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 What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Philippines?

You might think about great beaches, hospitable and friendly people, tropical country, near the Equator, hot, hot and hot during summer.

On average, the country’s temperature is around 29.5 °C (85.1 °F) to 34.2 °C (93.6 °F) in summertime and its worst recorded temperature reached 42.2 °C (108 °F).

So you found yourself locked inside the house with a hand in your chin and lips pouted. You’ve set the Air conditioner very high and think about a way to have fun outdoors without enduring the heat.

The solution is Baguio City, a place where you can experience a European climate (except winters) in a tropical country.

How is that possible?

Baguio City is a mountain city with an elevation of 5,000 ft above sea level and a temperature of around 11°C (52°F) to 22°C (72°F). It had a record low of 6°C (43°F).

In other words Baguio City is a cool city both literally and figuratively.

Most people in tropical countries escape their country’s heat by going to other countries. This city allows you to escape a tropical country’s heat within the country. Now don’t tell me that ain’t cool.

My whole family went here last week (March 7, 2012) to enjoy the outdoors without enduring the summer’s heat (yeah I said it again). It’s a seven hour drive from Metro Manila, the country’s capital.

Here are some tips when staying here:

Where to stay? When me and my wife was thinking of going on a honeymoon there, the first hotel we’ve considered is Holiday Park Hotel because it’s near the Burnham Park. This park is at the center of the city which makes it an ideal place to easily access the tourist spots, bus station and malls.

Since we’ve decided to bring the whole family later, we stayed in a transient house instead of a hotel. We happened to have a friend who used to live in Baguio City and have some contacts to transient house owners who offers rents for a low cost.

Although we have an option to find a transient house in the sulit.com.ph website, we left everything to our friend because he’s personally seen the houses.

After a chilling and fun ride in the zigzag road, we finally reached our transient house to rest. I’ve explored the whole house and haven’t seen an Air conditioner or an electric fan. What they have is a nice fireplace only. Sounds like in Europe right?

Where to Eat? A friend recommended eating at Dencio’s restaurant. They serve a great choice of meals which are all Filipino’s finest. Since we’re a group of nine plus a half man (3yr old kid), we we’re able to take advantage of their group meals.

Since they offer big servings, we only had to buy two of their four person group meal then asked for two extra plates and still left there very full. The food was oh so yummy and we were all very satisfied.

If you’re on a budget meal, you should to consider is Chowking which has many branches in this city. This is my favorite fast food because they serve popular oriental meals.

The ironic part is that the way it is setup is a fast food, its price is a fast food, people refer to it as fast food and yet food doesn’t come fast in your plate as it has a long wait time. But it’s worth the wait because the food is freshly cooked when it gets in your table.

What to do? On your way to this city, you’ll come across the Kennon Road View Point where you can stop over to see a fantastic view of Baguio’s mountainous landscape and the big Lion’s Head to welcome you in the city.

 Relax in Burnham Park and ride a swan boat. 

Go up in the highest floor of SM Baguio mall and enjoy a spectacular view of the city.

Have a stroll in the Philippine Military Academy base camp.

Ride a horse and dress up like a Baguio native in Mines View Park.

Pick strawberries. City Explorers Tip: Watch out for the whole month of February because the city’s street will be filled with parades which means heavy traffic. It’s good that our friend warned us about this so we had to move our schedule to March. If traffic is not an issue to you and you want to see the parade, it starts February 1.

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