We will spend our Christmas in Baguio City and for our fifth time, we decided to skip visiting places we frequented in the past, except at PMA for some nostalgic feel and at Camp John Hay for coffee moment in the quaint old American bungalow of Starbucks Coffee. Guess where are we heading this time? It’s in Mount Costa! The newest attraction in the foggy land and the first stroll around garden of the North.
In haste to reach Benguet in 5-hour trip only, we left Pasay City around 5:00AM. My hubby and my son were on alternate drive. Thanks to NLEX, SLEX and TPLEX for making our trip fast.
The view of the grassy hill and the start of cool temperature served an appetizer for a fresh meal of amazing scenery ahead of us as we were approaching Baguio City. But as we moved on I was surprised to see that it was now highly urbanized with houses made of modern architecture and with less pine trees. And there was a heavy traffic along the way.
I was used to Baguio City’s provincial appeal way back several years ago and these changes somewhat bothered me. But this should not dampen my mood. We’re here to chill, relax and be invigorated as we will visit again the city’s famous tourist spots.
For our third time in Baguio, I really see to it that we can now step to Strawberry Farm which we never chance to visit because of limited time. We left Manila by 2 pm. We were caught in a traffic jam as we were heading to North Edsa. Whew! We passed by at Sta. Rita, Bulacan for a meryenda. We had a pit stop in Petron Gas Station along Marcos Highway at 9 pm for a coffee break and did some stretching.
When we arrived in Burnham Park, my brother-in law Noel was waiting just across the entrance. He graciously accommodated us in his house in La Trinidad, Benguet. Like our first stay in his house, we immediately felt “at home” as we stepped inside.
We had a dinner while exchanging stories, watched tv and later stayed in the balcony to feel the chilly atmosphere. It was really delightful to savor the evening breeze. Hope we could spend a one-week vacation when we come back. After breakfast and kulitan the next morning, we headed first to Strawberry Farm. Finally! Of course, my sunrise photo was included in our itinerary.
The road going to the farm was well-paved but we were greeted by zig zag trails. It’s good that my hubby was a keen driver so there’s nothing to be afraid of the route. Parking space was so wide but it was dusky. It was flickering hot as we headed to the main farm. We chose to pick strawberry fruits by our bare hands so we paid P300 for two boxes. Every one of us was so excited in this activity. It was so nice seeing strawberry fruits sprawling on the garden.
We also bought cauliflowers which was so affordable (P35) and strawberry wines (P26). There were strawberry ice cream vendors near the entrance but because we were so busy in picture taking we forgot to buy and taste this cold delight.
We headed to SM Baguio for a lunch. The mall was packed by people. Restaurants and food chains were full. We ended eating at Mang Inasal which was outside the mall.
Next stop. Laperal White House. As we went along to our next destination, Noel gave us some creeps. He told us the story behind the Laperal White House at Leonard Wood Road which was noted as haunted house. As what he told us, the house which was refurbished with white paint color was owned by the Laperal family. It was occupied by the Japanese soldiers during World War II. What was so scary was the killing of the family members.
When we stopped in front of the white house, I was expecting that I would feel that hair-raising experience while looking at it intently. But nothing unusual happens. There was a boy busy cleaning the roof. He didn’t care what we were doing in front of the gate. Since visitors are not allowed to go inside, we spent our time taking pictures with funny scary shots.
At The Mansion. We were so lucky because The Mansion is now open for visitors as what President Noy-noy Aquino mandated. Visitors can now take a closer view to it.
Mines View Park. As always, the park was jam-packed by people so we didn’t went to the gazebo anymore. We had a hard time looking for a parking space. We kept on moving until we reached the Good Shepherd Convent. I went to souvenir store to buy display items for my Baguio collection.
Good Shepherd Convent. This store was located at 15 Gibraltar Road, few walks away from the famous Mines View Park. Consumers flocked to buy the delicious pasalubong like ube jam, mango jam, blueberry jams, surprisingly they had pili nut (famous from Bicol). What I love was ube jam (P140) which is not so sweet but delicious. It’s a bit pricey compared to other stores here in Baguio, but I assure you, their products are guaranteed more delicious. Do not go home without buying this yummy pasalubong for your loved ones back home.
Philippine Military Academy. We were so lucky that we were able to watch an actual military drill of the cadets while sitting in a picnic table. Not only that, we also had photos with some of them roaming in the area. Our visit was again completed because of our photos with military tanks and war planes. There were lots of beautiful flowers which I was tempted to pick.
