When you talk about Baguio City, one of the first things that come to mind are the colorful boats idly gliding by the misty lagoon in the middle of the biggest park in the city, the Burnham Park.
The mega-park is named after the famous American architect and city planner who made the original plans for Manila (unfulfilled) and Bagiuo, Daniel Hudson Burnham.
The boating lagoon, it's centerpiece, lay at the heart of the park. Surrounding it is a football field with a grandstand, a skating rink, a biking area, an orchidarium, a children’s playground, the Rose and Igorot Garden, the athletic bowl, a picnic grove, the Japanese Peace Tower, the Pine Trees of the World and Sunshine Park. It also connects to Jose Rizal Park which serves as a bridge that leads towards the Baguio City Hall.
If you're strapped for cash and just want to spend some time in the City of Pines, this place is perfect. A 30-minute boat ride at the lagoon will just cost you about Php60.00, pretty cheap considering you can already share the canoes with your friends. If you have no idea how to steer a boat, a boatman can do it for you. You can then just enjoy the ride without worries. Of course, it’s more fun if you do it yourself, skewed steering and all haha.
For a more affordable fee, you can also rent a bike and ride around the biking area off the side of the lagoon. Sidecars and supported-bikes are also available if you’re not adept at balancing a bike.
If you're in no mood for muscle pumping action, you may also just hang around the many benches scattered along the walks and have hot coffee or chocolate from the roaming vendors for just Php15.00. Better yet, bring a blanket or a tent and camp out with your family and friends for a day’s picnic on the park’s vast sprawling grounds.
Hungry but not enough dough in your pocket? Barbecues, hotdogs, sweet corns and fishball stands also abound in the area. Try out the hot Balots and Penoys (duck’s egg) too, really perfect with the cool weather. Last but not least, don’t forget to have a taste of the strawberry taho, a Baguio City specialty.
For photography enthusiasts, make sure to check out the park before the sun rises if you want to catch the lagoon blanketed in mist. Ready your macro lenses too and behold all the droplet goodies you will find among the leaves and flowers. If you chance upon the flower blooming months, you can also catch the lazily buzzing bees all around the lagoon area.
The place is packed from morning till evening specially on weekends. Although I have heard of a few reports of snatching, the park is very very safe. Just watch your things, be street smart and everything’s gonna be fine.
I can definitely say that with the umpteenth times that I have been to Baguio City, Burnham Park remains my favorite amongst the many tourist spots in the area. There is absolutely nothing fancy and glittery about this park; no swanky restaurants, no fancy food, no glittery establishments, no catchy neon signs. This is a place made for Juan dela Cruz and I am in love with the grand simplicity of it.