Daniel Burnham, one of the most famous American architects, historians and city planners, wrote this about Baguio: 'The city I see will be a city that I will build. Ten, twenty, hundred years down the line of time, this city will live as I plan it today. The world is out in the east, friends, east is where I go.'
Building Baguio was a dream project for Daniel Burnham. Some go so far as saying that his deep rooted passion for creating a modern city in an otherwise dysfunctional archipelago of Philippines eventually ended up consuming his bodily resources, leaving him weak and infirm. This happened after Burnham had to his credits the successful plans of San Francisco and Chicago makes one wonder what it was that he found so alluring in this place.
To understand, however, one has to board a flight to Manila and get down to Baguio itself. The city, an oversized town really, is not one of those Alpine Swiss towns or cities that impress the visitors with the first look. You will need some time to get used to, in fact discover, the raw and unprocessed beauty that Baguio has enchanted many before with.
Being a fairly organized city in a chaotic country like Philippines, Baguio has always been a crowd-magnet for people traveling to Philippines for business or work. Considering the sizeable inflow of tourists and businessmen, Baguio has to be commended for not losing its modest shape and infrastructure that Burnham had in mind while planning.
Today, like many other cities in the developing (even developed) world, Baguio faces a steep crisis of population influx and all the perils that go with it. Despite that, the fact remains that Baguio is a hotspot for tourism, education and commerce in Northern Philippines.
Staying Cheap in Baguio
Being a major city in a country that is progressing fast has its advantages for Baguio and visitors who plan on visiting the city. First of all, forward journey means that the city is benefiting immensely from developing infrastructure, much of which is owed to the status of educational campus of Philippines that Baguio seems to have carried for decades. Because of this very reason, one can find it quite easy to locate and book cheap hotels while visiting Baguio. A word of caution, however, is in order. As many travelers can agree with, it's always the best idea to choose a hotel that, even though not a really cheap one, is safer and more hygienic in outlook.
Lavish Lodging in Baguio
Despite being located in a developing country, Baguio is not wholly unfamiliar to the concept of posh resorts and exorbitantly priced weekend gateaway establishments that lie just beyond the city limits.
Baguio was primarily established as a safe haven for American citizens in Philippines. The high altitude location of Baguio makes it a perfect hill station, the first and the last of its kind that Americans ever founded. Luxury hotels in Baguio try their best to do justice to grandeur and beauty of the surroundings that they are situated amidst.
The Manor at Camp John Hay, however, steals the whole show by presenting an ambiance that is nothing short of royal and stately. With its dozens of suites that befit royalty, visiting dignitaries and celebs, The Manor is perhaps the best hotel in the whole of Philippines. The Burnham Suites is another respectable mention in this list of lavish Baguio hotels. Named in respect of the late and great planner of the city of Baguio, the Burnham Suites never fail in standing up to the immensely tall expectations of its guests.
Looking Beyond The ordinary
It must be conceded that not all tourists can afford to lodge with an expensive hotel and not all tourists do like to resort to cheap hotels just in order to save some cash. For such travelers, there are a handful of alternative lodging options available in Baguio.
The best lodging option that defies both of the extremities mentioned above is finding a holiday home in Baguio. A holiday home is a fully furnished and functional house leased out on short term rent plans to tourists who wish to stay for a period of more than two weeks but less than six months. Holiday homes are much cheaper than exotic hotels in Baguio and they are much more comfortable than the ones that are priced way too low.
Want to Lodge Near Baguio Airport?
Baguio airport (technically speaking, Loakan Airport) is the commonest port of entry for foreign tourists into this city of pines. It is quite reasonable, then, for tourists to look for a good hotel in the immediate vicinity of this airport. While there are not too many such establishments present, there are a handful of old-fashioned private lodges and paying guest accommodations available in suburbs that lie outside the city limits of Baguio, just as one enters the city from Loakan Airport.
Traveling in Baguio
To be fair to the city itself, traveling when in Baguio is not as much a problem of distance as it is a problem of inadequate infrastructure. Since the city was first thought up and designed over a century ago, a lot has changed. The original infrastructure that Burnham had designed the city with had the capacity to house 10,000 people at the maximum. Today, Baguio houses over 500,000 people. Even though relevant measures have been attempted, it only remains a foregone conclusion that the city has already been pushed to its limits.
For tourists, hence, the only way to travel quickly and without much hassle when in Baguio is renting a private car or hiring a cab for the duration of their stay. Baguio hotels, especially the ones with at least 3 stars, do have their own in-house private fleet of cars that are rented out to guests on a discounted tariff base. In summary, a trip to Baguio should be great fun experience for you, provided that you have planned it well enough!