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How to Enjoy Baguio for Less Than ₱500

by Kim Meadows

You don't need to spend a fortune to enjoy what Baguio has to offer.

Here's a bit of trivia: Not a lot of people outside Baguio know this, but Baguio is also a college town. With the huge population of students who live there, combined with the low price of food and transportation, it makes an affordable place to explore. Even as a visitor, you can have a full day out for less than P500. Here are 3 different ways to discover Baguio on the cheap!


1. Walkathon

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The main business district of Baguio alone offers plenty of options for cheap eating and leisure activities. As you’re walking down lower Session Road, turn left at the intersection onto Diego Silang Street and head over to Dane’s Bakery. Here you’ll find cheap thrills in the form of pandesal and cinnamon bread. No matter what kind of bread you prefer, P30 goes a long way here for a quick but filling breakfast.

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Continue on your walk down Diego Silang Street until you hit Burnham Park and take in the sunshine and breeze with a slow-paced walk. When you’re ready for lunch, choose from the barbecue stalls lined up on Perfecto Street. For P120 or less, get rice and a giant stick of barbecue (P90) or a bunch of smaller ones like isaw (chicken intestines), tenga (pig ears), and hotdog at around P10 each.

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For the full Burnham Park experience, rent out one of the iconic swan boats for an hour for P150. Or, a cheaper option is to rent a BMX/Mountain Bike for P40 or a Go Kart/Side Car for P50. For a sweet treat to reenergize you, don't forget to try the strawberry taho from one of the vendors for only P30!

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Be sure to also take advantage of the free Wi-Fi at the park. It’s not the fastest or most reliable, but it is free for everyone. If you’re content to just watch the dancing fountain in the Rose Garden, there is no charge for that.

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Head back to Session Road for dinner at Pizza Volante. Many of their 8-inch pizzas go for under P200. Alternatively, you can get a large serving of pesto pasta, pasta with meat sauce, chili con carne pasta, or pomodoro pasta on the same budget. You can even get a decent rice meal with beef kebab, grilled boneless chicken, or grilled pork.

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BREAKDOWN:
Pastries at Dane’s Bakery: P30
Barbecue at Perfecto Street: P120
Swan Boat Rental: P150 OR Bike/Go Kart Rental: P40-50
Strawberry Taho at Burnham Park: P30
Pizza at Pizza Volante: P200
TOTAL: P420-500


2. A Cultural Experience

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Start your morning with a hefty breakfast at Ebai's Café and Pastry on the side of Porta Vaga mall. For P118, they give you a choice of longganisa, tocino, corned beef or daing na bangus, with garlic rice and a fried egg on the side.

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Soak up the culture and history of the north at the Baguio Museum. Entrance is set at only P40. This allows you access to the exhibit on the ground floor which showcases Cordilleran tools, clothing, and tradition, and the photos and dioramas upstairs that detail the short but fascinating history of Baguio.

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Work up an appetite by walking down Governor Pack Road to get to Session Road. On the left side, you’ll see Jack’s Baguio Restaurant. You can buy a complete meal – rice, pork, egg, chopsuey, and a piece of chicken all for only P80. If you can’t deal with the choice overload, opt for fried rice toppings with a choice of liempo, chicken, or shanghai on the same budget.

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Once you’ve had your fill, walk to Diego Silang Street and take a Mines View jeepney to Botanical Garden. Be ready to alight shortly after the bridge on Leonard Wood Road. Entrance is free, and it’s a highly Instagram-worthy place. From the front of the park, you can catch a jeep going back in the direction you came from, then get down at Mamita’s Bulaluhan.

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Mamita’s is known for their bulalo, which you can buy for P150. Their pork sisig, breaded fish fillet, crispy lechon kawali and some other dishes are at the same price point. Add some rice and a drink and expect to shell out around P200.

BREAKDOWN:
Ebai's Café and Pastry: P118
Baguio Museum: P40
Jack’s Baguio Restaurant: P120
Mamita’s Bulaluhan: P200
Jeep: P20
TOTAL: P498


3. Art Appreciation

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There are bakeries abound in Baguio, and one where you can get the most bang for your buck is Swiss Baker on Session Road. As with Dane’s Bakery, P30 goes a long way, but you may want to stretch it to P100 for a taste of their coffee or some of the fancier, more filling pastries.

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A bit farther down Session Road and to the right is Ili Likha Artist Village. Take some time to appreciate the unique structure that is made of upcycled materials. There are many food choices inside Ili Likha, but for big eaters, Brrgrr is a must-try. On a budget of P100, you can enjoy a plate of bagnet, sisig, longganisa, tapa, or tocino, or you can sample one of the restaurant’s namesakes. Their cheeseburger and super-sized burger sell for P89 and P79, respectively.

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Walk off the heavy lunch as you make your way to Hilltop, which is behind the public market. From there, take a Long-Long Tacay Tam-awan jeepney to Tam-awan Village. Your fare will come out to P8. The entrance fee for the highland-inspired village is just P50. After exploring the village, settle down for dinner at Farmer's Daughter restaurant. With most of their main courses pegged at P100 and salads at P80, you can have a filling meal for under P200.

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Head back to the city center by walking back in the direction you came from then taking a left. After a short distance, you'll see a sari-sari store where you can wait for the P8 jeep that returns to the terminal.

BREAKDOWN:
Swiss Baker: P100
Brrgrr: P100
Long-Long Tacay Tam-awan jeepney to Tam-awan Village: P8
Farmer's Daughter Restaurant: P200
Jeep ride to terminal: P8
TOTAL: P416


Planning a trip to Baguio? Get some inspiration from our Destination 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 Kim
Kim is the voice of the weekday show Krunch Time on 103.5 KLite FM. Born in California and raised in Baguio, she moved to Manila to get her master's degree in Women and Development Studies from UP Diliman. Watercolor, cooking, and video games are three things she is not particularly good at but enjoys nonetheless.

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