How to Do Baguio in 10 Hours

Hello, hello!!!

What are you up to this year?  Me? Not much at the moment and I am liking the quietude. I wonder if this is what aging does.

I went up to Baguio on a whim (IKR,super late post haha) with work friends.

I got my paycheck on a Thursday and they were all talking about de-stressing and wanting a change of scenery.

I decided I'd go too. There's a midnight express bus on Friday, ETA at the Victory Liner terminal at around four-ish.  A.M.  At the crack of egg, er, dawn.  Chilled, damp-ish Baguio greeted us sleepyheads.  Of course we have no place to stay.  We are big on spontaneity haha.

There are people offering cabs to pensionnes, inns and the like at the terminal but we were all traveling light and there's a whole bunch of places to hit.  I was relying on my travel buddies since I thought they made plans and arrangements and it turns out some haven't ever been, others want to Waze it or trust the cabbies to take us where Google maps and blogs tells us to.  Turns out I remember more than I thought and became the "tour" guide.  I haven't stepped foot in Baguio in 8 years!

So there we were at the terminal, deciding on where to go.  I suggested Burnham Park so we can make like homeless people or pose as early joggers haha. Seriously there's a market and carinderia (eateries) row by the park.

When we got there, I remembered a restaurant that serves good food and hefty servings but wasn't sure where it was. It was still very dark so it's hard to figure out which building it was in.  I started walking up a street, the rest following, and round a corner I saw my guiding star - a blinking lighted coffee cup! That was the beacon for Good Taste, the restaurant I was looking for.  I unerringly found a branch.

We were all hungry and there's the usual "silog" - sinangag or garlic fried rice, itlog or eggs and either tapa (beef jerky), tocino (sweet pork), hotdogs, corned beef combos but I wanted to wait for the 5am service when the kitchen fully opens and dishes out real, hot meals!

I told the others I did not go up to Baguio for silog!

We all washed up at the restroom (brrrr) while waiting.  I was happy Good Taste stayed true, after all these years.  I got the lechon liempo with the generous veggie side dish! The others got fried chicken, pork belly and broccoli, pancit (noodles) and we all stuffed ourselves.

Hey, no room booked anyway, plus stormy weather coming so we decided to make the most of it.

When it got light we walked back to Burnham Park to oggle and ape a Zumba class, take selfies (I stalked the flowers) and knock ourselves out rowing the lagoon boats in place! Yep.  Definitely not dragonboat material!

Then we took a cab to the Tam-a-wan Cultural Village to see totems, an art gallery/curio/cafe with a painted stone gecko, sun bleached animal skulls on poles, slippery, clay and stone stairs set on the mountain sides, several leading to dead ends and a forest of trees and shrubs, wooden huts and resting benches with corrugated roof views, skies and faraway mountains.

After Tam-a-wan we went to Camp John Hay to check out the Manor (I wanted to have coffee and cake but breakfast service is still on)  so photo opp time!

We walked (really long) to the outlet store row, and on to find Tsokolate Batirol (a must-do, for the thick hot tablea chocolate) and bibingka brunch.
We did all the touristy things: pictures and selfies with The Mansion and its lawns as backdrop; ate strawberry taho; bought pasalubong strawberry and ube jam at Good Shepherd; bought huge, sweet bunches of Banawe vineyard grapes; lingered and rested at the Botanical Gardens last before going to the market to buy walis or broom (it's a mom thing, there are 4 in my group), buy Romana's peanut brittle, chocolate covered cornflakes, broccoli, salad greens and everything else.

We didn't do La Presa (location shoot site for Forevermore, the Pinoy TV romcom series of old) or Mines View Park (nothing new except the growing roof line crowding out the pine trees, or pick strawberries or eat at the newest (at least to the group) trendiest eating places (traveling on a budget). 
Commute and all, it was a ten hour whirl of hopping on and off cabs, walking, sightseeing, eating in between (lunch was bulalo or bone marrow soup at a sizzling place). Please note: not exactly peak season but way close to it. 

The group decided we got what we came for and Monday work looms so Sunday rest back in Manila is the ticket to equilibrium. My legs hurt (these cold bones) too.  
By the time we got settled on the bus ride home at 4pm Saturday, I felt nauseous and head achey, a bad combo for the winding ride down Kennon Road.

Did I tell you I have a sinus problem?  My ears hurt bad.  The bus was racing down the mountain to get ahead of the storm brewing.

By the time the bus made it out of Kennon Road, the rain was lashing and drowning out the memory of pine scented air, the riot of blooms, every shade of green, and blue skies. It was quite an adventure!  Next time I'll go glam.  Maybe.

 And I'll have coffee. Definitely.
P.s.: I am still trying to get the hang of the new blogger theme.  Bear with me.  Have a cuppa.  Thanks again for reading!


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