Since it’s already the last quarter of the year and the mid of -ber months, my family, boyfriend and I were excited to feel the natural cool breeze of Baguio, escape Manila for three days/two nights on a weekend, and experience a simply luxurious way of a perfect staycation in the “Summer Capital of the Philippines.” It has been almost a decade since our last visit, and my mom had terribly missed this travel destination located in the province of Benguet in northern Luzon island of the country.

To recall, we’ve had four trips to Baguio before and we’ve stayed in a different hotel every time (but always near Session Road) to experience something new. So when the question “Where is a good hotel to stay at the quiet side of Baguio City?” is placed, consensuses gather around two choice areas: either The Manor or The Forest Lodgeโ€”both situated at Camp John Hay, away from the busy streets downtown.

Note: We intended to book a stay at The Manor, but unfortunately it was fully booked on our chosen dates. While searching for an alternative, we chanced upon Forest Lodge’s website and decided to reserve for two rooms in advance. So, Forest Lodge it was! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Touchdown Baguio!

We traveled on a Thursday night via Genesis Transport – Philippine Rabbit and reached Baguio City in about six hours. From the bus terminal, we took a ten-minute taxicab ride to the hotel. Temperature was very nice, a lot colder than Manila! Everywhere was like air-conditioned.

From Manila, I called the hotel front desk prior going to reconfirm our reservation. It was a good move for us to feel rest assured that we would not end up not having a place to stay upon arrival. And thank goodness, we didn’t experience any problem in checking in.

The Forest Lodge’s lobby has a rustic and elegant feel. Several sets of sofas, handsome furniture and tribal dรฉcor provided dashes of color bringing a warm and cozy environment. The space was also decorated with Christmas-themed accents, Filipino paintings, arts and crafts.

We were welcomed by the front desk hotel staff who asked for my name and identification card. It didn’t take more than 20 minutes for us to get to our room. Our luggage and carry-on bags were delivered to our room quickly.

Here are the top five activities we covered, plus a review of The Forest Lodge:

Top 5 Activities We Did in Forest Lodge (Hotel in Camp John Hay, Baguio City)

1. Sleep and Relax

We got two Superior Roomsโ€”each fitted with two double-sized beds with clean sheets, comforters and comfy pillows good for four people, cable television, furnishings, bar area complete with a mini fridge, water heater, mugs and bottled water, dressing area, large cabinets, and a decent bathroom.

Weather in Baguio is normally cold, so hotel rooms don’t have an air-conditioner unit. Compared to the previous hotels we’ve stayed in, The Forest Lodge has a ceiling fan to make sure that guests can be pretty much satisfied with coolness and ventilation, if air from the outside isn’t sufficient.

Superior Room 1

Our sleep quality was great, with the consideration that this hotel is inside Camp John Hay and our rooms were facing the parking lot side (thus less traffic noise from the front side of the hotel).ย The Superior Room didn’t have a veranda but view outside the window can be seen vividly. It was of beautiful and tall trees and lush greens.

Superior Room 2

In the bathroom, the rain-head shower with easily controllable water temperature was also a treat. Of course, the last thing we wanted was to bathe in cold water when in Baguio. ๐Ÿ˜› Amenities included were The Forest Lodge shampoo, lotion, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste. Clean bath towels, hangers and a hair dryer were also provided for convenience.

I should also mention that there’s free and fast Wi-Fi connection everywhere in the hotel. It was definitely a plus for me so I could regularly update my followers/friends on Twitter and Instagram.ย  #SocialMediaAddict :mrgreen:

2. Dine and Indulge with Food

We had breakfast and lunch at the only restaurant inside The Forest Lodge: The Twist Cafรฉ by Chef Billy King. If you’re interested to learn about their Asian fusion dishes and breakfast offerings (available 6:30am to 10am) we’ve tried, click here. We also dined in Le Chef at The Manor. You can read about the food and restaurant review here. ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Stay in Music Room

My dad has a wide collection of records, as he’s a large enthusiast of bands and songwriters of his era. We used to have a turntable at home, but then the needle is really hard to find and replace in this modern day. Being in charge of disposing stuff that are not usable, my mom sold the old music player out but still kept the records at my grandfather’s house.

So… you can just imagine how a large smile was plastered on my dad’s face the entire time we were in The Forest Lodge’s music room. ๐Ÿ˜› He was completely astounded upon learning that records of classic artists mostly from the ’60s to the ’80s can be played through a turntable. We just had to ask permission from the hotel manager and staff to play and sound-test some of the records.

