If there is anything that captures the essence of Baguio, it most probably will be the Baguio City Market. Like the city itself, the market is a melting pot of the Cordillera region and its lowland products. It can get extremely busy yet not stressful with its wide variety of items and services. But why would a public market of a city be considered a tourist attraction? The answer – the Four C’s.
Clean – Simply put, the market is extremely clean. It is not dusty, wet or smelly like most of the markets located elsewhere in the country. Vendors do their part in maintaining the cleanliness of their surroundings, which adds to the benefit of most of the shoppers who visit the location.
Cool – Without having to sweat your way through the market, this may be the only fully “air-conditioned” market in the Philippines thanks to the cool temperature of Baguio. Shopping around is literally a breeze.
Cheap – Shoppers will be able to haggle their way to the most affordable prices. It is not only possible to haggle but is expected as well. Bargains are plenty may it be in buying fresh fish or even handicraft items. The trick is buying in bulk to get the lowest deal possible.
Complete – Everything you will ever need can be found here. The city market has a wet goods section that sells an amazing selection of fresh and processed meat along with seafood and fish items coming from the lowland provinces. The industrial area sells plastics, nets, styrofoam and canvas. There is another section of the market that sells fresh-roasted coffee beans with the center of the market dedicated to selling fruits and vegetables along with baskets, bags, brooms, blankets and other woven products. There is also an alley behind the market that is better known to be the “black market” that sells imported products such as shampoos and comforters. Flowers and plants are sold near the Abanao Road exit with the option of having them cut, arranged or outfitted for a bridal car. Finally, the dry goods sections that the locals refer to as Marbay is the most frequented area that tourists love. Here, a wide variety of handicrafts and souvenir items fill the stalls with oversized wooden spoons, rosaries and even the barrelman.
Located right in the heart of the city, the market is found at the base of Session Road on Magsaysay Avenue, which is very near the Burnham Park. Adjacent to the city market is the Maharlika Livelihood Center that houses boutiques of specialty items, money changers, furniture stores, antique dealers, beauty parlors and a lot more.
It’s surprising to know that many tourists of Baguio City opt to visit the market twice during their stay: first, upon their arrival for vacation supplies and non-perishable goods and another time, just before leaving the city to shop for souvenir items and perishable goods to bring home. That alone says a lot about how complete items are in the Baguio City Market. Make sure to include it in your itinerary the next time your visit the City of Pines.