Fresh Air And Outdoor Play! How To Enjoy Baguio Safely With The Whole Family

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  • As restrictions ease for children in the country — kids ages 5 and above are now allowed outdoors in GCQ and MGCQ areas — parents are undoubtedly looking for ways to travel safely with their little ones. While the threat of COVID-19 persists, moms and dads are also worried about their children’s physical and mental well-being.

    If you’re looking for fresh air, a chance to reconnect with nature, and tons of outdoor play opportunities for your kids, Baguio City might be the perfect destination. Not only are children allowed almost anywhere, the local government has also put up an efficient system to ensure that tourists and locals alike are relatively safe from the virus.

    How to enjoy Baguio safely with the whole family

    Tourists who want to enter Baguio must first register at the Baguio Visita website (visita.baguio.gov.ph). Completing the health declaration form one day before travel is also a must — failure to do so might result to your travel request being rejected.

    Remember to sign up all members of the family regardless of age — a unique QR code will be generated upon sign up which you would need to show at checkpoints before entering Baguio, plus in establishments as proof that you have undergone proper triage.

    Your group will likely be stopped at the La Union border and you’ll need to show a QR code and proof of accommodation to be able to pass through quickly.

    PHOTO BY Kitty Elicay
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    Some more things to remember:

    Book a DOT-accredited accommodation ahead.

    Before registering at Baguio Visita, make sure you are staying at a DOT-accredited accommodation, whether it’s a transient house, homestay, hotel, or bed and breakfast. (Find a complete list here.) Coordinate your stay with your chosen accommodation as they will be the one to approve your travel request.

    Need to work? It’s possible in some hotels, bed and breakfasts, and homestays where Fiber connection is available.

    PHOTO BY Kitty Elicay

    Our family of five stayed at Ozark Diner + Bed and Breakfast, which we booked through AirBnB. The owner is very warm and friendly, replies promptly and our travel request was approved right away. It’s a quaint b&b that’s located around 20 minutes from the city center — quite a long drive but worth it for being a quiet location that’s kid and pet-friendly (my niece loved their free breakfast of sausage patties and rice!).

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    Schedule your new travel early.

    Baguio City maintains a daily limit of 3,000 tourists, so make sure to book your travel early. But don’t worry if you don’t receive an email right away — according to some locals, approval is prioritized based on arrival.

    We applied on a Monday for a Friday arrival, and our request was approved two days later. Some parents I’ve talked to who booked two to three weeks ahead only received approval a few days before their travel date.

    Fully vaccinated tourists can enter without taking a COVID-19 test.

    Baguio City now accepts fully vaccinated tourists who have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior to their arrival. They are strict when it comes to counting the days, so make sure to time your travel accordingly.

    Everyone else is required to present a negative RT-PCR or antigen test result upon arrival. You may also opt to take your antigen test when you get there, for a discounted fee of Php500 or Php350 (if you fall under the 12,000-tourist limit).

    Exercise patience.

    The local government has an efficient system in place — a good thing because you know tourists are properly screened before entry — but be prepared for a long wait. We arrived at the city border at around 11:30 a.m. and were required to present our QR codes and sign up for the triage.

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    We then proceeded to Camp John Hay for antigen testing (or Baguio Convention Center, if you are arriving off-hours or after 5 p.m.) at around 12:40 p.m. We finished almost an hour and a half later due to the long line for the screening, payment, actual test, and waiting for the results. However, the trip was worth the wait!

    Where to go in Baguio

    Kids can freely play in the park (masks on, still!).

    PHOTO BY Kitty Elicay

    There were a lot of tourists during our visit to the Summer Capital of the Philippines, but it wasn’t as crowded as I remembered the city to be. Minimum health protocols and standards are still exercised in public places: wearing of face masks and face shields, maintaining physical distancing, and washing and sanitizing hands frequently.

    However, it cannot be denied that being outdoors made a difference — breathing in fresh air is relaxing, and the smiles on the kids’ faces was unmatched. After all, they can go almost anywhere in the City of Pines — including restaurants and the mall!

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    Camp John Hay

    Your kids can enjoy a round of Go Kart at Camp John Hay.

    PHOTO BY Kitty Elicay

    A visit to Baguio is never complete without stopping by Camp John Hay, especially if you have kids in tow. While their Treetop Adventure and trails remain closed, the little ones can enjoy playing in the playground (free), doing a round of Go Kart (Php100 for 30 minutes) and mini golf (Php250 for a child and her companion).

    Families can enjoy their meals at these picnic spots.

    PHOTO BY Kitty Elicay
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    If you’re on a budget, you can bring your own food (or buy from the restaurants in the area) and have a picnic at the grounds, while surrounded by a beautiful view of pine trees. Picnic tables are also available at certain spots which you can rent for Php200 for the first three hours.

    Burnham Park

    There are a lot of things you can do in the park, and you can enjoy your time here without paying for anything. However, your kids might like biking around the park or going on a boat ride. Make sure to check out the Rose Garden, which the city has focused on developing over the years.

    Wright Park

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    You can also take a detour to Mines View after visiting Wright Park.

    PHOTO BY Ivey Elicay

    If your kids are keen to do horseback riding, head to Wright Park. While it might be a little expensive (Php500/hour), it’s still a great experience. You can also take a lot of photos by The Pool of Pines with a shot of the The Mansion at the background.

    Tam-Awan Village

    Soak in some art and culture at the Tam-Awan Village, where you can view a charming collection of Ifugao and Kalinga huts. Here you can learn more about the history of the Cordillera people and maybe even meet some members of the indigenous tribe.

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    Mirador Heritage and Eco-Spirituality Park

    Located at Mirador Jesuit Villa Retreat House, this fairly new attraction will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Japan, thanks to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Mirador Hill’s Peace Memorial. It also offers an amazing view of the city!

    Click here for more places you can check out in Baguio.

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