Baguio Series: Botanical Garden and Japanese Tunnel Walk

January 26, 2016

I have always wanted to see Baguio in person ever since I can remember.  Being geographically situated on a plateau of the Cordillera mountain range, I was expecting this place to have a cool climate and a breathtaking view of the mountains covered by lush greeneries.  

Unfortunately, this was not what I saw when I finally got the chance to be there two months ago.  Instead, I was greeted by a crowded and polluted city where houses and buildings sprawled everywhere covering almost an entire hillside.  Gone were the days when Baguio used to be a beautiful home of pine trees.  Obviously, this place had already lost its glory, thus leaving me very disappointed.

Good thing the local government was able to preserve a number of parks in the city.  At least these recreation areas with towering trees would be able to somehow make you experience how it feels to be in the City of PINES because truthfully, there are merely a few pine trees left in the area.  I just hope the people in authority would be able to protect what's left in Baguio's natural resources or else, it wouldn't make sense anymore to call this place the "City of Pines."

Alright, enough of my whining. 

Now, allow me to share with you one of my most favorite spots in the country's summer capital -- the B O T A N I C A L  G A R D E N ! ! !  

Botanical Garden Baguio

I know, most of you would say that this park cannot be compared to the relaxing and peaceful atmosphere of Camp John Hay.  Well, it was very unfortunate that the attractions at the camp were undergoing renovation at the time of our visit, so I didn't get the opportunity to enjoy the abundant pine trees which can be found in the area.  And because of that, I would have to settle with the city's Botanical Garden as the place which gave me the most "Baguio feel" I was actually anticipating.

Located at Leonard Wood between Teachers Camp and Wright Park, the Botanical Garden is indeed a great place to stroll and unwind.  Its towering pine trees and well manicured garden provide the residents as well as the visitors a breathing space in the middle of a highly congested and fast developing city.

Botanical Garden Baguio
At the background is the beautiful bronze sculpture of "The Original Baguio Builders" made by Ben-Hur Villanueva, a Filipino artist based in Baguio.  The masterpiece features the Igorots, Japanese, Americans & Chinese working together to build the city.

Botanical Garden Baguio
My brother is acting silly before this huge Igorot sculpture.  There are several other sculptures made of cement and stone in the park that depict the way of life of the Cordillera tribes.

Botanical Garden Baguio
The Botanical Garden's towering pine trees, indeed, has lived up to my expectation of Baguio.

Admission is free, making it all the more attractive to tourists.  However, taking a photo with the native Igorots in their ethnic costumes by the park's entrance gate actually comes with a minimal charge.

My family and I went here to take a leisurely walk after having lunch at the famous Hill Station Restaurant.  I guess it took us roughly an hour or so to completely tour the area.  It was a little tiring to walk that long, especially if you had to climb a flight of stairs, but the park's beautiful landscape and the cool breeze brought about by its sweet smelling pine trees made our journey more enjoyable and definitely worthwhile.  

Botanical Garden Baguio
Visitors need to walk through stone paths and several stairs to get around, hence making this park not wheel chair friendly.

Botanical Garden Baguio
Toddlers like Rafa need to be supervised closely because there are several pools of water in the park that can become dangerous for kids if left unattended.


JAPANESE TUNNEL WALK

Botanical Garden Baguio
A mandatory group picture at the Japanese inspired park inside the Baguio Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden Baguio
The people who raised me to be the woman I am today, my beloved mama and papa!

Botanical Garden Baguio
Those gray stone sculptures are actually Buddha statues which can be found beside the Japanese tunnel

Botanical Garden Baguio
The pink flat arch serves as a landmark to the tunnel's entrance 

Another attraction that's becoming more and more popular these days is the newly opened Japanese Tunnel, which can be also be found within the Botanical Garden's premises.

This tunnel is said to be built by the Japanese during the Second World War, but was eventually revived by the city government to serve as a part of the walk-in tour of the Japanese Garden.

I was not able to take a photo of the underground passage, but if I had to describe it, I would say that it looked like a narrow cave with several chambers inside.  (It can fit only two persons standing side by side though, thereby making it non-advisable for claustrophobic.) The tunnel was well lit for the safety of tourists, but lights automatically switch off at 6pm, so make sure to explore the place anytime between 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Overall, I would say that the Botanical Garden is certainly one of those Instagram worthy places you'll ever see in Baguio -- a naturally beautiful attraction that nature lovers will surely enjoy!  


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You have read Part  3 of 7 of my travel blog posts about our family's trip to Baguio.  Should you wish to view the rest of the blog posts under this series, feel free to click any of the links below:

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