An essential place to visit when touring the summer capital of the Philippines is its biggest landmark, the Burnham Park. Named after its architect, Daniel Hudson Burnham (who was also responsible for the landscape of the city itself), the park currently follows most of its original design with minor altercations to suit the park’s aesthetic. Fondly called ‘the mother of all parks’, it spans an area of 32.84 hectares and is found along Jose Abad Santos Drive, at the very heart of Baguio City.
The Mother of all Parks
Burnham Park is divided to 12 main clusters, with a specified activity in each area for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can hire rowboats at the man-made lake at the middle of the park, called The Burnham Lagoon, skate and eat street food at Skating Rink, or rent different types of bicycles at the Children’s Playground for a fee of P50-75 for every 30 minutes. History buffs will enjoy a walk in the Rose Garden, where a bust of Daniel Burnham is located, and in Igorot Garden, where a statue of the five main tribes of Igorot tribes (Ibalois, Bontocs, Kalingas, Ifugaos, and Kankanaeys) are placed. Locals have also termed this cluster the Igorot Chess Park, as it has become a hub for chess lovers to play their sport with other enthusiasts.
On the other hand, visitors who are more into physical sports will enjoy the Athletic Bowl cluster, where Baguio athletes hold their training. Aside from the early morning jogging, other sport disciplines that are practiced here are: tennis, basketball, swimming, and archery, for a fee of P10-25 (exclusive of athletes, PWDs, and Senior Citizens). The Melvin Jones Grandstand is worth noting for athletic visitors too, as this is the location where big events in the city are located (i.e. Pope John Paul II’s visit, and the annual Panagbenga Festival) and those who carry their own sport equipment can play here as well.
However, for those who simply wish to relax and enjoy the Baguio City breeze, the garden clusters may serve as the right place in the park for them. Orchids and different flowers can be seen blooming in the Orchidarium and the Rose Garden, while Pine trees are secluded in the Pine Trees of the World, where the Japanese Peace Tower is also located. Picnics can be held at the Picnic Grove, whereas the university students’ favorite hangout is the Sunshine Park, as it is nearest the universities and the Baguio Museum too.
Midpoint to the rest of the City
Because the park is at the center of the city, a few tourist attractions are a mere walking distance from the park. East of the Athletic Bowl is the Session Road, known for its nightlife and line of restaurants, and the SM City Baguio; Northeast of the Rose Garden is the Baguio City Public Market, and west of the Melvin Jones Grandstand is the Baguio Cathedral.