While the Philippines is known to travelers worldwide for its warm tropical delights—the gorgeous beaches, the golden sun—there are in fact some cool destinations in the country too. There’s always windy Tagaytay, for instance, as well as several of the northern mountains… but undoubtedly the most popular of all the cool spots in the archipelago is Baguio, also known as the country’s Summer Capital.
First popularized as the place-to-be by the Americans (who used to transfer to it whenever the sweltering summers hit the rest of the country), Baguio has since become more than a summertime getaway. This is a major urbanized city now, which is not to say that it has lost all the green charm of its foggy mountain- and cliff-tops: it just means that it’s a modern commercial and cultural hub in itself now and you’ll be able to enjoy top-quality amenities in it as well as the delights of nature.
Baguio is filled with parks—including Burnham’s, quite famously—and gardens open to the public. Al fresco malls and shopping centers abound as well, there to take advantage of the cool, clement weather. Local bazaars provide superb local crafts products and annual festivals like Panagbenga (the Flower Festival) add a dash of color to the city’s already verdant image. Horse riding and hiking are common pastimes and trails run through the city’s surrounding pine forests as well as by the very roads. Locals tend to be well-off, friendly, and very used to foreigners. In fact, many of them used to be that!
Baguio is a lovely place to hit on any trip to the Philippines. It’s definitely charming: large-flowered roses everywhere and strawberries aplenty in the markets, hot springs and hotels of quality for just about any traveler, and, of course, the famous Philippine hospitality. It may not be the Philippines most people immediately think of when it comes to traveling to the tropics, but it’s a Philippines worth seeing too and certainly worth remembering.