Benguet Travel Guide

Overview of Benguet

The Philippines' fame extends beyond its islands and beaches. The province of Benguet is home to several of the country's beautiful natural landscapes. Benguet, located in the northernmost section of the Cordillera Administrative Region and known as the "Salad Bowl of the Philippines," is one of the major sources of the nation's fresh veggies. Benguet offers a welcome respite from hectic daily life with its beautiful mountain vistas, calm ambience, and cool breeze.

The most famous feature of Benguet is Baguio City, also known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines and a popular tourist destination. You may relax in popular tourist destinations in Baguio like The Mansion, Burnham Park, and Camp John Hay, among many more. La Trinidad, the capital of Benguet, is where vegetables and strawberries are produced.

For a reasonable sum, visitors can enjoy the convenience of picking their own bunch of the farm's best vegetables and strawberries. Since strawberries are widely available in La Trinidad, strawberry-flavoured treats like strawberry taho (heated silken tofu with sweet syrup and sago pearls), strawberry ice cream, and strawberry jam are delectable and must-try items.

Check out the colorful homes in the La Trinidad neighborhood of Stonehill, Botiwtiw, and Sadjap (STOBOSA), which are reminiscent of the Rio de Janeiro slum murals. Hike up Mount Pulag if you enjoy the outdoors to witness the amazing sea of clouds. Once you see the breathtaking vista, every step you take to get there will be worth it.

Where to Go

Baguio City

Known as the "Summer Capital of the Philippines," Baguio City is Benguet's most famous destination. Explore popular attractions like Burnham Park, Mines View Park, The Mansion, and Camp John Hay. Don't miss the colorful Baguio Public Market for souvenirs and fresh produce.

Strawberry Farms

Benguet is famous for its delicious strawberries. Visit La Trinidad, the Strawberry Capital of the Philippines, where you can pick your own strawberries in vast strawberry farms or buy fresh ones from the market.

Mount Pulag National Park

Trekking enthusiasts should not miss the chance to climb Mount Pulag, the third highest peak in the Philippines. It's renowned for its stunning sea of clouds and breathtaking sunrise views. The trek offers different trails suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers.

Bencab Museum

Located in Tuba, Benguet, the Bencab Museum showcases the works of Filipino national artist Benedicto Cabrera. The museum features indigenous art, contemporary paintings, and sculptures set amidst a beautiful garden with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Kabayan Mummies

Explore the ancient Kabayan Mummy Caves in Kabayan, Benguet, where you can learn about the indigenous burial practices of the Cordilleran people. The caves contain mummified remains dating back hundreds of years and provide insights into the region's rich cultural heritage.

Asin Hot Springs

Relax and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs of Asin, located in Tuba, Benguet. Surrounded by lush greenery and mountain views, the hot springs offer a soothing experience, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring.

Tam-awan Village

Immerse yourself in Cordilleran culture and art at Tam-awan Village in Baguio City. This reconstructed traditional village showcases Ifugao and Kalinga houses, art galleries, and cultural performances, providing visitors with a glimpse into the region's indigenous heritage.

Lourdes Grotto

Visit the Lourdes Grotto, a Catholic shrine located in Baguio City. Climb the 252 steps to reach the grotto, where you can offer prayers, light candles, and enjoy panoramic views of the city below.

What to Do

Hiking and Trekking

Explore the province's beautiful mountain trails and breathtaking landscapes through hiking and trekking. Scale the iconic Mount Pulag, known for its sea of clouds and stunning sunrise views, or opt for other scenic trails like Mount Ulap, Mount Yangbew, or Mount Kalugong.

Strawberry Picking

Visit La Trinidad, Benguet's Strawberry Capital, and experience the joy of picking fresh strawberries at local farms. Enjoy the sweet and juicy fruits straight from the fields or purchase them from the market to bring home as souvenirs.

Cultural Immersion

Immerse yourself in the rich culture and heritage of the Cordilleran people by visiting indigenous villages, participating in cultural exchanges, and learning traditional crafts such as weaving and woodcarving. Tam-awan Village and the Cordillera Sculpture Museum are excellent places to experience Cordilleran culture firsthand.

Explore Baguio City

Discover the charm of Baguio City, the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Stroll along Session Road, visit historical landmarks like The Mansion and Burnham Park, shop for souvenirs at the Baguio Public Market, and indulge in delicious local cuisine at various restaurants and food stalls.

Visit Bencab Museum

Art enthusiasts shouldn't miss the chance to explore Bencab Museum in Tuba, Benguet. Marvel at the impressive collection of contemporary art, indigenous artifacts, and sculptures by national artist Benedicto Cabrera (Bencab), set against a backdrop of lush gardens and panoramic mountain views.

Relax in Hot Springs

Unwind and rejuvenate your body and mind in the natural hot springs of Asin, Benguet. Enjoy a soothing soak amidst tranquil surroundings, surrounded by lush forests and fresh mountain air.

