Baguio in a Day

Since our trip to Bangkok was cancelled, my aunt and I had 5 days in Manila. We can’t be spending all those days in malls and traffic so we decided beforehand to go to Baguio. I have never been to Baguio. My aunt had visited Baguio several times in past but was still interested in going.

Traveling to Baguio was convenient. Right after we landed in NAIA 3, we took  our lunch at the airport and took a taxi to Victory Liner in Pasay. Victory Liner travels to Baguio every hour. We were hoping to catch their First Class bus but there was only one seat left so we settled for the regular air-conditioned bus. It was an 8-hour trip. Quite long but we were comfortable. My aunt loved that vendors are allowed to go inside the bus. She remembered going to Baguio with my aunts more than ten years ago and they were in a hired van. They were very hungry  but when they told the driver to stop for food they were always told, “Malapit na.” (It’s near.) She remembered how they devoured their meals when they arrived in Tarlac for a stopover.  With our trip, she was never hungry. We bought this huge sweet corn (the biggest corn on cob I have eaten in my life) and chicharon from vendors.  The food made us forget the 8 hours of travel.

We arrived in Baguio at around 8PM. I loved the twinkling lights of  Baguio as we approached the city from the mountains. Too bad I was not able to capture it on my camera. We headed straight to the hotel to rest.

We woke up early the following day. It was a Sunday (March 2) and the last day of Panagbenga. The first order of the day was to find a church.  My aunt who was with me had spent the whole summer in Baguio in her 30’s for teacher’s training.  So I asked her:

Me: Tita, what is the name of their cathedral here?
Tita: St. Peter

When we reached the cathedral, it was called “Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral”. Ang layo! I realized that I should not rely on her for directions around Baguio. Hehe!


We had breakfast after the mass and walked along Session Road.  There were bazaars in the street.


 We saw gorgeous flowers. How we wished we can bring them to Butuan!


How cool is this? They can grow strawberries in a planter!
We really do not have an itinerary for the day. We walked where the road led us and found this busy intersection.

My aunt said that she had been here before and that Burnham Park was somewhere near. When we were nearing what looked liked a park, I approached a law enforcer and asked where Burnham Park is. He amusingly replied with arms wide open, “Ito na po, Ma’am.” Ah ok. It really showed how clueless I was.

There were exhibits of the landscaping contest. We bought some shirts for pasalubong since there was a bazaar.



The park was teeming with people.  I initially planned to try boating but the sun was already up and I was wearing a sweater! I thought it was going to be cold during the day.  Pass muna ang boating!


We found a neat opportunity to remember our Baguio trip: a photo in a costume! Our best Baguio pic ever! LOL!


When I posted this on Facebook, one cousin asked how I was able to convince my aunt to wear the costume. The answer: only ten pesos per picture with your own camera!

After we were done with the pictorial, we went Mines View Park. I dunno how this looked before but there weren’t so much to see. Sorry, Baguio! Do not ban me for saying this. I love everything else. 


The only consolation was that it was near the Good Shepherd where I bought strawberry jam, ube jam, peanut brittle and lengua de gato. We made a pitstop at the Botanical Garden and had lunch in the city proper. The bottles of jams were heavy to lug around so we went back to the hotel.

There were three things I wanted to do while in Baguio. Two of which did not happen: strawberry picking in La Trinidad and visit the Tam-awan Village.  The third one  I pushed to be there in the afternoon. I was glad we did. We visited the Bencab Museum!

Ben Cabrera is a National Artist for Visual Arts. He owns a museum in Tuba, Benguet, which is less than 20 minutes away from the city. The museum houses his works from paintings to sculpture.

There were works from other artists as well.  This photography exhibit by Emmanuel Tolentino looks interesting.



This is Bencab’s muse, Sabel.

I had to take a photo of this one.


This is a digitally reprinted hand-colored lithograph by another artist. When I went to the museum shop, there is a similar digitally reprinted watercolor painting of a bird with BenCab’s signature. I asked how much it was thinking I might get one as a souvenir. The staff replied, “P 20,000”. I have to pick my jaw up from the floor. I should have taken up fine arts in college.  Hehe!

The museum had several floors. I forgot to count them. This is the view from one of the balconies.  I read somewhere that he bought the mountain across this to prevent anyone from ruining the view.


I took this photo on our way out. No, this is not a painting. These are real orchids in the lobby. I love how it turned out in my photo.


I really recommend visiting the place.

We had time to spare. I got a message from my other aunt asking if we have visited Camp John Hay. Not yet.  So, off the Camp John Hay! We rode the jeep to go there so we were dropped at the entrance. I never anticipated that the road up is on an incline. My aunt was panting while going up. The goal was to go to The Manor.  We only walked up to Le Monet Hotel. My aunt already refused to walk further. Ha!  Good thing they had a Panagbenga float on display.

