Tourists flock to Baguio City for a taste of the cold weather

BAGUIO CITY – Bonnets, beanies, scarfs, shawls, hoodies (hooded sweaters) and “winter” jackets are a fad these days in Baguio City as the temperature drops a notch lower every day since last week.

One will be able to see his/her breath (breath vapor) very early in the morning at the time when these temperatures are at the lowest.

To the domestic tourist, these are exciting experiences – to wear a bonnet with “Baguio City” woven on it or wear a “Cardigan” or a plain sweater during the cold day with recorded average temperature between 15º and 18ºC.

The temperature drops between 11º and 14ºC late in the afternoon or early evening where none Baguio City residents will be able to put on their bonnets or beanies and hoodies.

Most of the locals prefer to stand around a bonfire within their backyards, sing songs or just play the guitar and take some alcoholic beverages.

A few transient houses, hotels and Bed and Breakfast inns eagerly light up their fireplaces to keep their guests warm at night.

The coldest temperatures were recorded between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., ranging between 9º and 10ºC until February 15, which dropped to 7.3ºC at 6 a.m.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration in Baguio City (PAGASA) have been announcing that the temperature will drop to 7.5ºC until the third week of February which is attributed to the North East monsoon.

But it already surpassed the expectations of the weather forecasters and may even drop further to equal the lowest at 6.3ºC recorded on January 18, 1961.

It is a treat for both the tourists and local residents being a “cold” month of the Baguio Flower Festival.

In the last couple of years, the month of February ushers the summer season in Baguio City which is just right for the flower festival – not freezing cold and not boiling hot, “temperate”, in other words.

In both 2015 and 2016, the coldest months were January and the coldest in 2016 was on January 26 at 10.8ºC.

Tourists book their hotels and transient houses as early as November and confirm their reservations in January for the festival, expecting a warm February.

Not this year, as the temperature continues to drop every day and as the forecasters put it, “let us wait and see.”

Going back in time, PAGASA listed the dates of when low temperatures were recorded beginning in 1961, where the coldest were recorded in January.

Meanwhile, the health buffs at Burnham Park continue their workouts in an unusual attire – all wrapped-up with hoodies over bonnets and jackets over their sweaters with scarfs around their necks, jogging and doing their jumping jacks or the “zumba.”

The lake is another majestic site, very early in the morning, as one will see the mist over the lake as it evaporates under the rising sun.

The early morning restaurants or the 24-hour fast food chains are filled with brewed coffee lovers and the early risers, rubbing their hands together.

The tourist population is not enough to warm the finger numbing days as Baguio City expects the coldest day in a few more days before the summer season – again, Let us wait and see. Jojo Lamaria/