Situated amidst the mountainous region of Cordillera, 1,500 meters above the sea, 250 kilometers north of Manila, Baguio City is one of the few place in the Philippines blessed with a cool climate. On average, Baguio is at least eight degrees cooler than any place in the lowlands. Not surprisingly, Baguio has become the "summer capital" of the country. It is gifted with a variety of cultural, historical and scenic attractions which make it an important and interesting destiantion. As early as March, tourists and locals take the six-hour trek up the zigzagging Kennon Road. Within a mile of the city, the sweet scent of pine trees and flowers already permeate the air.
Artists are particularly drawn to this serene city. The annual Baguio Arts Festival attracts aspiring photographers, painters and sculptors from all over country. Writers convene in Baguio to meet and recharfe.
However, Baguio wasn't always a place of peace and leisure. In the early 19th century, the Spaniards stumbled upon this ore-rich valley - and fought feverishly with the local tribes to gain control of the land's bounties. While the Spaniards succeeded in founding some form of governance in the area, the mountain tribes proved too diffcult to rule. Thus, the Spaniards parceled out the province to the landed gentry.
It was the Americans, perhaps longing for colder climates who saw the vast recreational potential of Baguio. After building Camp John Hay, the Americans proceeded to carve Kennon Road from out of the mountain - and limked Baguio to Manila - and eventually to visitors of all creeds and races.
If you only have a day to spend in Baguio, start your tour with a walk down Session Road. The city's commercial artery, Session Road is where you get your first bite of the charm and serendipity of Baguio. Apart from a smattering of one-of-a-kind curio shops and fashion boutiques, Session also features an intersting array of culinary delights. Restaurants specializing in Chinese, Italian American, Japanese and Mongolian can be readily found along Session. From Session, take a cab to any of Baguio's prime attractions. Go horseback riding at Wright Park. Climb up the 252 steps to the Lourdes Grotto. Play a round of golf at John Hay. Cook a tasty chopsuey with the freshest of veggies from the Baguio City Market. Visit the Mansion. Stock up on strawberries. Or tuck under a warm blanket with the crackling of burning wood lulling you to sleep. For nighttowls, Baguio is alive with pulsating music and warm spirits. There are a number of bars and discos that swing until the wee hours of the morning.