Dry season in Metro Manila is hellish as ever. If you want to escape a hot limbo, where do you wanna go, it’ll be Baguio!
Named as The Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City is cold as your ex-lover’s heart. This is one of the reasons why my cousin Mimi and I decided to spend our time there last weekend.
As discussed, we headed to Cubao Bus Terminal to catch the earliest ride to the City of Pines. Alas! We are not the only ones who want to get out of Manila that night, but we are losing any hopes. It turned out, Victory Liner is not the only bus headed towards the Cordilleras. We got seats from the North Genesis bus just few blocks away from Victory Liner and rode our way at 9:30 on a Friday night.
At around 4 in the morning of the next day, we arrived in Baguio. As a first timer in this place, I can confirm that the chills are real. It is really cold in there especially during the wee hours of the night ’til dawn. Our knees are trembling and our jaws are clicking because of the severe cold. ‘Brrr’ is indeed a word in there.
An early morning stroll in Burnham Park. Brrr!!!
Since the place where we are going to stay opens at 8:30 AM, we decided to take an early breakfast (and very late dinner for last night) at one of the fast food chains in there. It is true that establishments in there operate without an air conditioning unit, as well as their cabs, which by the way can be praised for having honest and approachable cab drivers so far.
After settling into a transient house owned by Ate Garet – thanks to my colleague and friend Rizza who happens to be a girlfriend of her sister’s step-son, we got a room for 300 pesos instead of 350 and we were allowed to check in early and check out late – we headed to Lourdes Grotto to say a little prayer and lay a flower on the statue of Mother Mary. The grotto is situated on the top of the hill so we need to take 252 steps before reaching it. It was really worth it since you will see a panoramic view of establishments in variety of colors. It seems like you are looking at a magazine cover or the Island of Santorini in Greece.
We’ll say a little prayer for you! :-)
A small chapel located at the Lourdes Grotto for those who wanted to say their prayers in the shadows.
At 11:00 AM, we decided to look for a place to calm our starving bellies. I saw a post about the 50’s Diner in the internet a day before out trip so we decided to check it out. The least I can say is, it was an experience. Maybe it’s just me but you can check them out for yourselves.🙂
We were planning to visit the Mines View Park next; however, due to some weather disturbances and an agitation I felt from my stomach (as it is still adjusting to the cold temperature of the place), we headed back home to rest.
We went down to the Burnham Park at around 5 in the afternoon and stroll beside the lake, then we saw a cycling range. Without further ado, we rented 2 bicycles at 40 pesos per hour each and roam around the park. It was my first time riding a bicycle again since way back high school years. It was really, really refreshing!
It is a cold yet great day strolling in Burnham Park. What a lovely afternoon indeed!
We looked for a place to eat dinner at 7:00 PM because this is one of the things we like to do while traveling. Unfortunately, the rain poured down again so we ran up to SM Baguio and get inside a Chinese fast food chain and vent out our disappointments on their food. It’s a good thing we were hungry, or else…
The Baguio Skyline.
Since it was not really a good time to unwind while the rain is heavily dropping it’s tears, we went home and prepared ourselves for the next trip in the morning, the Strawberry Farm!
We woke up at 5 in the morning, took a bath (the water is sooo cold and since there is no heater on the bathroom, we soaked on a sudden ice bucket challenge!) and went our way to La Trinidad. It was an amazing view of a farm. They got not only strawberries but broccoli, lettuces, cabbages and many other fruits and vegetables that grow in cold weathers. The land is muddy due to a heavy rain last night and my cousin enjoyed it in barefoot while strawberry-picking. The smell of the farm and the mud feels like home in the province.
It’s strawberry-picking time!
What a magnificent farm you are!
We spent a thousand pesos buying souvenirs and pasalubongs in there while thinking of our last stop before going home since it’s nearly noon and we are about to go back in Manila in 6 hours. Then, Mines View Park made it to the top list.
Despite of a heavy traffic, we reached Mines View Park after 30 minutes. The pungent smell of horses and fresh air is what makes our ride to the park distinctive from the rest of the tours we had since the day before. The place was said to be the highest peak of Baguio City but we did not appreciate it very much due to a high volume of people wanting to take a good picture and a quality pose of the mountains and the valleys below it. Again, we looked for some souvenirs and headed our way back to the house.
Last stop, the soaring high place at Mines View Park.
I cannot say that my trip there is one of a kind, but it is certainly an experience. It was also my first time visiting Baguio so I will clearly be back in that place to peak on the rest of the beautiful spots in there. It is true that Baguio has a lot to offer for your eyes to feast on, but what many people don’t know is that observing the ways people live in there is astounding.
If I were to choose, I will live there not because of the great places they offer, but of how they give importance to people, may you be their neighbor or a stranger across the street, and of course, because of its great, cold and chilling climate. Definitely going to come back there someday.