The sound that came out from the Polk Audio surround speakers was very clear, and there was absolutely no detectable vibration noise. The more records played, the more you’ll find yourself appreciating it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The music room was also filled with books, so I guess book lovers may spend a lot of time here.

4. Unwind with Live Music

At the Forest Lodge, entertainment does not end at the music room. Guests may also unwind by listening to live music at night in the lounge area. I’m not sure of the nightly schedule but just to share, when we were there on a Friday night, entertainment started at around 6PM when a pianist sat down and did a virtuoso performance.

At 8PM on a Saturday night, conversely, we were serenaded by the jazz music presented by a band composed of doctors. They were really great singers! No wonder there were some audiences who rose to their feet and felt compelled to even dance at the back. The crowd here had a way of showing their appreciation. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Explore Camp John Hay via Shuttle Service

Camp John Hay hotels offer shuttle service operated by Camp John Hay Leisure, Inc.ย for guests to go around the camp and explore its facilities and tour the city. As I was not at all familiar with developments inside CJH, I humbly asked the front desk personnel for recommendations. She made the arrangement for us and the shuttle driver took us to five stops:

Choco-Late de Batirol

Known as “The King of Chocolate,” Choco-late de Batirol is the most awarded and recognized garden-restaurant in Igorot Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio City serving home-cooked meals and specialty drinks. The ambiance was very lovely as it looked like a paradise for nature lovers. The furnishings, including the roofing material, tables and chairs, were made from recycled materials.

We tried a short order of their hot chocolate that everyone was raving about. It was thick and rich with the perfect amount of sweetness, worthy of being famous for.

For reservations and bookings, contact 0916-375-6510 (Socorro) or 0915-933-3474 (Michelle) or email chocolatedebatirol@yahoo.com

Camp John Hay Golf Club

We’re nowhere close to being experienced golfers but just the sight of a par-69 golf course following the Nicklaus design of Golden Bear International impressed us. The Camp John Hay Golf Club is said to be one of the best in the Philippines.

It’s located 5,000 feet above sea level, and is surrounded by rolling hills, crystal clear lakes and tall pine trees. Because we’re non-members, we could not get any further than the space near the veranda restaurant. Anyway, we enjoyed picture-taking and wandering around the scenic area.

To book a golfing holiday, contact +(63-74) 444-2131

Tree Top Adventure (Beside Bell House Museum)

The Tree Top Adventure in Camp John Hay, Baguio features unspoiled nature and a breathtaking view 100 feet above the ground. This is an ideal tripping experience with jungle trails comprised of platforms nestled on branches, suspension bridges and the worldโ€™s first motorized canopy tour.

In Tree Top Adventure, you may choose up to five adventures to embark on: Canopy Ride and Funicular (PhP 350/person), Superman (PhP 300/person), Tree Drop (PhP 150/person), Silver Surfer (PhP 200/person) and Trekking and Skywalk Adventure (PhP 100/person). We just went there to know what the place offers (almost same as those in Subic) and didn’t continue taking any of the packages since we’re all afraid of heights! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Haha.

For inquiries, contact Mr. Donald Estrada at 0932 7449594 or Mr. Jim Bocanog at 0932783 2137

Shalan ti Kabadjo

Translated to “Way of the Horse,” Shalan ti Kabadjo has a bridle path and riding circle for pony rides amidst the lush Kabadjo Pine Forest. We all rode the pony and posed for the camera. Only Mom was brave enough to ride the pony, feeling like a true cowboy up in the saddle. With some guidance, she learned how to handle the pony well by her own. She had so much fun in half an hour.

Butterfly Sanctuary

Offering a rare close encounter with the forest’s winged creature, the Butterfly Sanctuary in Camp John Hay a lush garden home to different butterfly species. Staffs here are known to be friendly and accommodating. They allow guests to hold the colorful butterflies with their bare hands.

We would have wanted to take a look at the colorful butterflies in the Butterfly Sanctuary, but the weather battled against the plan. It was already drizzling! ๐Ÿ™

Wrap Up

True to the word of Heinrich L. Maulbecker, its managing director, the Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay gave us the best of both worlds last weekend: comfortable living spaces at reasonable rates (see below) and an outdoor environment with plenty of views and grounds for the wanderlust.