As expected, the flowers near the Le Monet entrance were gorgeous.

We went back to Session Road where I bought strawberries sold on the sidewalk.  From there, we called it a day.


I will be back, Baguio!


28 Reasons to be Thankful for February 2014

This post is long overdue. I have been working and traveling so updating this blog took a backseat. Plus, it took time before I got my writing groove back. I had work waiting for me and I still have not truly rested from traveling.  Then, there were those moments when I looked back at the photos of our travel and recalled the fun times we had.

Let me get this post going before I get carried away again. Here are the 28 reasons I am thankful for last February.

1. Reassurance. The events unfolding in Thailand made my heart beat faster. A friend of mine said it was okay to go there. (Note: We all know what happened to my trip.)

2. Meeting new friends. My friend organized a feeding session for those kids who were victims of Typhoon Agaton in her area. We distributed snacks and a dentist was asked to teach kids how to properly brush their teeth.  Toothbrush and toothpaste were also distributed. I got to meet some of her friends and we had a mini-photoshoot as I am in charge of taking the photos.


3. Free time. I am usually free during Mondays so I use the time to run errands. For this time, I used the day for planning the week ahead.

4. Push to get things done.  I have filed my income tax return!  Hurray! Deadline is still on April 15 but I filed in advance so I do not have to think about it anymore.  Plus I overpaid my taxes so I still have tax credits for next quarter. Hurray!

5. Successful call. My flight got cancelled and I know it was difficult to reach the Cebu Pacific hotline but I was able to get through on the second attempt.

6. My aunt. No thanks to the developing colds but thanks to my aunt who bought me medicine without me asking.  I am really not fond of taking medicine because I believe my immune system will work to fight the virus. However, the medicine gave me relief even for a short while.

7. Entertainment. Sheldon kissed Amy! I know this is fiction but I love The Big Bang Theory!


8. Pasalubong. My cousin came from Cagayan de Oro and brought me J.Co donuts.

9. Safe travel. My aunt was away for almost a week to accompany her friend to get treatment in Cagayan de Oro.  We were uncertain when she would be home. We got  a surprise when we heard a honk from the car that brought her home. Oh, I got two laptop sleeves from her- in polka dots!.

10.  Work opportunities. There would be fewer free times. I would miss a lot of TV shows but there is a meaningful work ahead. I am fine with that.

11. Cebu Pacific Refund.  I wrote a lengthy piece about that in the previous post.

12. Time with family. It was my cousin’s birthday the day before. February 12 was also my late father’s birthday while the 13th was my late mother’s. We all went to the newly opened Chowking for lunch. In the afternoon, we went to the mall with my nephew.


13. Sweet ponkan.  I was loading up on vitamin C because of the colds and I was lucky to buy sweet ones. I was able to consume 3 in one sitting.

14. Grape plant. I got a surprise gift from a friend with green thumb: grape! Not yet the edible kind but it is ready for planting in two weeks. I hope I won’t kill it.  Who needs a valentine when you have thoughtful friends?  Haha!

15. Books. My friend was looking for a book to read and it was a reminder for me to start reading my pending books.

16. Bibingka. My friend who was then in Bangkok showed me the cake she was eating that I suddenly craved one.  Good thing, a bibingka  (rice cake) vendor showed up at our gate.


17. Movie break. I watched ‘Starting over again’ with my aunt. The other aunt already watched it ahead of us and recommended that we watched the movie.

18. Interesting dinner.  The dinner guests (and that included me) were treated to a poetry rendition. It was amazing how my friend’s father  can just blurt out those classic poems from memory. Fascinating!

19. Work. What needed to be done became clearer.  There were still a lot of work to do but there was confidence that we could do it.

20. Lechon.  Free lechon was always welcomed. Yum!

21. Clearer schedule. I had another work from another client and a trip coming up so setting up the schedule made the work easier.  It made things manageable.

22. Sleep! After three days of workshop, I needed my rest.

23.  Wonderful friends.  It was the second feeding session that my friend organized.  This time, more close friends came.


24. Instant shopping. I was on a out-of-town work and I did not know we are going to spend the night in the place. I did not bring extra clothes. Right after work, I went to the town’s only department store. Good thing the store was still open. I was able to buy clothes.

25.  Safe trip. Several roads were damaged because of Agaton. Glad we came home safe.

26.  Accommodation. I used to plan ahead when I travel but things got busy. My trip was on March 1 and it was only on the 26th of February that I was able to finalize our accommodation.

27.  Workshop done. It was the last day of the workshop I was documenting. I could already focus on preparing for the trip after completing the report.

28. Report done.  I did some last minute errands.  Report was done until midnight. I packed my things at midnight in preparation for a 9:45 AM flight the next day.

Whew! Thank  you, God, for February!

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