northphil final destination: baguio

2 of my siblings haven’t been to baguio so whilst driving home from ilocos, i thought of turning left to naguilian road instead and visit the city of pines.

it was like an endless road to baguio. my unfamiliarity to the neighboring towns made the drive even longer. and geeeez! the curve! it was the sharpest i’ve seen. oh well maybe the road to banaue was worse. but in the entire 10hr ride i was asleep and it was the bus driver hands that are on the steering wheel not mine. but this time around it was mine, so you would agree how scary it could get…sharp sharp curves, steep ascent of a very narrow naguilian road and cold breeze on your face (turned off the ac and put down the window – scent-of-the-pines-sucker-me). man i’m no expert driver for this!

it was the city’s peak season, but we managed to have an accommodation right away after not more than 4 calls. thanks to my sis network of friends (see it really pays off if you’re nice and friendly sometimes:p)

it wasn’t a hotel but a rest house for transient guests. it’s a 4-bedroom huge huge house and is 10mins drive to the city center. i like it cos it’s cozy and it was cheap (i thought for a while but later to find out from S who now works there, it’s pricey).

we arrived 10ish so it was kinda late for me to go out alone for a walk and a coffee. so slept early and recharged for tomorrow’s another long day por mi familia.

whilst in bed, it was only then it came to me, it was about the same time when i last went here with my girlfriends after we graduated highscool. it’s been 12 years already! surely, baguio is no longer baguio that i used to know! so i sms S for tips where to go. she replied with a list:sm (haha!), mines view, botanical garden, wright park, pma, and the mansion. but she recommended tam-awan, and to go check out oh my gulay resto (a veggie artsy fartsy resto) along session road – which i already read somewhere to be a must-try and a cup of pressed coffee at kafee klatsch.


sm baguio – it looks cool from afar. it has a chic tent resembling that at rockwell. henry sy really knows filipinos by heart. he knows our inherent luv for malls.

but because i underestimated the traffic condition – we were limited to visit only the top priorities. we visited the lourdes grotto for some photo shooting. i even bought an everlasting and donned it to me as necklace like a regular accessory (this is one of the reasons why i like going places – i can be whatever i want without people giving me that measuring look).



we immediately proceeded to tam-awan. i enjoyed the tam-awan village. it is to me an attempt to preserve the baguio’s ifugaonon’s culture. i was fascinated to the paintings hung on the wall, so i thought of queuing for a portrait by a resident artist. (this deserves separate posting). then looked for the oh my gulay resto. we proceeded to baguio cathedral, which is now smaller or so it seems.

baguio’s traffic is a big disappointment but burnham park comes second close. i don’t know how people seem to enjoy the park when it’s no longer green and water in the lagoon is so dirty, that may be a health hazard to tourists.

we decided to go to the mansion and mines view park as our last stop, cos rain poured heavily. whilst at mines view, i heard a taho peddler, “strawberry tahoooo”. only a minute after i’ve got two cups of this strawberry taho. i have grown-up having taho as our snack in the morning.

strawberry taho

manong who used to drop to our house for our taho (bean curd with tapioca balls and liquefied raw sugar), suddenly stopped peddling it when he won the mega lotto. strawberry taho was a delight. but i would still choose the original taho over it at any given time. (you see i’m no fan of strawberries ;p).

much as we wanted to take kennon road to see colorado falls, sculptured limestone lion’s head and the pedestrian suspension bridge, we took marcos highway instead. it’s my kuya vinvin’s turn to drive and i’m not confident if he can do the sharp hairpins and the numerous blind curves not to mention the road got very slippery due to rain an hour ago. marcos highway is the longer route yet safer. if there was any consolation though, the view going down la union was spectacular – clouds kissing the pines city and the very green mountainside (away from the already populated city). i saved up from gas when i let the windows down to have a real taste of the scent of the woods – something we manileños are missing.

the long drive (i can’t sleep being the official navigator) gave me enough time to reflect and compare baguio today as it was 12 years ago. i must say i almost didn’t recognize it anymore. a lot, i mean reaaaaally a lot has changed. but i am happy to still see the familiar places and feel the familiar comfort whilst in the city. i just wish it wont get too crowded and thus make it smaller next time i visit it. i still wish to see and smell pines whilst walking in the park. my frustration to traffic congestion was overshadowed though by my admiration to their attempt to save the city – waste segregation. corner to corner you’d see color coded waste bins with proper labels on it. for a city as busy as this, these things help in restoring its beauty. (BF how about something like this in manila?)

save the world

1230ish, we’re back home. back in the city jungle. back in the real world. the entire north philippine trip was supposed to be a very tiring trip, but irony of all ironies, it wasn’t. understanding my heritage…my roots…my country can only bring me so much vigor again in life..once more :-)


4 Responses to “northphil final destination: baguio”

  1. 1 Lisa 18 April, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    hi, i think the everlasting lei looked pretty good with your outfit.

    our acting mayor is running on a platform of cleaning up baguio. but his family does own one of the businesses that is contributing a great deal to the congestion in the center of town. while the baguio universities continue to grow by accepting more and more students from the lowlands, using no other criteria for admission except the ability to pay tuition fees (read: no entrance exams, plus you may enroll/transfer mid-sem) our baguio will get smaller and smaller.

    on the upside, baguio, at the time you visited, was on high season, and saw a great number of visitors. at least folks are coming up to enjoy her again! the traffic congestion was so bad that i had to tour a guest at midnight just so he could “see” the sights. frustrating. but filipinos really don’t like to walk, you see, even in beautiful baguio.


  2. 2 banggigay 19 April, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    hi lisa! thanks for the props! i’ve lurked to ur crib, and it’s soo informative! thanks to peeps like you who still care for her hometown (homecity). i think we are on the same plane in promoting local tourism. cheers to us! :-) you’d know next time i’ve lurked again to ur crib. cos i normally leave footprints :)

  3. 3 Jaq 20 April, 2007 at 2:07 am

    Hi bangge!!!
    Inggit naman ako dito! Believe or not, I’ve never been to baguio..hehehe.

    Well inggit ako in general sa Philippines tour mo… As much as yot want to travel around the world, I am so into traveling the rest of the Philippines first. Feeling ko there is still so much to see and to be proud of..

    Naalala ko tuloy yung Coron escapade natin… di ko na nasundan yun sad to say :(

    Well sana pag uwi ko sa pinas, mkaikot din ako jan.. consult ka namin for the best places to see.. :)


  1. 1 work of art :p « coffee mug Trackback on 21 April, 2007 at 11:53 pm

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