If you think you have seen everything in the Summer Capital of the Philippines, well, think again! There is an alternative destination perfect for those who seek high-altitude adventure or simply just tired of seeing the ‘usual’ but uniquely beautiful tourist spots in Baguio City.
There is of course, Mount Cabuyao! This mountain is very visible from the city of Baguio and is often used as a backdrop by many photography enthusiasts.
Mount Cabuyao, which is sometimes mistaken as Mount Santo. Tomas (same thrill no matter how you call it) is just about 12 kilometers from the city center.
The mountain has been part of my family and friends’ itinerary.
We love to experience the ‘colder’ climate and ‘fresher’ mountain breeze on top of this mountain. The feeling of being at level with the clouds is rejuvenating and the chance to have a bird’s eye view of Baguio and its surroundings is breath-taking.
Thick fog and clouds envelop the mountain mostly in the afternoon or during rainy seasons, but the majestic mountain made famous by two imposing radars (I fondly call Mickey Mouse) can be seen clearly in the morning or during summer.
Going up the mountain used to be treacherous because of the thin rough roads but most of it are paved now making the hike or drive easier but still ‘treacherous’ (read on so you will know why).
Although, land and rock slides are very common, the police station at the foot of the mountain will inform tourists when the road is passable or not. The mountain is about 7,000 feet above sea level and perhaps the location with the highest altitude nearest the bustling city of Baguio.
The Department of Tourism of the Cordillera Administrative Region recognizes this mountain as a pilgrimage and adventure destination.
Found in the new tourism site, are fourteen 3 x 3 sized and 5 feet high structure of the Stations of the Cross and Our Lady of Miraculous Medal chapel, vegetables terraces, and a few home-stays for transient should you wish to stay for a night.
Dubbed as the Switzerland of Benguet, Mt. Cabuyao is an ideal place for pilgrimage because of its solemnity, exclusivity and exquisiteness. While a delight for the adventurers because of its narrow, rail-less and cliff-edged roads. The place has a cool invigorating climate, and the weather is cooler than the City of Baguio.
- Schedule your visit early in the morning to enjoy the view of Baguio City from there.
- Summer time (March-May) is the perfect time to enjoy the place.
How to Get There:
- You may take a passenger jeep from the town center but the schedule is very erratic; trips depend on the number of passengers and weather conditions.
- You may hire a taxi that you can hail from anywhere within the city. Just be prepared to pay a few hundred pesos should the driver requests for a contracted price. (The last time I asked, taxi drivers charge around 400 pesos back and forth)
- Should you prefer ‘hiking’, you may hail a taxi and ask to be dropped-off at the police station found at the foot. Hike is about an hour going up. Don’t worry the roads are paved anyway, and the accent is not steep.
- Drive; make sure you have a very good driver and a well-maintained vehicle. Ensure you have enough gas and the break is in immaculate condition.
What to Observe:
- Cleanliness! Make sure not to dispose any garbage in the vicinity. Bring all trash with you.
- Respect the local culture. Do not be rowdy, noisy or boisterous.
- Greet and smile at people.
- The place is practically a vegetable farm; you may purchase these from the farmer themselves.
- Maximize your experience but minimize your footprints in order to preserve the beauty and tranquility of the area.
What to bring:
- Weather is unpredictable up there, make sure you have at least an umbrella or a raincoat but if your idea of adventure is to get soaked; be my guest.
- Dress lightly during summer; wear your most comfortable rubber shoes.
- During rainy seasons; make sure you wear a sweater or jacket.
- Should you wish to stay for a night, there are a few transient houses in the area for a minimal fee, just bring an extra blanket or pillow and you will be fine.
- There aren’t any restaurants and the stores offer limited items, bring your own food, drinks and of course, utensils.
So, on your next trip to Baguio, why not venture further up and see Mount Cabuyao. !