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!

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

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

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

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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!

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

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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. 

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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.

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This is Bencab’s muse, Sabel.
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I had to take a photo of this one.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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As expected, the flowers near the Le Monet entrance were gorgeous.
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We went back to Session Road where I bought strawberries sold on the sidewalk.  From there, we called it a day.

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I will be back, Baguio!

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