Adventure Activities

Thrill-seekers can satisfy their adrenaline cravings by engaging in adventure activities such as zip-lining, rappelling, and rock climbing. Head to Camp John Hay Eco Trail or Mount Costa for exhilarating outdoor adventures.

Visit Kabayan Mummy Caves

Explore the ancient burial caves of Kabayan and learn about the fascinating indigenous burial practices of the Cordilleran people. Marvel at the well-preserved mummies and discover the rich cultural heritage of the region.

When is the Best Time to Visit Benguet

During the dry season, which typically spans from November to April, Benguet enjoys relatively drier weather with fewer chances of rainfall. This period is considered the peak tourist season due to the pleasant climate, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking, and exploring the province's scenic landscapes. The clear skies and cool temperatures during this time provide excellent conditions for enjoying popular attractions like Mount Pulag, Baguio City, and the strawberry farms of La Trinidad without the interruption of rain.

Conversely, the wet season in Benguet, which occurs from May to October, brings increased rainfall and cooler temperatures. While the rains can make outdoor activities more challenging and certain trails may be closed due to safety concerns, the lush greenery and refreshing atmosphere create a picturesque setting for nature enthusiasts.

How to Get to Benguet

By Air

While Benguet does not have its own airport, the most common way to reach the province by air is to fly to the nearest major airport, which is the Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga or the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila. From there, you can take a domestic flight to the Loakan Airport in Baguio City, the capital of Benguet. Several airlines operate flights between Manila or Clark and Baguio, with a flight duration of approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.

By Sea

While Benguet is a landlocked province and does not have direct access to the sea, travellers can still reach nearby coastal cities and towns by sea, then proceed with land transportation to Benguet. For example, if you're coming from other islands in the Philippines, you can take a ferry or RoRo (roll-on/roll-off) vessel to nearby ports such as Batangas Port or Manila Port.

By Car / Bus

Land transportation is the most common and convenient way to reach Benguet from other parts of Luzon Island. If you're coming from Manila or nearby provinces, you can travel to Benguet by car, bus, or rented vehicle. The most popular route is via the Marcos Highway or Kennon Road, both of which provide scenic views of the mountains and forests along the way.

Several bus companies operate daily routes between Manila and Baguio City, offering comfortable and affordable transportation options for travellers. The journey by bus typically takes around 4 to 6 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the chosen route.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

Taxis are available in major towns and cities like Baguio City, providing convenient door-to-door transportation for travellers. Additionally, ride-sharing services like Grab are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas, offering an alternative and often more affordable option for getting around.

By Car / Motorcycle

Renting a car or motorcycle is another convenient option for exploring Benguet at your own pace. Several rental companies offer vehicles for hire, allowing you to explore remote areas, scenic viewpoints, and off-the-beaten-path attractions with ease.

What to Eat

Local Food

Experience the delectable flavors of Batangas by treating yourself to the delicious offerings of local eateries such as Goodtaste Restaurant, The Food Cartel - City of Pines, Secret Garden, and Spoon & Stone Cafe. These establishments serve a variety of hearty dishes that showcase the region's culinary heritage, providing a delightful dining experience for visitors to savour.

Fresh Seafood

In the coastal towns and beachfront locales, visitors can discover a plethora of seafood dining establishments and eateries serving an extensive selection of freshly-caught ocean delicacies. Restaurants such as Savana Seafood Restaurant, Abacus Seafood Restaurant, and Bay-Bay Seafood & Grill are among the many options available, providing travellers with the opportunity to indulge in delectable seafood dishes amidst scenic seaside settings.

Western Food

In Benguet, several restaurants offer a delectable array of Western cuisine, providing a delightful contrast to the local flavors. Establishments like Melt, Mana Cafe and Pine Country Steaks and Waffles.

What to Buy

When exploring Benguet, Philippines, there are several unique items you can purchase as souvenirs or gifts. One of the most popular items to buy is locally grown strawberries and other fresh produce, especially from the markets in La Trinidad. Benguet is also known for its intricate handwoven textiles, such as blankets, scarves, and bags, showcasing the region's rich weaving tradition. Additionally, you can find unique handicrafts made by local artisans, including wooden carvings, pottery, and beadwork, perfect for adding a touch of Cordilleran culture to your home.

Where to Stay

In Benguet, Philippines, there are several options for accommodation to suit different preferences and budgets. Baguio City, the capital of Benguet, offers a variety of choices ranging from luxury hotels with modern amenities to cozy guesthouses and budget-friendly hostels. La Trinidad, known for its strawberry fields, provides a peaceful retreat with homestays and bed and breakfasts amidst scenic landscapes.

For those embarking on a trek up Mount Pulag, base camps near the jump-off points offer basic accommodations for adventurers. Whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of the city or the tranquility of the countryside, Benguet has something for every traveler to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

For your journey to Benguet, it is advised to pack lightweight and comfortable attire, taking into account the tropical climate. Choose breathable materials such as cotton and linen to remain cool in the heat.

Bring swimwear for beach outings, and consider modest clothing when visiting religious sites. Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are suitable for casual outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful if you plan to explore nature reserves or hike.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

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