Degustacion dinner at Bistro Lokal with chef Miko Dy

When the mountain resort town of Baguio was proclaimed as the archipelago’s “Summer Capital” in 1904, that designation would become its major tourism come-on for decades to come.

More than a century later, it remains to be a top-of-mind spot for a WFH (Work/Walwal From the Highlands) by business and leisure travelers for its cool weather, ethnic and artistic vibe, and diverse cuisine, among other things. With its diverse attractions, WFH could also mean Wellness, Food, Hideaway, and an infinity of activities you can attach to the now-popular acronym.

Below are some unique hacks to do if you’re planning to visit soon, so you can imbibe its ever-changing charm.

Ride. With the oil price hikes and the city’s growing traffic, driving up solo has become a disincentive. Good thing, there are point-to-point transport which can take you there in just about four hours, below P1,000 one-way. Pioneer bus firm Victory Liner boasts of a spacious terminal which can bundle a travel package with the adjacent Microtel Baguio for hassle-free travel. Aside from its terminals, these premium coaches go to the airports, major malls, the PITX, and even Clark Freeport for easier commuting.

On weekends where vehicular traffic peaks, the new Hop-on, Hop-Off coaster will take you on a loop ride around the usual must-sees.

Victory Liner terminal in Baguio City, which is adjacent to Microtel Baguio.

Trek. Rediscover Baguio’s age-old moniker—“City of Pines”—by the doing the Forest Bathing Trail where you can trek and commune with nature and get a therapeutic experience as you cut across the pine forest.

Coming up soon are guided tours on birdwatching 101 and bird photography tours which local operators are developing in the John Hay reserve and Busol watershed. A recent expedition led by the Department of Tourism-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOT-CAR) validated the sighting of at least 21 bird species, which includes the sought-after Benguet bush warbler, red crossbill, and the Philippine hawk cuckoo.

With a splendid forest path already in place and easy-to-spot avians, birdwatching is expected to be the city’s next tourist draw and recreational activity.

Red Crossbill PHOTO BY JHO FLORESCA

Dine. As north Luzon’s culinary mecca, restaurants in Baguio’s outskirts beckon you to drive away from the city to savor a relaxing and tasty meal.

Asin Road in Tuba, Benguet, is an emerging restaurant row with the mushrooming of specialty dining spots. A pioneer in the area is BenCab Museum of National Artist Ben Cabrera which offers both a visual and gustatory feast with its wide array of art works and dishes.

Just a few minutes away are the intimate Pinderella garden hut resto, and Um-A of the Health 100 Restaurant group which is famed for its healthy concoctions.

Back in the city, chef Chavi Romawac aka Baguio Mountain Man can whip up a private gourmet dinner inspired by highland cuisine at his al fresco The Roofdeck Kitchen near The Mansion House. First-timers often feast on the six-course Mountain Clambake Menu, which is enhanced by an edible art installation and the open fire cooking. The social media personality does an intriguing pep talk on the jazzed-up Cordillera dishes in the process of cooking and feasting.

Another cozy dinner place is Bistro Lokal of chef Miko Dy which serves fresh takes on Filipino favorites created with organic ingredients and produced around the farm-to-table dining concept to support local farmers. For small groups, he offers a seven- to 10-course pre-arranged degustacion dinner with a performance of Cordilleran music and dances midway.

With the merry mix of things to do, the Summer Capital is indeed a top WFH place.