On the 14th day of the 2nd month of the year, I celebrated the 20th year of creative mischief from God’s greatest gift to me – life. 20 years and I feel like I’m so old already, but I like it. I feel the pressure of carefully planning my life from this point onwards and never going astray from the said plan so that I could consider my life fruitful. I was in the middle of social entropy and a pile of academic workload when I decided and pushed through my plans of having a weekend escape from the kind of reality I exist in. I wanted to shun out everything that worries my mind and just live the moment without any fear of what’s to come or not to come in the following seconds of my life. And with ataraxis, rethink my whole life, pick out the important things worth to be kept and shove off everything that’s not beneficial to my pursuit of a successful life. But of course, I also want to love myself and be generous to it even for just this glorious moment of the year. Thus, the weekend getaway to Baguio City came to life.
It was my first time in the summer capital of the country. All I know is that it’s really cold there, but of how much is what I don’t know. I had called up a transient house there through an applicant in my current organization so that I could have a place to stay while I’m in Baguio. It was located in the grounds of Teacher’s Camp, right in front of the basketball court – the only house with a tarpaulin that says, “Transient House”. It’s a fair catch with a rate of only Php 350.00 per day per person, and you could get to use all the facilities in the kitchen (inclusive of the 350). Guests are provided with drinking water, kitchen utensils of which you are free to use, and you can also cook there if you want! Each room has its own comfort room, and needless to say, you don’t need an aircondition unit or an electric fan with the kind of temperature Baguio has. (If you’re also on a trip to Baguio any time soon and still doesn’t have a place to say, and you want to stay at this place that I am talking about, send me a comment!) By the way, there’s no jeepney going directly from Victory Liner’s Bus Terminal to Teacher’s Camp, so you have to take a cab. It will only cost you utmost Php 60.00. It’s just a six-minute drive.
Before you start packing your stuff on your trip to Baguio, it’s better if you first secure your bus tickets or you’ll fall on the same fate as Stephen and I. We arrived at the terminal at 2330 expecting that we could just walk right up a bus or wait for 30 minutes top to take us to our getaway. I wasn’t really expecting to see the sign on the ticket booth that says the only tickets available are for a 0330 trip. Because of that, we have to wait then for 0330 to come. We arrived in Baguio at 1030. We didn’t took the SCTEX route that’s why the travel period is longer. We were both in a foul mood when we arrived so we slept first and woke up at 1500. We were both hungry and somehow lost. We don’t know how to go to the places we wanted to go. I was sending a SMS to my friends who are from Baguio asking them directions and instructions on how to go to certain places. The replies came late, so Stephen and I decided to walk southwest until we come across a restaurant.
It took almost seven minutes to see that huge rectangular marquee saying ‘50′s Diner‘, a reminiscent of the art deco with its totally American interiors and black-and-white posters of Marilyn Monroe. Stephen was tempted to try their milkshake, but a few steps forward led as to this small and narrow authentic Japanese ramen house named Yamashita. We both have an appetite for Japanese food and because we both want something to warm our tummies. We ordered two large bowls of ramen and gyoza. It was my first time eating the gyoza. The food was great. It weren’t like those ramen from fast foods. I’m not that good of a critique for Japanese foods, forgive me. But Stephen would really have a lot to say about these. After we had our gastric satisfaction, we went on to our journey of visiting a few of the most important sites in Baguio City.
Our first stop is Mines View which is the nearest from where we are. It was just one jeepney-ride (Jeepneys with Mines View written on the route) away from Yamashita. It is their last stop so it’s really easy to go there. The ride is less than 10 minutes. We passed by the Baguio Botanical Garden and Wright Park. They drop their passengers in front of the Good Shepherd Convent, and from there, you have to walk your way to Mines View. Along the road are stalls selling pasalubong from Strawberry jams, fudge bar, sundot-kulangot, to walis tambo and other woodcrafts by the indigenous people of the Cordillera. On our way to Mines View, we came across the famous Strawberry-flavored taho of Baguio. It is way more expensive than the usual taho costing as much as Php 30.00 per cup. What made it expensive is the Strawberry bits found in it and the sweet strawberry syrup instead of the usual brown sugar syrup.
It was already dark when we arrived at the viewing deck of Mines View. I can’t see the mine trails anymore. All I saw was the lights from the houses and buildings found at the foot of the mountains. Still a picturesque sight for me.
I didn’t expect for Mines View to be just a small place with only the viewing deck and the line of fabulous horses with pink manes. I could see that those horses were just so used to being taken pictures of that they project really well in front of the camera. They know where to look and where to step their hooves. Taking photos with the horses only costs Php 10.00. But they’re all kinda smelly even though they’re fabulous so we decided to just appreciate them from a distance. There’s also some huge St. Bernard dogs near the entry points of Mines View wherein you can also take a picture with them for a price we didn’t bother knowing anymore. Stephen and I decided to come back to Mines View the next day to see how it looks like in broad day light.
After the great view of the mines, we went on to buy our pasalubong for our friends. I also tried their grilled dried squid. Frankly, I like the dried squid from Cebu better. We then rode a jeepney going down to Wright Park.
