“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”
– Tim Cahill
Just a night’s drive from Manila, Baguio City sits atop a mountain in the tropical pine forest region of Northern Luzon. It was established in 1900 by Americans during their colonial rule to provide a summer playground for government officials. At nearly 10 degrees Celsius cooler than the rest of the country, its chilly climate and relaxed atmosphere still refreshes the soul for today’s travelers. Perhaps even more inviting are the friendly faces visitors encounter in this cheery town.
Click on the top left photo to start your tour.
Shoppers make their way through Baguio Public Market’s sprawling stalls. Here, vendors from across the region sell produce, fresh cut flowers, home goods, souvenirs, and other goods to locals and tourists.
A vendor sells street food in Mine’s View Park. Today’s menu includes fried bananas, dried squid, fish balls, and one-day-old chick.
Everlasting flowers greet tourists with their bright petals and sunny air. Also known as the paper daisy, it’s sold in strings to tourists and to the faithful, who leave the flowers on church altars and on the graves of loved ones.
Evidence of America’s colonial rule can be found in the building facades of Session Road, Baguio’s main thoroughfare and business district.
A young man sells fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, strawberry wine, and other local fare in a market. The strawberries are grown in the cool, mountainous hillsides and sold in the city or transported to Manila to reach broader markets.
Street art graces the wall of a remote Baguio road, creating an unexpected site in this otherwise traditional town.
Traditional Itogon wood carvings are produced by indigenous craftsmen through manual chisel and hammer and then sold in Baguio markets.
The Tokay Gecko, better known as the “tuko” in these parts, can be found throughout the Philippines. Thought to possess a variety of medicinal qualities, illegal traders have turned tuko-hunting into a lucrative business which has threatened the species. Still, some locals fight to preserve the tuko and celebrate its beauty through art.
Colorful ponies dutifully await their next passengers. Accompanied by a handler, or “pony boy,” visitors can explore the pines and pools of Wright Park, also known as “Ride Park.”
A dragon boat is docked while its captain stands ashore beckoning customers in Burnham Park.
A hand-carved statue guards an already-daunting stairway in Tam-Awan, a re-constructed village that allows visitors to step into the region’s indigenous past.
A young shopkeeper greets customers and watches over her inventory. Situated high up in the Cordillera Central mountain range and nourished by meandering water systems, Baguio and its surrounding territory are in an ideal climate for producing rice. Banaue’s rice terraces, named the 8th Wonder of the World, are located just a few hours away.
Coffee beans are yet another one of Baguio’s crops. Here, a shopkeeper measures the weight of some beans and prepares to make a sale, while his coworker sleeps on the job.
A green awning creates busied lighting while vendors hawk local goods, shoppers graze, and an elderly woman looks for generous souls in the Baguio Public Market.
What’s a friendly city you have visited? Please share!