(SPOT.ph) Baguio City has long been a melting pot of traditions, artistry, and creativity. Plus, its laid-back culture, foggy skies, chilly weather, and its night market that serves as a haven for ukay-ukay lovers all give people a reason to return—again and again—to this place up north. What is less known though is the city is also a perfect destination for arts and culture bugs offering diverse food choices, immersive art experiences, and cultural heritage.
Also read: Food Crawl: Baguio City (2018 Edition)
Here are 10 must-visit places in Baguio City for the artsy traveler:
Colors of StoBoSa (Valley of Colors)
A community artwork by artists Jordan Mang-osan, Ged Alangui, Clinton Aniversario, and Jenny Lorenzo from the Tam-Awan Village group, the Colors of StoBoSa covers a vast area that includes Stonehill, Botiwtiw, and Sadjap in Barangay Balili in La Trinidad, a municipality located next to Baguio City. Inspired by the Favela Paintings in Brazil, the houses painted in different colors make up a community artwork that literally took a village to produce. We're talking more than 500 volunteers from the three localities, all of whom worked together to create a unique space.
Colors of StoBoSa sits on a hill at Km. 3, Hanselma Highway, Barangay Balili, La Trinidad, Benguet. Admission is free and site is open 24 hours every day.
For those who haven’t moved on from That Thing Called Tadhana, BenCab Museum is probably the perfect destination. The cultural hotspot houses the permanent collection (including the popular Erotica Gallery) of National Artist Benedicto Cabrera, who also founded the BenCab Art Foundation, an organization geared towards supporting artistic and environmental activities. Aside from its many exhibition galleries of indigenous and contemporary art, the museum has a farm, an eco-trail, and a garden that introduces you to the indigenous architecture of the Ifugao, Kalinga, and Bontoc.
BenCab Museum is at Km. 6, Asin Road, Tuba, Benguet. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. General admission is at P150.
Ifugao Woodcarvers’ Village
The Ifugao Woodcarvers’ Village is home to local handicrafts ranging from trinkets to life-sized wood carvings. Also known as Itogon Woodcarvers’ Village, it is a long stretch of artisan shops with products mostly reflecting designs inspired by Cordilleran culture and traditions.
The Ifugao Wood Carvers’ Village is located near BenCab Museum along Asin Road.
Arca’s Yard makes you feel at home with its rustic yet elegant interior architecture, all overlooking panoramic views of pine trees and lush greenery. Such ambience makes everything worthwhile, especially when paired with good food that won't make your wallet cry. There's even a mini-library on the second floor and the entire house is filled with art from the Cordillera region.
Arca’s Yard is at 777 Tiptop City Limit, Ambuklao Road, Baguio City, Benguet. It is open from Thursday to Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Reservations and advanced orders are required. Pets are not allowed.
Easter Weaving Room
Are you keen to start your own collection of woven finds? See weavers in action at the Easter Weaving Room. The space has been sustaining and promoting the region’s weaving traditions since 1908. From wallets, neckties, and bags to bespoke officewear, almost everything you can wear made from the region’s various textiles is available at this space.
Easter Weaving Room is at 2 Easter Road, Guisad, Baguio City, Benguet. It is open from Monday to Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Joining the long list of Baguio City’s spaces for artistic and cultural activities, the Tam-Awan Village offers its visitors a peek into the rich Cordilleran culture. This is where you can find Sagada- and Kalinga-inspired huts, a café serving a menu mostly comprised of dishes from the northern parts of the Philippines, and art exhibits. Founded by artists and individuals in the city, it is strategically located on a terrain resembling villages in the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Tam-Awan Village is at 366-C Pinsao Proper, Baguio City, Benguet. It is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is at P60.
Oh My Gulay! and Victor Oyteza Community Art Space
Going up the steep stairs of La Azotea Building surely is a worthy trade for the experience you get at this hidden space. Right above the busy Session Road is an indoor tropical garden that carries quality food and a dynamic art space. Have a view of the city streets as you dine the vegetarian and vegan way at Oh My Gulay! Its menu offers you dishes like Tandang Sora Parmigiana, Pancit Gulay ni Pepe, and Heneral Luna’s Punyetang Shitake.
Oh My Gulay! is at 5/F La Azotea Building, Session Road, Baguio City, Benguet. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Being University of the Philippines Baguio’s Ethnographic Museum, Museo Kordilyera is dubbed a “living museum” as it houses both tangible and intangible bits of heritage from the Cordillera Region. Delve deep in the life of the Bontok, Ibaloy, Ifugao, Kalinga, Kankana-ey, Itneg, and Tinguians from the Cordillera Region through life-sized displays, architectural installation, and textiles, among many others.
Museo Kordilyera is at the University of the Philippines Baguio, Governor Pack Road, Baguio City, Benguet. Admission is at P30 for non-UP students and P60 for adults. A 20% discount applies to senior citizens and PWDs with valid IDs.
Ili-likha Artists’ Wateringhole
Above all, the Ili-likha Artists’ Wateringhole serves as a bastion for art, healthy food by the Kiwing na Kahoy food community, drinks, performances, and events. Also called Ili-likha Artist Village, it is a total hotspot for IG-worthy photos—it looks like a gigantic treehouse as it is built around overgrown trees, having every corner of it artistically designed. The space opened in 2014 and was founded by artist and writer Eric de Guia a.k.a. Kidlat Tahimik.
Ili-likha Artists’ Wateringhole is at 32 Assumption Road, Baguio City, Benguet. It is open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Mt. Cloud Bookshop
Inspired by an appreciation for reading, the love of books, and having the desire to promote Philippine literature, sisters and fellow anthropologists Feliz and Padmapani Perez founded Mt. Cloud Bookshop at Case Vallejo in 2010. A bastion for local publications, the bookshop also serves as a creative space and even has a room devoted to literature for children. Fun fact: Authors who have their books up on the shop's shelves get free coffee when they drop by—which means there are pretty high chances of you bumping into your fave writer when you drop by too.
Mt. Cloud Bookshop is at 001 Yangco Road corner Brent Road, Baguio City, Benguet. It is open from Monday to Thursday, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and from Friday to Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.