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7 Alternative Activities to Do in Benguet

by Gretchen Filart
May 31, 2018

Famous attractions such as Mt. Pulag, La Trinidad Strawberry Farm, and Mines View Park are just some of the reasons why Benguet is one of the busiest Northern Luzon provinces.

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The cosmopolitan streets of Baguio also account for the majority of tourists, who flock to the city for its variety of artsy food and beverage facilities. A gamut of hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving homegrown fare and posh ones offering international dishes can be found around the area, too.

If you're looking for a different way to experience Benguet apart from those you usually see in guides though, this list is for you.

1. View local artwork at Tam-Awan Village

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Created by the Chanum Foundation and renowned Benguet-based artist Ben Cab, Tam-Awan Village takes visitors on a journey to Cordilleran culture through art, food, and architecture. The village boasts nine Ifugao huts across its 2.5-hectare expanse, each one handpainted by local artists and accessible through bamboo bridges.

Fun fact: Some of these native huts can be rented overnight, including the Dukligan or fertility hut, which is specially made for couples who want to conceive.

Adding to the charm of this rustic property are several bulol or rice god sculptures scattered along the trail.

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Art enthusiasts can check out Bugnay Gallery, which hosts a collection of local artwork depicting traditional Ifugao culture. Have your portrait sketched by one of the village artists, or don traditional Ifugao clothing and have a snapshot taken for a minimal fee.

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Next to the gallery is Tam-Awan Café, a modest cafe that serves local delicacies, such as pinikpikan and kiniig that are sourced from the freshest produce from nearby farms.

Cap off your visit by making a short trek to the topmost section of the hill, where a life-size dreamcatcher and an awe-inspiring view of Benguet awaits.

Tam-awan Village
366-C Pinsao Proper
2600 Baguio City
(074) 446 2949
(0917) 510 8196
(0921) 588 3131
Daily, 9AM - 6PM

Entrance Fees:
- P50 for Adults
- P30 for Students / Senior Citizens
- P20 for Children (10 years old and below)
- Free for Children 3 years old and below

Lodging (with beds and towels):
- P500 for 1 - P1,000 for 2 - P350 for Group (10 pax and more)
- P200 for Picnic Fee, entrance included (10 pax and more), 9AM – 6PM
- P120 for Bonfire Fee, entrance included, 6PM – 11PM
- P8,000 for Function Fee (maximum of 40 pax)
- P5,000 for Cultural Show (must be pre-booked)
- Workshops starts at P450

2. Dine at Hill Station

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Inside Casa Vallejo, Baguio's oldest hotel, you'll find a grand staircase that leads to one of the city's finest dining gems: Hill Station.

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A recipient of the Miele’s Best Restaurants in Asia Awards, this casual fine dining joint is best known for its hearty fusion dishes that combine the comforting flavors of Philippine and Asian cuisine with those of Europe and America. Gorgeous views of Burnham Park from the floor-to-ceiling windows provide a soothing backdrop for your dining experience.

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A meal here starts with a generous serving of complimentary wheat bread paired with olive oil dip and Egyptian Dukka. Follow it up with house bestsellers such as tapas, slow-cooked roast beef, steak, and salmon. The restaurant's Ice Cream Palette, a fun medley of five homemade ice cream on a palette and Death by Chocolate, smooth vanilla ice cream on a bed of chewy Davao tablea, are excellent endnotes to a heartwarming meal.

Hill Station
Baguio – Ayala Land Technohub
Camp John Hay, Baguio City
(074) 661 2544
Daily, 7:30AM - 10:30PM

3. Hike Mt. Kalugong

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For those who wish to hike in Benguet but are not yet ready for a full-blown Mt. Pulag trek, Mt. Kalugong in the outskirts of La Trinidad is a beginner-friendly alternative. Accessible in just 45 minutes or less from Baguio City, Mt. Kalugong features a trail dotted with limestones and a peak that can be reached in one hour max.

Expect a cool hike all throughout, especially if you come in the early morning when the fog quietly surrounds the line of pine trees. At the top, you will be treated to a panoramic view of La Trinidad and sumptuous desserts at the in-house cafe.

4. Visit Bell Church.

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Setting foot on Bell Church is like a trip back to ancient China. Housing a collection of intricately designed pagodas and statues of Chinese warriors on a landscaped hillside property, this Taoist temple is a breath of fresh air from the modern Baguio atmosphere. Because the Bell Church is often kept under-the-radar from tourists, you're also guaranteed serenity when you visit.

Bell Church
FA 347 Bell Church Rd
La Trinidad, Benguet

5. Read a book at Mt. Cloud Bookshop

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Built by avid bookworms, quirky two-storey bookshop Mt. Cloud Bookshop is where time “moves slowly, as the fog does.” Boutique Casa Vallejo is also located here. Book lovers will love its well-stocked collection of hard-to-find books, including those penned by Baguio writers, all available for private reading. (Yes, for free!) Stationery and indigenous souvenirs are available here, too.

Mount Cloud Bookshop
Casa Vallejo Bldg
DPS Compound Access Road
Baguio, 2600 Benguet
(074) 424 4437
Daily, 10:30AM - 8PM

6. Ghost hunting at The Diplomat Hotel

Baguio is rife with paranormal stories, and among those that are consistently on top spooks lists is The Diplomat Hotel, an abandoned 1911 hotel on Dominican Hill. Having served as an abode for Dominican friars and a WWII refugee camp before it was transformed into a hotel for the terminally ill, The Diplomat's colorful history makes it a favorite among paranormal tourists. In fact, there are fright tour operators who include the hotel in the itinerary.

RELATED: I Went On The Infamous Ghost Tour

Residents within the vicinity claim to screams of these patients at night, along with unexplained sounds of banging doors and utensils. Yup, it's definitely not for the faint of heart!

Diplomat Hotel
Dominican Hill, Diplomat Road
Baguio, 2600 Benguet
Daily, 8AM - 5PM

7. Drink up at Baguio Craft Brewery

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Beer craft lover? A visit to Baguio Craft Brewery is a must! Opened in 2014, this hip microbrewery along Marcos Highway serves handcrafted beers on tap that are freshly made from Baguio's most popular harvests, including strawberry, orange, and honey. Must-tries include the Lagud Strawberry Beer and Kabunyan Wheat Beer, both part of the brewery's Mythic Beer line inspired by Ifugao mythology. Pair your drink with their signature Stout Isaw, chicken intestines marinated in house-made beer.

Planning a trip to Baguio? Get more inspiration from our Travel Guide for a list of things to See, Eat, and Do in Baguio! Check out our other exclusive partner resorts in Baguio.

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About Gretchen
Gretchen is a mother and freelance editor and travel writer by day and a secret poet by night. She weaves travel stories on her blog, Her work also regularly appears in print and digital publications.

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