8 Places You Need to Visit in Baguio
The City of Pines isn’t just a summer destination—head over to these spots for the highly creative, artistic vibe and a bit of Northern style inspo
The humidity of summer and a long weekend are two good reasons to head out to Baguio City, one of the country’s most popular (and easily accessible) vacation destinations. But aside from visiting the usual haunts like Camp John Hay and buying strawberries and walis in the public market, why not head over to Baguio for a bit of design inspiration for your home?
Baguio City is full of incredibly artistic personalities, and this pool of creativity offers some sort of leeway in decorating and conceptualizing shops, restaurants, and even hotels. Aside from the traditional Cordilleran cultural references, there are modern, eclectic, and even classical styles to be found in interiors and shops around the city. Here are a few spots to check out, if you’re looking for a bit of inspo that’s both stylish and cool:
This museum-library-inn-café is a little bit off the beaten track, but it’s worth the trek. Owner Ninja Sabado says Arca stands for “Activities and Renaissance for Culture and the Arts.” Visitors go here for the delectable camote pie, but there’s more to see in the exhibits of bul-ol (rice gods), antique Ifugao carvings, paintings, and photographs by Cordilleran artists.
There’s a charming library upstairs, and a bed-and-breakfast too (with limited availability). It’s a good place take in Cordilleran culture and have a bit of peace and quiet.
777 Tip-top City Limit, Ambuctao Road, Baguio City; tel. (074) 442-9706, mobile 0929-325-1868
The fashion company’s 1,500-sqm hotel is a delightful surprise—in a city known for log cabin-type interiors with fireplaces, Kamiseta hotel runs wild with classical motifs, ornate furniture, vivid color, and mixed patterns. Aside from the exuberantly decorated lobby, the hotel’s rooms have different color schemes and themes, from pink-and-salmon calico to black-and-white toile de jouy. To read more about Kamiseta Hotel, click here.
20 Villamor St., Brgy. Lualhati, Baguio City; URL kamisetahotels.com
The BenCab Museum
National Artist Benedicto (or BenCab) Cabrera’s museum has become an iconic Baguio destination in itself. Overlooking a lush mountainside with creeping fog, the museum houses the artist’s vast collection of art and Cordilleran artifacts. There is always something new to see each time you visit, and don’t miss the lush landscaped grounds, the museum shop with Ifugao weaves and BenCab souvenirs, and the Sabel Café. (Another new ethnographic museum to visit—check out the Museo Kordilyera at the University of the Philippines-Baguio at Governor Pack Road.)
Km. 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet, URL bencabmuseum.org
PNKY Vintage Collection
After owner Pynky Magsino closed shop at her iconic PNKY Bed and Breakfast at Leonard Wood road, she concentrated on her store at the ground floor of the Baguio Country Club. The iconic 20-year-old shop is a treasure trove of Pynky’s curated collections, which not only carry Cordilleran arts, but also handcrafted jewelry, hardwood furniture, and assorted antiques. PNKY has a Manila branch located at LRI Design Plaza, Makati City.
Baguio Country Club, Country Club Drive, Baguio City, tel. (074) 444-5418
If you’re looking for Cordilleran furniture to take home, don’t go to the Baguio Public Market if you want a unique piece. Go to antiques collector Greg Sabado’s eponymous shop, instead. Its labyrinthine, low-ceilinged rooms carry all sorts of handicrafts from Ifugao benches and gigantic bul-ol to coasters and hand-woven baskets. But before you leave, check out his basement, which contains unique furniture made out of beautifully patterned hardwood, and sculptural decorative pieces, as well.
Outlook Drive, Baguio City (look for the “Sabado’s” sign)
Mt. Cloud Bookshop
Mt. Cloud’s book collection is mostly of Filipino titles. “We’ve found our niche, and it’s in selling and promoting Filipino titles,” says co-owner Feliz Perez. Get lost in the floor-to-ceiling shelves of historical, biographical, art, and fiction books—there is a mezzanine and ladders all around to reach the title of your choice—and a children’s corner, too. The best part of Mt. Cloud is that it’s located in Casa Vallejo, the oldest hotel in Baguio, which dates back to 1909. If you’re in town this weekend, catch the Baguio Craft Fair at Hill Station Café right next to it; the fair runs from April 8 to 9, 2017.
Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City, tel. (074) 424-4437
Bloomfield Hotel is a popular, affordable lodging spot because of its proximity to many Baguio sites. The hotel has upped the design ante by creating Patch Café, a restaurant café with the requisite hip décor of murals, patterned cement tiles, and colorful furniture, but with distinct Cordilleran touches by way of traditional accents and fabrics. “Having a modern look injected with a Cordillera vibe makes the project distinct and memorable,” says its designer Frenjick Quesada. “The result is a fresh take on the City of Pines.”
G/L Bloomfield Hotel, Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City
Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna
This restaurant is one of the newest culinary players in Baguio. The cuisine is Greek, but Lemon and Olives’ interiors veer away from the traditional white-washed walls and cobalt blue accents. The multi-level resto’s décor utilizes Mediterranean patterns and accents like Greek plates as décor, but warms it up with the use of a lot of wood along with teal and yellow accents. Visit Lemon and Olives not only for the delightful ambience, but for the delicious souvlaki and moussaka as well.
26 Outlook Drive, Baguio City, tel. (074) 423-2278
PHOTOS Dairy Darilag (Arca’s, PNKY, Sabado’s, Mt. Cloud, Patch) | Jun Pinzon (Bencab) | Kamiseta Hotel | Sunshine Selga Funa (Lemon and Olives)
Read the original article ("Baguio Bliss") in the December 2015-January 2016 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living for more details.
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