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   BAGUIO: "SUMMER CAPITAL OF THE PHILIPPINES"
 
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Situated amidst the mountainous region of Cordillera, 1,500 meters above the sea, 250 kilometers north of Manila, Baguio City is one of the few place in the Philippines blessed with a cool climate. On average, Baguio is at least eight degrees cooler than any place in the lowlands. Not surprisingly, Baguio has become the "summer capital" of the country. It is gifted with a variety of cultural, historical and scenic attractions which make it an important and interesting destiantion. As early as March, tourists and locals take the six-hour trek up the zigzagging Kennon Road. Within a mile of the city, the sweet scent of pine trees and flowers already permeate the air.

Artists are particularly drawn to this serene city. The annual Baguio Arts Festival attracts aspiring photographers, painters and sculptors from all over country. Writers convene in Baguio to meet and recharfe.

However, Baguio wasn't always a place of peace and leisure. In the early 19th century, the Spaniards stumbled upon this ore-rich valley - and fought feverishly with the local tribes to gain control of the land's bounties. While the Spaniards succeeded in founding some form of governance in the area, the mountain tribes proved too diffcult to rule. Thus, the Spaniards parceled out the province to the landed gentry.

It was the Americans, perhaps longing for colder climates who saw the vast recreational potential of Baguio. After building Camp John Hay, the Americans proceeded to carve Kennon Road from out of the mountain - and limked Baguio to Manila - and eventually to visitors of all creeds and races.

If you only have a day to spend in Baguio, start your tour with a walk down Session Road. The city's commercial artery, Session Road is where you get your first bite of the charm and serendipity of Baguio. Apart from a smattering of one-of-a-kind curio shops and fashion boutiques, Session also features an intersting array of culinary delights. Restaurants specializing in Chinese, Italian American, Japanese and Mongolian can be readily found along Session. From Session, take a cab to any of Baguio's prime attractions. Go horseback riding at Wright Park. Climb up the 252 steps to the Lourdes Grotto. Play a round of golf at John Hay. Cook a tasty chopsuey with the freshest of veggies from the Baguio City Market. Visit the Mansion. Stock up on strawberries. Or tuck under a warm blanket with the crackling of burning wood lulling you to sleep. For nighttowls, Baguio is alive with pulsating music and warm spirits. There are a number of bars and discos that swing until the wee hours of the morning.  

 
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MUST-SEE IN BAGUIO
 
Baguio has a number of attractions to please the most discriminating of sightseers. More importamtly, most of these tourist sports are easily accessible via taxi or jeepney from Session Road.  
 
Burnham Park - Situated at the heart of the city, Burnham is the traditional venue of the city's numerous festivities. The park is named after the city's master planner Daniel Burnham. Its man-made lagoon is the site of many boating excursions, Bikers, hikers and skaters delight in the park's criss-crossing walkways. And of the romantic, a walk in the rose gardens is an absolute must.  
 
Mines View Park - Over the years, the Park has been transformed into a shopping showcase of sorts. It's here where you can load up on the province's bounties: hand woven jacket and blankets, silver knickknacks and jewelries, and various jams and preserve. Of course, none of these goodies could complete with the Park's breathtaking view of the hills and valleys of the Cordillera and the gold mines of Benguet. 
 
Camp John Hay - A tour of Baguio is incomplete without a bite of the Club's jumbo-sized burgers and sundaes. Formerly the R & R center of the United States Armed Force personnel in the Phillippines, the Club features hotel type rooms, seven food outlets, an 18-hole golf course, six tennis courts, a six-lane bowling center, basketball and volleyball courts, a heated swimming pool plus more for a definitively sporty weekend.  
 
Baguio Cathedral - Rising above the city skyline are the pinkish hues of the Baguio Cathedral. The cathedral is but one of a number of religious landmarks which dot the city. There is the Bell Temple, north of the city; the Maryhurst Seminary with its brilliant gardens; and Lourdes Grotto with its 252 steps to heaven.  
 
Botanical Garden - is located east of Baguio's downtown area. You will find it between Teacher's Camp and the Pacdal Circle. Its main entrance is along Leonard Wood Road and just across the street from Gilberto's Hotel and Baguio Vacation Hotel. It is quite a large park and about the same size as Burnham Park. Also known as the Igorot Village, the Botanical Garden features native huts typical of the type of Igorot dwellings found in the Cordilleras. The village is said to capture the ethnic spirit and cultural legacy of the Igorots and being tranquil and quiet, it is a nice place to just sit down and relax, take a leisurely stroll along its narrow and winding pathways and also enjoy the landscape where you will find numerous plants and trees.
 
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