It was my first time to visit Baguio City, and I have always found myself drawn to it even when I know it is a crowded city with high tourist traffic. I am never a big fan of large crowd, ironic may it seem for a traveler. I have always found joy in the remote, and beautiful places I would find myself nesting at and calling it a home for a few days stay. The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay warmly welcomed us and it became home for the next few days at Baguio City.

The weather at The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay is slightly different from Baguio City proper. You will find that the temperature is lower at Camp John Hay than any low lying areas in Baguio. The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay is home to many families and couples not just during the dry season, but year-round. Built after the camp was turned over by the American Armed Forces to the Philippine government in 1991, The Forest Lodge was re-launched in 2012 as a premier but affordable hotel accommodation.

I thought staying at The Forest Lodge would empty ones pocket. To my surprise, it is relatively affordable for a mountain resort/hotel level accommodation. For a few hundreds difference to hotels at the city proper, you’ll get a comfortable stay at their spacious room with excellent hotel service. You will find affordable rates by checking out The Forest Lodge booking site, or book online via Agoda for good hotel deals.

The spacious lobby of The Forest Lodge has a collection of cozy sitting areas, one can’t help but imaging family reunions during Christmas seasons, or young children sitting by the fireplace during cold summer nights, or grandparents celebrating birthdays anytime of the year humming and singing along with the band filling up the hall with lovely music every night. I found myself choosing a large open window peering out of the mountain view with brief moment – forgetting I was at a hotel with strangers in the room.

My favorite room will have to be the Music room. Tucked at a corner, an intimate room filled of vinyl records and books, is what one would call a small space of peace in an already peaceful setting. The Music Room is unique to The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay. It is the repository of over a thousand vinyl records collected during the camp’s American era handled with care by the staff reminiscing of the rock and roll, ballads and groove music from the ’50s to the ’90s. They have a musical selection of classical, country, jazz, and soulful genres appealing to all types of music lovers to enjoy. One can indulge in music or silence proofed from the chatter and music of the nearby Lobby Lounge.

You will also find a souvenir shop that carries home items, souvenir shirts, and locally-made products for you to take home for family or loved ones. I fell in love with the locally woven scarves, and warmers meticulously woven with care, stylish in patterns and colours, and perfect for the cool weather.

Besides exploring Baguio City and tourists spots. Camp John Hays offers tons of activities to keep the family busy and make the vacation enjoyable. The Camp John Hay is home to adventure rides, and nature parks, and activities. From old buildings for the history lovers to butterfly sanctuary, mini golf course & horseback riding for the kids, or treetop adventure, ziplines, & paintball battle game for the adrenaline junkies, or the Yellow Trail and other hiking trails for the nature lovers.

The room I found myself in was spacious and generous in leg room. With a long 7 hour bus ride from Metro Manila, the bed was inviting, and the room aesthetically designed to be pleasing in the eyes. We were booked in a Family Room with corners to comfortable stay, and areas designated for relaxing, dining, and working at. It would a great room to stay at with families. I can only imagine the joy of kids seeing a large (child-friendly) room all to themselves. A sweet treat awaits the guest/s at the room which warms the  surprised heart.

If you’re worried about the room rates, you’ll find affordable rates by checking out The Forest Lodge booking site, or online hotel booking site like Agoda that gives discounted rates. It may come as a surprise to you that you can get a deal as low as 2,500+ PhP rates for their Standard Room which is a good steal!

As if sweet treats were not enough, wait for breakfast. The Forest Lodge breakfast allows local flavors shine with Baguio longganiza (local sausage), and Ranchero corned beef a staple every breakfast meal along with fairly decent selection. Breakfast is best taken with the famous Baguio chocolate drink.  I would recommend buffet breakfast over the plate-in breakfast meal with a small difference on the cost. If you’re a heavy breakfast person, you might prefer the buffet set-up over the plate-in meals.

We decided to have a dinner (but working) date at the restaurant and ordered the recommended Honey Glazed Crispy Pork Belly, and Chicken Teriyaki. If you’re into sweets, you will definitely enjoy the  Honey Glazed Crispy Pork Belly. If you want something light yet filling, the Chicken Teriyaki with tender but well cooked chicken meat is seasoned to perfection, I might say, the flavour is not too overpowering, and it is light to the taste which is what I like in my teriyakis.

Even the sweet things in life must come to an end, and so did our stay at The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay. Baguio City is one a few hours away from Metro Manila, and an ideal place to spend not only your weekends but also summer and Christmas holidays at. Definitely The Forest Lodge has their guests on top of mind, and something that I would want my whole family to experience. I can never get enough of Baguio, and The Forest Lodge made it so.

The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay, Ordonio Drive, Baguio City, Benguet
http://www.campjohnhayhotels.ph/