I believe there will be more improvements in the coming years, and these can be made further possible when amicable settlements between the developer of Camp John Hay in Baguio City, CJHDevCo, and BCDA will be reached. In any case, I recommend this hotel as it’s huge, inviting and overall great. Also worth to mention is that staffs were gracious and hospitable all throughout our stay. Kudos to the team! ๐Ÿ˜€

The Forest Lodge: โ€œThe Best Deal in Baguio!โ€

Room availability can be checked through their website. Room rates are as follows:

Forest Lodge, Camp John Hay, Loakan Road, Baguio City
For inquiries, call The Forest Lodge in Camp John Hay at (074) 422-2075 to 76 / (074) 422-2080 to 81, Manila Sales Office at (02) 678-6710, 687-0351 and (02) 687-6524, or email theforestlodge@campjohnhayhotels.ph
Date Published: 11/03/2014
5 / 5 stars

About 

Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

94 Responses

  1. mr_jeng

    UIIII si BF sumama din!!!!! ^_^ WoW the place you stayed at looks nice and affordable!!! Pwede! Hmmmmm I remember that golf course… almost got hit by a golf ball there.. good thing there was establish places for people with nets or else BOOM hahahahaha ^_^ Glad to see you enjoyed the place hahahaha

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha! Yes, it’s the first time for him to join our family trip that made it more special. ๐Ÿ˜›

      I have never tried golfing in a real golf course. I think it’s pretty boring a game to play hihi ^_^

      Yup, I’m so glad we did enjoy however short the time we had there in Camp John Hay.

      Reply
  2. mindy

    Seems like a perfect place for a brief weekend getaway! I love everything that i see in this post! Would love to be able to visit this place *and stay there* one day. I hate heat (but then again i also cannot stand extreme cold T.T) so i would always prefer colder places for vacation rather than say, beaches… Baguio City seems ideal! Btw, i noticed on some of the pictures that your boyfie and you look kinda alike (especially the smiles), they say couples who lookalike are destined to be together haha, dunno how much that worth but i think you 2 look really good together ^^

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I feel you, Mindy! I also neither like the heat nor suffer in very cold places. Good thing weather in Baguio was great during our travel. It was only at night when I couldn’t almost stand the cold if I wasn’t wearing a jacket or surround myself with comforter. ๐Ÿ˜›

      If there’s a place in the Philippines you should visit, count Baguio in, and definitely book at either Forest Lodge or The Manor. I highly recommend these hotels.

      Yeah, some of our friends and people we know say the same–about us looking quite alike in some angle. Maybe you’re right. It’s in the smile! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you very much hehe.

      Reply
  3. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    What a nice place to go for a little getaway. It looks so nice there.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, this is a must-visit place in Baguio. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plan your itinerary ahead or ask the hotel staff to arrange one for you to make use of your time in the trip.

      Reply
  4. Cia @ Cia Says

    OMG The horse ride would have been my favorite. I’m glad you took plenty of photos of the hotel room. I was curious as to what it looked like. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  5. Liz Mays

    You weren’t kidding about there being a lot to do. Holy moly! The rustic decor is really inviting, and how fun that they also play live music!

    Reply
  6. Brianna K

    That all sounds so amazing! My boys would love to go to the butterfly sanctuary! This past summer, we found monarch eggs near our home to raise into butterflies. We ended up releasing over 20 of them!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Wow! That seemed like a pretty great experience. We had visited a butterfly sanctuary before in Bohol, Philippines and learned so much about the life of a butterfly. This one in Camp John Hay is also a good place to be educated on the spot.

      Reply
  7. Debbie

    Love love love the music room! What an amazing description of the place, details and pictures are exquisite!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thank you, Debbie! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can really spend more time in the music room and enjoy my time even alone. I can relate to old and classic songs more than the songs of today!

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, it was a special journey since we’ve last gone to Baguio ten years back. Mom has showed me our old pictures so we had a little recollection. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  8. Sumi Go | The Purple Doll

    You got me missing Baguio because of this post! <3 It's been so long na since the last time I was there. Thanks for sharing your Baguio trip! Parang nakasama na rin ako sa inyo. Hihi! Definitely keeping The Forest Lodge in mind if we ever make plans to visit Baguio. ๐Ÿ™‚ And will definitely visit Chocolate de Batirol!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, please do! Baguio is always golden. Not many places looked the same even in the urban area so come visit it soon. December will be perfect timing to catch the peak of cool temperature. Brrr! Don’t forget to bring your trusted sweater (and maybe bonnet and gloves). ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  9. Rebecca Swenor

    Wow does that look like a very gorgeously relaxing place to stay indeed. I would love even just one night there. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  10. michele d

    That’s a pretty nice looking lodge. Loved all your pictures. Looks like you enjoyed yourself too.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      We have to catch up with a lot more places since we didn’t have the chance/time to tour around when we were students. Now that my sister has also graduated from college, it’s more fun to travel with family with no more worries about schoolwork left back at home. What is happiness? This is. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  11. Nancy

