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What NOT to Do in Baguio: A Quick Etiquette Guide

by Kim Meadows
May 4, 2018

The success of local movies like 'That Thing Called Tadhana' and 'Forevermore' brought a new appeal to the already well-loved Summer Capital.

Screenshot: That Thing Called Tadhana

With this, the appreciation for Baguio grew. And so did the number of visitors. Although this influx of people gives homegrown businesses a steady stream of income, it's also a source of dread for the locals who have to deal with a sudden increase in traffic and crowds.

Here are a few things to avoid doing to respect the city and to make your trip more pleasant for you and your traveling companions.

1. Litter

One of the biggest complaints of locals and tourists alike is the trash that tends to get left behind after long weekends and events like the Panagbenga Parade. Like anywhere else, understand that there is a place to properly dispose of waste—which is not the sidewalk.

It pays to be responsible for where you put your garbage. And tucking that candy wrapper inside your pocket instead of tossing it out of your car window is a small sacrifice to make for a cleaner city.

2. Be insensitive to local culture

Instagram:hanniigrace

Curiosity is a natural response to new sights and sounds. You might think this trip to Baguio is your chance to see and experience the traditions of the North and the lives of the people in it. Good news: It is!

But it's important to ask questions respectfully on your learning journey. Practicing sensitivity is not as complicated as the internet makes it seem. For example, one question to avoid is "Have you ever seen a real Igorot?" (Yes, it gets asked a lot.)

In all likelihood, the answer by any local will be a yes. An Igorot is, by the strictest definition, a person who happens to come from a particular community. or maybe they don't, but they descended from people who did. Many of our indigenous brothers and sisters have assimilated into city life; others were born into it. Keep this in mind before wondering aloud whether they are "civilized" or not.

3. Drive irresponsibly

Instagram: inkkai

Between the steep hills, sharp turns, and occasional one-way streets, Baguio is not the easiest place to navigate by car. Even the most experienced drivers get confused about who has the right of way and where you're allowed to park as not all areas where it is prohibited are clearly marked.

Your best bet is to take a taxi or jeepney from your hotel, or, when possible, get to where you're going on foot. The cool weather is great for long walks, and you'll get the chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city at a leisurely pace.

A helpful yet simple rule of thumb to follow is simply to be a polite guest, as you would when visiting a friend's house. Settle in and make yourself comfortable in a way that is considerate of the folks who welcome you in.

Planning a trip to Baguio? Get some inspiration from our Travel Guide for a list of things to See, Eat, and Do in Baguio!

Looking for places to stay in Baguio? Check out our exclusive partners in Baguio for packages at the lowest rates guaranteed!

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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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