. But, don’t let this throw you off. Baguio has countless cheap accommodations, from hostels to transient rooms. Some go as low as ₱500 per night!
The City of Pines is definitely a tourist destination worth visiting, no matter how many times you’ve travelled there. If you’re planning a vacation with your friends, feel free to use this Baguio barkada itinerary and tweak it to your liking.