10 Awesome Things to Do in Tuba, Benguet: Gateway to Baguio City

The gateway to Baguio City, Tuba, Benguet retains the old charm of the “City of Pines”.

Many may not have heard of Tuba, but the Benguet town serves as the gateway to one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines: Baguio City. Whether passing by Marcos Highway or Kennon Road from Manila, one drives through this large mountainous municipality before finally reaching the “City of Pines,” the country’s cool-weathered “summer capital” since it was established as an American hill station in the early 1900s.  

While often overlooked for its famous neighbor, Tuba retains the old charm of Baguio, which now unfortunately struggles with overdevelopment and crowded tourist spots. Amidst its pine-ridged valleys, the laid-back town of Tuba, on the other hand, is blessed with bountiful farms, scenic valley views, and artistic havens waiting to be explored. 

Admiring the sunset views of soon-to-rise Moncello Crest by DMCI Homes Leisure Residences.

Another much-awaited tourism destination in the area is Moncello Crest, an integrated development by DMCI Homes Leisure Residences, which will bring together Tuba’s best features as an emerging tourism hotspot in the Cordillera region. The first and only eco-agri mountain resort condotel in town, located in Barangay Poblacion, preserves the natural beauty of the area by building in harmony with the mountainside terrain and preserving 75% of its land area as open, green spaces with original stands of native trees like Benguet pine. Despite being located away from urban sprawl, the four-hectare property can be conveniently accessed from Marcos Highway, and is only seven kilometers away from the city center of Baguio.

Looking for new and exciting activities beyond the usual spots? Here are 10 awesome things to do in Tuba, Benguet for your next Baguio road trip:

BenCab Museum is a treasure trove of Cordilleran ethnographic art and Philippine contemporary art.

Marvel at Philippine art

The most popular tourist spot in Tuba – which most people think is located in Baguio City – is the BenCab Museum, an art museum (entrance fee: ₱200) in Barangay Tadiangan owned by Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera, a Filipino painter declared a National Artist for Visual Arts in 2006. This artistic institution features airy galleries showcasing Cordilleran ethnographic art, modern and contemporary Philippine art, and the masterpieces of BenCab himself. At the lowermost level, a lovely cafe overlooks a manicured garden with Ifugao stone sculptures and a large pond filled with koi and ducks.

Asin Road is the center of Ifugao woodcarving just outside Baguio City.

Shop for traditional woodcraft

One can take home some traditional artistry by shopping at the woodcraft stores along Asin Road, the thoroughfare that takes you to the BenCab Museum. Following the Second World War, this area bordering Baguio City and Tuba became famous for its woodcarving workshops set up by Ifugao artisans from Hapao village in Hungduan, Ifugao. Woodcarving is one of the traditional crafts that made Baguio the country’s first UNESCO Creative City of Crafts & Folk Art.

Arrange an exclusive strawberry picking experience!

Pick sweet, juicy strawberries

Baguio is synonymous to strawberries. One of the popular activities around Baguio is strawberry picking. One need not venture north of the city to La Trinidad, Benguet to harvest these sweet, heart-shaped fruits eaten fresh or transformed into preserves and other sweet delicacies. At Barangay Tadiangan, not far away from BenCab Museum, there are hidden strawberry plantations, which can be reached by a short, uphill hike from the main road. What sets these strawberry farms apart from La Trinidad are the overlooking views of the surrounding mountains! They grow two strawberry cultivars: the larger Winter Dawn and the tastier Sweet Charlie. Harvest season runs from February to April. Contact Connie Eslao at +639096627878 to pre-arrange visits.

Relish a farm-to-table dining experience at Um-a Farm.

Dine out with a view

The winding, mountain highways of Tuba offer scenic spots to eat out. Located 3 km further down Asin Road from BenCab Museum, Um-a Farm offers one of the best culinary experiences in town with their farm-to-table restaurant overlooking a stunning view of the densely forested forest valley. They take pride in their healthy dishes made with uncommon local ingredients like katuday (corkwood tree flowers), kamaulaw (Mexican sunflower leaves) and aratiles (bird’s cherry). Guests may also harvest the vegetables themselves at the gardens below the restaurant.

