A Visitor’s Guide to the Baguio City Market
Markets are one of the best ways to immerse yourself in local culture, sample exotic food, and get a sense of the traditional handicrafts or goods of that particular country or region. For those of you who are lucky enough to soon be traveling to the Philippines, allow me to give you some insight into my favorite market of the Philippines, the Baguio City Market.
I’ve traveled extensively around the country and the Baguio market is one of my favorites. Fresh fruit and vegetables are grown in the surrounding valleys and because of their proximity, keep the market stocked on a daily basis.
Everything at the Baguio market looks fresh, vibrant, and beautiful, with artistically arranged stalls that make for great picture-ready displays. The best part is, this is the main market that most locals frequent for their everyday shopping.
Palengke – The Filipino word for “market.”
How to Get There
The market is located at the bottom of Session Rd. (the main street of downtown Baguio) on Magsaysay Avenue. It’s easiest to get there by through several entrances along Magsaysay, or from the back near Abanao Square (there’s a Chow King on the corner).
Traveler Tip – make sure you bring cash in small bills as no one can accept cards and sometimes even can’t break large bills like 500 and 1000 peso denominations.
Where to Go
If you enter from Magsaysay Ave., take a walk down the green roof covered area. This is certainly a more touristy area where you will spot other visitors, but the displays are beautiful. This is also where you can find an abundance of traditional snacks and treats to take back home to your loved ones. Be sure to try some pastillas – milk candy – which come in flavors like pandan, strawberry, and cheese.
Good Shepherd products are also very popular among Filipino tourists – my favorite being the Ube Jam. Ube is a purple root vegetable similar to taro – purple yam. When ground up finely, it is used in making desserts that have a very sweet but distinct taste.
And don’t forget to snatch up some banana chips. You’ll thank me later when you compare them – thick slices of dried banana pieces covered in a brown sugar glaze – to dried bananas from other countries. Delicious.
Time to Explore!
Venture out of this area, explore, and get lost. It actually took me several months to learn how to navigate my way around the entire market. Even then, I still always found new pockets of stalls that I had never seen before.
Filipinos are very curious but friendly people so strike up a conversation and ask questions. Most are pretty adept in English and will enjoy practicing their English with you. You’ll soon see what captivated me – the intrigue, the feeling of getting lost, exploring, discovering new things. That’s what I love about it.
What Sections to Hit
Each section of the market will sell different products. If you’re not squeamish, check out the meat and fish section. Watch out for fish or frogs or crabs trying to escape from the plastic buckets of water.
In the fruit section, try favorites like native bananas, sweet juicy pineapple, mangoes, green mangoes (tart and delicious if you like that taste), rambutan, lansones, guyabano (tastes like a pineapple banana smoothie I swear!), suha (pomelo) and whatever else might be in season.
And vegetables galore! Now you know why they call Baguio the salad bowl of the Philippines.
Then head inside to the dry goods section of the market for a maze of shops selling souvenir items like native handwoven bags, textiles, wood carvings, and more specialty foods.
This is a more touristy section so be sure to keep an eye on your belongings because the close quarters creates an easier opportunity for pickpocketers to go unnoticed. But don’t let it worry you. Just have fun!
Hope you found my insight helpful and please let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy the market and the beautiful city of Baguio. Happy travels!
Have you visited the Baguio City Market? What were your favorite sections? Share your thoughts below!
(don’t forget to pin for later!)