My younger sister, who lives and works in Singapore, surprised our mother after two years of not being able to come home to the Philippines because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions. She took a vacation for six weeks in May and of course, didn’t miss the chance to bond with us by planning a trip to Benguet for the family. From May 20 to 22, 2022, we visited different tourist spots in Baguio, Tuba and Atok in Benguet together with my mother, oldest sister, younger sister, my boyfriend and his daughter.
We’ve been to Baguio a few times before and have already seen the ever-famous spots like Burnham Park, Strawberry Farm, Mines View Park, etc. And so this time around, we decided to visit those which are quite new or we have not been able to visit before. Aside from that, we also considered that we have our mother with us who is a senior citizen plus our oldest sister who was still recovering from a foot injury then, not to mention we are no longer young as we used to be.
Our Baguio Itinerary
1. Check-in at The Manor at Camp John Hay
We stayed at The Manor at Camp John Hay for 3 days and 2 nights in their Deluxe Room – Forest view. The hotel is really cozy, nice and welcoming. When booking, breakfast is excluded in the published rate. You may opt to take the breakfast buffet at the Le Chef in The Manor or eat at the different restaurants within Camp John Hay at a more affordable rate.
2. Lunch at Good Taste Restaurant
We went to the Good Taste Restaurant Baguio Legarda Branch in Otek Street near Burnham Park. This branch has a bigger building (five stories with elevator) compared to the main branch and has more parking spaces. We still had difficulty finding a parking space though as a lot of people eat here, thanks to their large serving and affordable prices.
3. Picture-taking at Igorot Stone Kingdom
Entrance Fee: Php 100.00 per head
The Igorot Stone Kingdom is a new tourist destination in the City of Pines that showcases the Igorot folklore and is based on the legend of Sab-angan.
4. Breakfast at Cafe by the Ruins
On our second day, we had breakfast at Cafe by the Ruins which is located in Shuntug Road. It is better if you come early as it is one of the go-to restaurants by locals and tourists. They do not accept reservations and has a small parking space. They are already open as early as 7:00 am. Don’t forget to also try their delicious freshly-baked breads.
5. Trek at Mirador Heritage and Eco Park
Entrance Fee: Php 100.00 per head
Mirador Heritage and Eco Park is a minor trek, thanks to the paved trails and handrails. Kids and “titos/titas” can easily reach the Mirador Peace Memorial, the highest point in the park. There are long queues for photos in the different attractions/spots though and expect heavy traffic going to and from Mirador Heritage and Eco Park so bring patience and allot at least 2-3 hours for this tour.
6. Dinner at Pamana Restaurant
Located by the Igorot stairs at Upper Session, we had a sumptuous dinner after our trip to Atok, Benguet.
7. Breakfast at Pizza Volante
On our third and last day, we ate breakfast at Pizza Volante Baguio-Ayala Land Technohub in Camp John Hay. They have rice meals, pasta, soup in their menu aside from pizza. There is also an ample parking space in the area.
8. Mass at Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral (Baguio Cathedral)
Our last day in Baguio fell on a Sunday and before going home, we went to hear an English mass in the Baguio Cathedral.
9. Shopping for souvenirs at Baguio market
Of course, a Baguio trip wouldn’t be complete without shopping at the market for vegetables, peanut brittle, ube jam and broom.
Internet Signal in Baguio
Road Condition in Baguio
Let's talk about Atok
On our second day, we went on a trip to Atok which is also in the province of Benguet. It is about 46.3 kilometers and will take 1 hour and 44-minute drive from Baguio.
Our Atok itinerary
1. Lunch at Loyung Restaurant and Bakery
Along the Halsema Highway, we stopped by Loyung Restaurant and Bakery before we started our Atok tour. We tried their version of sinigang and chopsuey made of fresh vegetables.
2. Registration at the Atok Municipal Hall
Sakura Park and Haight’s Place Entrance Fee: Php 150 per head
Wagangan Rock Formation Entrance Fee: Php 100 per head
The municipality of Atok is slowly being quite known to travelers with its tourist spots. This is why they have organized a tour package for travelers who want to visit these spots. At the Atok municipal hall, you can register, pay the ecological fee and hire a tour guide.
3. Picture-taking at Wagangan Rock Formation
If you have a lowered car, going to the Wagangan Rock Formation may be challenging due to the rough and unpaved road leading to the place. There is also a short walk from the parking space. You’ll see tombs at the backyard or sometimes, at the field. We were told that this is a tradition where families bury or lay to rest deceased family members in the lands that they own as there are no private or public cemeteries in the area.
Remember to respect the place. Do not litter or vandalize when visiting.
4. Buy plants at the 2nd Highest Point
Atok used to be the highest point in the Philippine Highway System until 2019. Now, it holds the second highest point and a lot of travelers and tourists still drop by to take photos and buy plants.
5. Tour the Northern Blossom Flower Farm
Entrance Fee: Php 250 per head (Seniors, PWD and Students are discounted)
A visit to the Northern Blossom Flower Farm is not part of the tour package being offered by the Atok Municipal Hall tour guide. This is because the farm is privately owned and they have their own tour guides. The farm is one of the major suppliers of flowers in Dangwa, Manila.
Internet Signal in Atok
Road Condition in Atok
A side trip to Tuba
A tour of Benguet wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the BenCab Museum in the municipality of Tuba. It takes about 17 to 20-minute drive from Baguio City center going to this museum that houses the collections and works of art of Philippine National Artist Benedicto Cabrera.
The museum also has a cafe should you wish to drink a hot chocolate or coffee plus there’s a shop where you can buy notebooks, tote bags, caps and other items as souvenirs for your visit.
Internet Signal in Tuba
Road Condition in Tuba
Looking for a van to rent?
You may contact Kuya Gener at 0997-9152200. Price may vary depending on the itinerary.