Still full of energy, we ended our day at Burnham Park for biking and strolling around.
This is another wonderful moment for us with the city of pines. Our next day activity is in Barrio Pagudpud in La Union for a refreshing swim.
On our fourth visit, we will indulge ourselves for a thrilling activity at Camp John Hay. Good night Baguio, till we meet again.
Baguio City is still the undisputed Summer Capital of the Philippines because of its cool mountain weather and pines trees. Situated in Northern Luzon, this is a popular destination especially during the stifling season in our country.
There are three main roads in getting there. One is through Kennon Road, the fastest way but dangerous because of landslides during rainy season. The other two are Marcos Highway and Naguillian Highway which are safer though travel time will take a bit longer.
When my sister Ghie came home from work abroad, she enjoined us to visit Noel’s house (her fiance) in La Trinidad, Benguet. Noel was left as he had a late reservation in his flight booking. Everyone was excited of going back to the foggy land and visit Baguio City’s tourist attractions.
We left Manila by 3 pm, my hubby behind the wheels. It was almost ten pm when we reached our destination. Noel’s house was a three-story apartelle. We stayed on the third floor where it has three rooms and two bathrooms. We had a light snack. While everybody was busy I went awhile in the balcony. It was an amazing night to gaze among the stars. I have enough solitude and time to contemplate on many things.
We slept with all the windows closed and no fan at all. We wore jackets, pajamas, socks and to complete our sleeping gears, we also wore bonnets in our heads.hahaha! Good night Benguet!
I woke up early to catch the morning sunrise. With my cam, I headed to the balcony. Farms and pine trees in lowlands were huddling defensively by fogs. When the sun slowly emerges into the horizon, the rays dramatically spilled into the milky white mists. And suddenly the coat of brightness invaded the beautiful view. I blew an air into the wind and there I saw white mist emitted from my mouth. What a childlike delight I was doing anyway.
We prepared for our breakfast. I was fascinated to see the wonderful rays of the sun streaming into the living room. Our little Shen had a photo with it while crawling on the floor.
Our first destination was in Wright Park located just across The Mansion which is still not open for visitors. Beautiful horses were lined up in one corner and souvenir stores in another corner. I was lazy to indulge myself into horse back riding as I already tried it in our first visit here. Instead I bought key-chains while my hubby and Pao tried it again (P250) with a horse owner walking alongside and holding the rope. Choy and Isha tried it also and so with Miko and Rose.
After their activity we went up to the rectangular pool through the concrete stairways. It was good to explore the place again as there were lots of beautiful plants and flowers in the area. After walking around we headed down to eat for our lunch. There are no food-chain stores nor restaurant in the vicinity. What we got was an eatery just outside the park. Food was good and affordable.
Mines View Park located at the northeast side of the city. We were surprised to see souvenir stores that sprouted like mushrooms in the vicinity. There were lots of plants and flowers for sale. There’s no need to go to Baguio City Market for there were varieties of souvenir items to choose from. There were also yummy foods like strawberry fruits, jams and peanut brittle.
The gazebo, which is the most photographed spot was packed by visitors. It’s good to see again the magnificent view of Benguet’s gold and copper mines and the Cordillera mountain. We had the place all by ourselves in our first visit. There was no serene moment to enjoy that day so after few minutes we headed to the Burnham Park.
Choy and family will go back to Manila this afternoon so we have no time to explore more. We stayed the rest of the day in Burnham Park, a well-loved park in the country. This was named after its designer, an American architect Daniel Hudson Burnham. It is located at the center of the city where various activities will surely make visitors enjoy, including the most-loved boat rowing in the Burnham Lagoon.
What we enjoyed most in the afternoon was biking. There were single bikes (for kids and for adults), tandem bikes and bikes with side cars. There were lots of vendors in the park so there’s no need to go far just to fill one’s stomach for a snack. There were taho vendors roaming everywhere.
One whole day isn’t enough to explore all Baguio’s beautiful tourist attractions. Quite bitin. We packed up the next morning then said good-bye to the farmland below, wishing to go back again in the future. We headed to Baguio City Market and bought pasalubong. To complete our Baguio getaway, we took the Kennon Road for a photo shoot in Lion’s Head. It’s like going to Albay with picture perfect of Mayon Volcano or the Twin Towers in Malaysia. Hoping we could go to Strawberry Farm for our next visit.