    Looks like a gorgeous roomy hotel to stay at. The main lobby where they have a fire place is my favourite, I’d love to sit in front of that during the cooler months. Looks like you both had an awesome time there – thanks for the recap!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      The fireplace was placed for guests to stay warm amidst the cold weather. I’m glad it served its functional purpose and not only for beauty and design. You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It was a vacation time well spent, one that we truly needed. If we were not just super tired and sleepy that night, we would have stayed an hour longer to listen and enjoy the live music. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  12. Yona

    I would love to try some of that hot chocolate…I like it when it’s thick and filling. Really nice pictures!

    Reply
  13. Jamie | North of Something

    It looks life a beautiful place to stay! I had no idea there were so many trees there. I would have spent lots of time in the music room with all the books! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Make The Forest Lodge on top of your list. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s only about 10 minutes of taxicab ride away from the main city. Calling for a taxi from the hotel is super convenient and easy, too.

      Reply
  14. Ann Bacciaglia

    This looks like such a beautiful place to stay. I will definitely love to stay here if i am ever in the area.

    Reply
  15. Myrabev

    wow this place is amazing and looks so serene, I would love to stay there if I ever found myself in that part of the world

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Me too. If only I can make hopping from one hotel to another as a living (write reviews and stuffs about them), I’d love to take that!

      For me, hotels are my home away from home so definitely they have to be presentable, comfortable and homey. ๐Ÿ™‚ Cleanliness and service are important as well. The Forest Lodge is a winner by those factors.

      Reply
  16. Fi Nรญ Neachtรกin

    Looks like such a lovely place. I’d love to go stay somewhere lovely like that and catch up on some rest and relaxation too!

    Reply
  17. Kori

    That place certainly looks amazing! My father’s side of the family is from the Philippines and some of my aunts and cousins went to Boracay over the summer.

    Reply
  18. Lynndee

    I’ve never been to Baguio yet, believe it or not. But I will for sure visit the place someday and show the hubs our “Little America.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Sounds like a good plan. ๐Ÿ™‚ As mentioned, there’s a lot more developments to be anticipated in CJH specifically. ๐Ÿ™‚ Part of the joy of traveling is sharing the experiences with others when you get back, so it is important to prepare a trusted camera and take as many pictures (and/or videos) as you can.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Traveling with the family is no doubt one of the most important and treasured family activities, especially with everyone now getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of work routines. The location, locals, exciting food and spectacular scenery are all part of what makes a vacation so memorable. ๐Ÿ˜€ You should consider booking a vacation here, too!

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It’s one of the best family trips of the year. Hope we’ll have more in the next years to come. We have just started traveling in the Philippines very recently. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Color me delighted. The Forest Lodge has everything you ever will need for a convenient and safe travel. Shuttle services can be arranged by the front desk staff so no need to worry.

      Reply
  19. jo

    I always visit Baguio as a kid but I haven’t been there. When did they open? It looks like a really great place!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I think two years ago. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yup, you can expect to savor a unique vacation experience here. The rooms are well-appointed and spacious enough to bond with your family, friends and even business associates.

      Reply
  20. Anne Younger

    SO jealous! Someday hope to visit the Philippines. My mother-in-law has traveled there twice for work now and she always enjoys herself. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It’s really fun to visit the Philippines (and also to stay here for good). I’ve been to many other countries but nothing is like home. ๐Ÿ™‚ You must try the food!

      Reply
  21. jared's mum

    Baguio is one of my most fave destinations. We have been meaning to go back one of these days as we’ve not fully explored Camp John Hay during our trip due to time constraints.

    This hotel is simply lovely! Makes your vacation all the more relaxing + enjoyable.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes! If ever you’ll visit CJH again, do book a room in either The Manor or The Forest Lodge ahead of time so you can be sure you’ll have at least a slot. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      This month and the coming month until maybe January may be the best times if you’re planning to visit Camp John Hay in Baguio City for you to fully experience the coolness!

      Reply
  22. Cherri Megasko

    That lodge looks awesome! I love the area where the rocking chairs are with the hardwood floors. Actually, I am a big fan of wood decor, so this place is right up my alley.

    Reply
  23. Jay Eleanor

    I love the place. Baguio is one of the top tourist spots in the Philippines. I will definitely go back there. I thought I already explore Baguio. It’s a hidden gem. Thank you for sharing i will add up this to my next travel list.

    Reply

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