Baguio is a cool little university town in the mountains of northern Luzon — and I mean cool literally, it’s known as one of the coldest towns in the Philippines. That’s not really saying much considering the Philippines is a tropical country, but temperatures were dipping into the 50s when Ally and I were there in January and all the locals were bundled up like it was the middle of a Midwestern winter!
We used Baguio as a stopping point on the long journey between Manila and Banaue, but I’m really glad we stopped off here. Baguio is known for its arts scene, and very near the center of town are the Tam-Awan Village and the BenCab Museum.
Tam-Awan is part museum of indigenous culture, part artist collective. Traditional Ifugao huts and Kalinga houses have been moved from their original homes and rebuilt by traditional artisans here for display. The rest of the land is filled with sculpture, murals, and other works of art by Filipino artists.
This museum-on-a-hill is easily reached from the town center by jeepney, and it makes for a lovely afternoon’s stroll along the pathways, slopes, and ridges all overlooking a truly spectacular view.
The BenCab Museum celebrates the work of Filipino artist Benedicto Reyes Cabrera, better known by his nickname BenCab. Works by other contemporary Filipino artists are also displayed in the gorgeous, modern museum.
This is part of the stunning garden and working farm behind the BenCab museum. We had lunch in the museum restaurant and got to sample some of the fresh veggies being grown here. It was a little bit of a splurge for lunch, but worth it!
Another important feature of Baguio City is the mark that it is making on the burgeoning Filipino craft brew scene. We took a taxi to Baguio Craft Brewery to enjoy their Message in a Bottle Black IPA and Pugaw IPA, as well as their amazing food (I had pancakes with pulled pork, IT WAS AMAZING, breakfast for dinner for life) and some live music. Their venu was beautiful, especially the outdoor patio on the third floor that overlooks the city.
This was only our first foray into Filipino craft beer… stay tuned for more!