IWright Park is located at the rotonda before going to Gibraltar Road. It’s dark then that’s why the sign posts were unnoticeable. Found here is a track where tourists could rent a horse for Php 200.00 per hour or Php 300.00 for two hours and ride them round and round. On the street parallel to Gibraltar Road is where Volante and Ketchup Food Community is found. Volante offers one of the most famous local pizza in Baguio, while Ketchup is a site for four different restaurants offering steaks, Indonesian food, Thai food and Italian food. We spent our day 2′s lunch at Happy Tummy, one of the restaurants in Ketchup.
Other restaurants found here are Canto, Rancho Norte and Green Pepper.
I think Green Pepper just had one of the poorly executed interiors among the five restaurants found here. They are the one adjacent to the common restroom with only a curtain as a partition between the area of the restaurant and the restroom.
Stephen and I both had a craving for Pad Thai on our 2nd day in Baguio so we went to Happy Tummy for lunch. We had Pad Thai, Garlic Squid and a pitcher of Thai Milk Tea of which Stephen found very delightful. The Pad Thai, however was really very disappointing. So far the worst Pad Thai I had in my life. I am a Pad Thai enthusiast so I guess I have better judgment on this food than Stephen. The sauce for the Pad Thai tastes good. They made it a little spicy which is different from most Pad Thai’s that I’ve tried. They were also generous enough to put chicken chunks, shrimp and tofu in the mix. Sad to say, they are not the star of the show. There was a very little amount of rice noodles and peanuts and an overwhelming amount of raw mongo sprouts. It overpowered the good taste of the sauce and of the rice noodles. It was as if they cooked the pad thai first and when it’s done, they threw in the mongo sprouts without even mixing it. Good thing the milk tea and garlic squid were really good, it neutralizes the negative impression that the pad thai left on me.
Other than the food, the service is also disappointing. The guy who took our order forgot to give our stub to the main desk where orders are taken and appointed to the cooks in the kitchen. 1/5 of the people in the restaurant were gone and we still don’t have our orders. We waited for more than 45 minutes before we were finally able to eat. Some people who arrived later than us even got their orders before us. Even the rice that we ordered came out too late. So, that’s the disappointing tale of our late lunch at the Happy Tummy. Ironically, my tummy was not happy when we left the place.
Wright Park, we decided to go downtown and unexpectedly found the night streets so alive lined with different mobile food stalls and ukay-ukay. Across the street is a huge open field where more stalls are found and so are the entries for the landscaping competition of the annual Panagbenga Festival. We walked through every stall from end to end. It’s the only place where Strawberry flavoured pastillas can be found so I bought some for Jho and for myself. Stephen also bought a serving of bagnet. Another first time for me. What surprised both was finding the Burnham Park after walking a little bit more from the said place. I wouldn’t even believe him at first when we saw the famous lake of Burnham. Then we saw the garbage bins which say “Welcome to Burnham Park”.
In one part of Burnham Park is a haven of different species of roses varying in color and sizes. Stephen taught me a little on taking photos. Fortunately, it came out fine. The photos of the roses below are the fruit of my crash course lessons on shooting from Stephen.
With so much care for his camera, Stephen won’t allow anyone touch it. But for the sake of being his ladyfriend, he allowed me to shoot with it. One disadvantage of traveling without one person other than the couple is that no one will be able to take your photo together. What we did was put the camera on a nearby table, set the timer and pose in a bench a few feet in front of the camera.
We decided to drop by at the ukay-ukay first before going back home. There were lots of great selections and I just can’t believe how cheap they were! I was able to buy three tops for Php 50.00 plus one for Php 20.00 and one blazer for Php 50.00. Stephen got his Zoo York Hoodie for Php 200.00. There were slacks that were sold for only Php 10.00 each. I forgot to buy one for myself though. While I was busy looking for a pasalubong for a friend, Stephen went up the overpass to take a photo of the busy street filled with used clothing. He took a photo of the same street the next day to juxtapose its state during night and day.
Another icon for Baguio is their very own Clean Comfort Rooms. It truly stands for its name. It’s found in almost every corner of Baguio City offering a truly clean public comfort room. What I find very amusing about it is the strawberry syrup-like handwash. I wish Metro Manila had that too. It was one of the things that Stephen and I missed about Baguio. You’d normally dread the public bathrooms here in the metro.
We were able to arrive home a few minutes past 12 midnight. Our tired bodies made us fall into a deep sleep, waking up at 0930 the next day. We went had lunch at Happy Tummy then back to Mines View as I had mentioned earlier. We then had two jeepney rides from Mines View to the town center, then to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. We counted the steps up to the famous grotto with a few stopovers due to my seasickness.
After our long stopover, we head to the top of the trail and was face-to-face with the tall grotto of the Our Lady of Lourdes realizing that there was some mistakes in counting the steps on our way up.
Other than the view of the grotto, the little birds perching and pecking off the bark from the fig trees nearby caught our attention. We tried to take a photo of them but there has got to some problem with the camera adjustments so our photos were not that excellent.
Unfortunately, we were not able to visit Camp John Hay anymore, but we did passed by it on our way to the Victory Liner Terminal.
This should have a part II. This has become quite long already. I’ll see you in my next post!20 Years of Creative Mischief On the 14th day of the 2nd month of the year, I celebrated the 20th year of creative mischief from God’s greatest gift to me - life.