Baguio City, a busy place up north of the Philippines, is a popular destination among Filipinos and foreigners especially during the summer season. The city boasts of its chilly air while everywhere else in the Philippines feels like a cauldron full of hot lava. Due to its altitude, Baguio City will not only give you a cool embrace, it will also show you a beautiful landscape rarely seen within the metro.
I am a pure Manileña, from birth until 2 decades after, and I have no province to go to during the summer season. However, in 2011, Baguio City became my second home after I enrolled in the University of the Philippines Baguio for one year.
Two years after I left Baguio, I visited the place that sheltered me despite my unfamiliarity. About half a year after my visit, I went back again because Baguio will always be my second home.
My last visit happened around early March in 2015 when the then famous “Forevermore” teleserye had just ended. My relatives wanted to see La Presa and so it was our first stop early in the morning. It was around 6 am and most of the local shops where still closed. But a cup of sweet strawberry taho (or ‘soya milk with caramel syrup and tapioca pearls’ as my friend branded it) gave us warmth in the cold Benguet morning air.
The road going to Sitio La Presa, located in Sto. Tomas, Tuba, Benguet, is a little steep and the soil is quite loose. But upon arrival to the place, your eyes will be satisfied with its beautiful landscapes. We were lucky to witness the sunrise in that part of Benguet.
I was inspired to write a poem because of the beautiful sunrise.
I catch a glimpse of you
And I marvel at your beauty.
Your joy radiates,
Your light resonates.
I smile, because I am in awe.
And I longed to reach you
And touch you
But then I realize
that you are far away–
Too far for me–
That I cannot reach you,
And all I can do
Is marvel you
As I watch
From a distance.
After such a beautiful way to start the morning, we went into the heart of Baguio City and had our breakfast at Burnham Park.
Burnham Park is a perfect place for families to bond with each other. There is a bike rental place, a boating lake, and a lot of food stalls to choose from. While our companions chose to stay in Burnham to have fun, my cousin (Ate Resa) and I opted to go to the Ben Cab museum. We took a cab to get there.
Here are some of my favorite art works from our great artists.
The museum will also lead you to a garden which is undeniably pleasant in the eyes. It is surrounded by lush green mountains and there is a harmonious balance between the green and brown – the colors of earth.
There is also a lone house in the middle of the mountain. I guess it would be really fun to get to visit the place.
After our satisfying visit at the amazing museum, we went straight to the hotel to get some rest. Most of us slept through the day and woke up only in the afternoon to once again explore Baguio.
Unlike my Baguio visit prior to that trip, the city was then caught up in a slow-paced traffic. It’ll take you about an hour to get to Session Road when the trip could’ve been done in ten minutes. We went to SM City Baguio to meet some old friends before having dinner. I’ve always been fascinated in SM City Baguio because the mall is not enclosed, thus, there is no air condition. But you would be embraced by the cold and fresh Baguio Chill. The roof of the mall looks like a giant umbrella which is pretty cool especially during the rainy season.
When we were done with our dinner, the old people (Yes, the oldies!) decided to buy alcoholic drinks and spend the night drinking at the hotel, but again, my cousin and I decided to rather take our rest in our hotel room. There, I checked how the city looked like at night.
The following day, we had a few hours to do whatever we want so my cousin and I visited Mt. Cloud Bookshop to check on the available books there. The ambiance in the bookshop is unlike those in the mall because it has a native feel.
A quote I found (and resonated) at Mt. Cloud, Baguio City
“Do not trust a poet.
She will speak words you
cannot fathom, a hunger you
She will show you worlds you
cannot Iive in.”
-Never Trust a Peot, Denise Chou Allas
Although I wasn’t able to pay a visit to UP Baguio that day, let me take you to a little detour in my former school. At the entrance of UP Baguio, you will readily see the campus’ version of the Oblation.
There is also another statue but I’m not sure what it is called.
This is at the back of Bulwagang Juan Luna, a path which can bring you to the library or lead you to the abortion stairs. Too bad I wasn’t able to take a photo of the Abortion Stairs. People say that pregnant women who brave to take the stairs going up might suffer miscarriage. This is because the staircase is quite steep and has many steps.
Side note: Before leaving Baguio City, I urge everyone to try Good Taste Restaurant. It is a non-expensive place to eat and the servings are good for sharing. There are around three or more Good Taste restaurants within Baguio premises.
I also recommend visiting 50s Diner for some Retro feels for lunch or dinner.
We went to Baguio via my uncle’s private car but I’m still quite familiar with the Baguio trip expenses. The fare from Cubao Victory Liner terminal is about 450-500 php per person, but it will only cost about 360 pesos discounted for students and senior citizens. There are two bus stops, usually in Pampanga and Pangasinan respectively. The bus trip takes about 5-6 hours, and you’ll know you are in Baguio when you pass by the lion in Marcos Highway or the tunnel, but the best marker is always the pressure you’ll feel, especially in the ears.