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Perched on the mountains of Cordillera in the island of Luzon, Baguio City (pronounced as 'bag-yow') has become a haven for locals looking for refuge from the hot and humid tropical weather of the Philippines. Dubbed as the Summer Capital of the Philippines and the City of Pines, this city is famous for producing different ornamental flowers and strawberries. Established by the Americans in the 1900, from once a tribal site for the Ibalois and the Igorots, it has become a bustling garden city, a campus site for the Philippine Army, and the one of the most famous destinations in the country.
Baguio's most famous festival, known as the Panagbenga Festival, happens on the 3rd week of February where the city parades its most famous produce, flowers. Floats filled with flowers parade the city's main road and street dancing adorned by different flowers fills the streets.
Main article: Events and Festivals in the Philippines
Baguio has earned a reputation as being the summer capital of the Philippines. This is due to its cool climate as attributed to its location on the mountains of Cordillera. The city has an average temperature of 20º C annually with highs of 26º C during warm months and lows of 15º C in the colder months. The coldest in record is 6.3º C.
Like other cities in the country, it has two main seasons; dry during months of November to April and wet during months of May to October.
Due to the city's mountainous location, Baguio only has a small airport, the Laoakan Airport, that small planes can only land.
The nearest international airport is the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark, Angeles City where a number of low-frills airlines use. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Metro Manila is accessible by most international airlines.
From Manila, one has to take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) taking a northbound route.
There are three main access roads to reach Baguio City from the lowlands.
A number of bus companies provide transport services from Manila to Baguio. They have terminals in different locations within Metro Manila.
For budget lodging, a number of locals meet tourists arriving from the city's bus terminals with plaque cards offering rooms or transient houses. These transient houses differ on the size, the season, and its distance from the city center. They may range from about P1,500 to P3,000 per night per room.
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There are a number of internet service providers nationwide: PLDT-Smart Communications, Globe Telecoms, BayanTel and Sun Cellular and each have their signal strengths in various locations. Internet access areas of broadband speeds are plentiful in city malls, much less so outside the cities, but are growing at a rapid pace. Internet surfing rates depend primarily on where you surf and the medium used (e.g. WiFi or wired). Internet services offered by hotels and shopping malls are expensive and can go up to ₱200/hour (approximately US$5) but neighbourhood cafes can be as cheap as ₱15/hour (approximately US$0.35).
Public place WiFi services in the Philippines is provided by Airborneaccess.net and WiZ is likely to cost ₱100 (approximately US$2) for up to an hour. But if you want cheaper, there is a internet cafe chain in SM malls called, "Netopia", that has a landline internet connection for around 20P an hour (about 0.46 US). Coffee shops as well as malls usually carry WiFi service some are free to use. Certain areas may also carry free WiFi. The SM chain of malls offer free wifi, so you can sit virtually anywhere in the mall and access free wireless.
See also International Telephone Calls
The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company commonly known as PLDT is the leading telecommunications provider. It is also the largest company in the country. There are three major companies operating GSM 900/1800 networks: Globe, Smart and Sun Cellular. Your home provider at home should have agreements with one of these providers so check with them before leaving home. Roaming may be quite expensive just as elsewhere however, pre-paid SIM cards of these networks are easy to acquire and cost as little as ₱30 and provide a cheaper alternative.
If you don't have a phone to begin with, a complete pre-paid kit with phone and SIM can be purchased for as little as ₱1,500.The usual cost of an international long-distance call to the United States, Europe or other major countries is $0.40 per minute. Local calls range from ₱ 6.50 per minute for prepaid calls.
Due to the wide use of mobile phones, pay phones are increasingly becoming obsolete. Some malls and public places still do have them and they usually come in either the coin or card operated variety. Globe and PLDT are the usual operators. Phone cards are usually sold by shops which sell cellphone pre-paid loads and cards. Note that phone cards of one company can not be used with the other company's card operated phones.
The Philippine Postal Corporation, or PhilPost, is the provides the postal service throughout the Philippines. PhilPost is pretty reliable, but one can hardly call it fast services. It is fine for sending postcards and letters though, both domestically as well as internationally. Prices for sending postcards or letters within the country start at around P7, while most international post costs at least P20. For sending parcels to and from the Philippines it might be wise to use companies like FedEx or UPS. The opening hours of post offices in the Philippines differ from one place to another. Usually, post offices are open from 8:00am to 12 noon and from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on weekdays. And for those that operate on Saturdays, the business hours are from 8:00am to 1:00pm.
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