Other highly recommended scenic restaurants are Farmer’s Daughter, the second branch of a Baguio restaurant, which specializes in Cordilleran dishes like kinuday (smoked meat) and pinuneg (blood sausage); and Tan-aw sa Alang, a rustic cafe where customers can enjoy all-day breakfast plates with brewed coffee or hot chocolate. Both are located at Barangay Poblacion.

Warm up in a hot spring resort in Asin! Photo by Pinay Travel Junkie

Relax in hot springs

When things get too chilly in the boondocks especially during the coldest months of November to February, one can warm up and relax at the Asin Hot Springs in Barangay Nangalisan, past Um-a Farms. There are a number of resorts in the area where you can take a dip in therapeutic spring-fed pools like Riverview Waterpark, Palm Grove Hot Spring & Mountain Resort, Pooten’s Hot Spring Resort and Neverland Mountain Resort.  

Learn how oyster and shiitake mushrooms are grown at Sanagi Agri-Tourism Farm.

Harvest fresh mushrooms

Ever wondered how mushrooms are grown? The cool climate of Benguet provide the best conditions for growing edible fungi. Check out Sanagi Agri-Tourism Farm, a family-run mushroom farm in Barangay Poblacion that grows different species of edible mushroom such as oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), golden oyster mushroom (Pleurotus citrinopileatus), pink oyster mushroom (Pleurotus djamor) and shiitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes). Besides selling fresh mushrooms, they also process them into healthy and delicious mushroom chicharon and mushroom breadsticks! Contact Sharon Bitso at +63 9206387699 to arrange a visit.

Benguet is the flower capital of the Cordilleras!

Stop and smell the flowers!

Besides growing fruits and vegetables, Benguet is also the biggest source of cut flowers in the Cordilleras. In 2020,  that region produced 53 million dozen cut flowers worth PHP 28 million! Aside from demonstrating how mushrooms are grown, Sanagi Agri-Tourism Farm can also bring visitors to a nearby plantation of white roses, where visitors can enjoy a glimpse of this blooming industry. The immaculate cut flowers are grown along terraces overlooking the majestic mountains around Barangay Poblacion. Contact Sharon Bitso at +63 9206387699 to arrange a visit.

Experience the thrill of an off-road ATV tour at Pan Ay-ayaman Eco Park.

Take an ATV thrill ride 

Farm visits too tame for the thrillseeker in you? Pan Ay-Ayaman Eco Park in Barangay Taloy Sur offers ATV adventures and mountain biking for tourists who wish to enjoy the great outdoors with a dose of adrenaline. Accompanied by local guides, guests can take all terrain vehicles down a steep path to an off-road mountainside course, which can be more challenging than your typical ATV tour with muddy paths and sudden drops next to ravines. ATV tours start at ₱650 for 30 minutes. One may also take a relaxing walk around a garden to a viewpoint. Hobbiton-inspired accommodation will soon be available for guests who wish to overnight at this eco-adventure park. For inquiries, please contact Maril Bayating Jr. at +63 9213216921.

Bridal Veil Falls is the most accessible cascade along Kennon Road. Photo by Lakad Pilipinas

Unveil the beauty of waterfalls

More hidden wonders can be found on the eastern side of Tuba along Kennon Road! A number of waterfalls can be visited along this highway linking La Union to Baguio City. The most accessible among them is Bridal Veil Falls at Camp 1 (Tabaan Sur), whose flowing cascade is likened, as its name suggests, to a diaphanous wedding dress. This natural attraction can be seen from the main road, but it’s still worth getting a closer look at the cascade falling into a catch basin of solid rock by traversing a precarious hanging footbridge from the highway. Other falls can be visited farther up Kennon like Colorado Falls and Hydro Falls.

Embark on a challenging adventure at Aran Cave. Photo by Magtv na Atin to!

Go spelunking through an underground river

Waterfalls can also be found not only above but also under the ground along Kennon Road! Aran Cave (formerly Tukang Cave) is a spelunking destination found within Camp 3 and Twin Peaks, near the Bued River. The cavern consists of several chambers filled with surreal limestone formations. The tourist spot takes its name from the Ibaloi word for “giant” who locals believe dwell in the cave. An underground stream runs through this cavern, forming waterfalls along the way. Cavers are required to hire a local guide and rent safety gear as exploring Aran Cave requires negotiating tight spaces and wading along ice-cold pools.

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