Cool it up Baguio!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bell Amphitheatre 
I would like to start a travel blog on one of my favorite places, a year will not pass by that I wouldn’t go here, even my parents’ old pictures says a lot about how close my heart is with this place… Baguio.

Yeah, a lot has enough blogs about this place, but who wouldn’t? Baguio is a nice place and its very close to my heart. When my mom died the first place me and my dad went to is Baguio.

Why do I always come back? Well its because of the weather, the thing of waking up in the morning with a nice somewhat air-conditiony type of weather brings smile on my face. I don’t like heat so I prefer cool places. I can’t go to Japan, Korea, US or any place that has winter, so this is the most accessible. I remember my friend’s cousin laugh about me, when I woke up and thinking out loud on how I love the coolness of the place, he thinks I’m weird actually.

Well, how many times have I’ve been to Baguio? Actually, I can’t count anymore. But every time I went there is a different experience, like this one time, I ask a friend of mine if she has been to Mines View Park, where you can see the trees, several houses and clouds on top of the mountain. She answered “Yes”, of course she lives there, but I’m a weird person so there’s a follow up, but have you tried going there at night? Well of course she says no, what will you do there if its dark? Personally I just want to see it without people in it, and its really dark :D I’m just crazy. So what I did is repeat that moment with her. There’s a problem though, there’s a storm, signal no. 2 if I may say and its raining heavily. But who could stop a person like me? Hahaha! So its already 5pm and the sky is close to darkness and we head to the park, put our jackets on (3 layers! First time I wear in Baguio) umbrella in my hand and just went there. Well there are no people, no vendors or whatsoever, just like how I wanted it. We went to the edge and voila! You can’t see anything except for clouds, fog and rain, every now and then we can see a glimpse of trees and houses but most of the time, none. But I loved it, my purpose has been served :D

Mines View Park during the storm
Since I’ve been to Baguio too many times, what do I do there? Where do I go? Of course, I revisit every tourist spot and mind you! Take a picture of it as well, lately I’m discovering new places because I have a friend who live there. Aside from Burnham, Mines View, Camp John Hay there are Lourdes Grotto, BenCab Museum, Tam-Awan Village, Chinese Bell Tower, Crystal Cave (still haven’t been here), Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, SM Baguio (don’t tell me you will not go here!) and PMA. I’ve discovered a new place, I’ve been to Camp John Hay too many times but I didn’t went to Bell House, well I thought its off limits all this time so I wouldn’t dare hehehe. There, me and my friend talk for hours with a cool breeze of the wind under the pine trees, it’s a nice feeling that we forgot to eat lunch.

Speaking of food, Baguio is like Singapore, not how the way they cook food but a variety of cheap and delicious food. Unlike Manila, there are times you can go to a resto and regret that you went there. In Baguio, pretty much all of the places I’ve been to is worth my taste buds. I have a favorite place that I will not miss going there when I’m in Baguio and the place is called Good Taste. Yes this is very popular, it has this reputation of good food, large servings and affordable price. The best seller? Good Taste Fried Rice, this includes Fried rice, egg sunny side up, veggies, roasted chicken, asado pork and few lechon kawali for only P115! What a treat! :D There’s a lot of signature restos in Baguio, just explore, the latest I’ve been to is Café Yagam, it’s the road leading up to Hotel Elizabeth just a few yards from it in Gibraltar Rd. The ambiance of the place feels homey and there is a fireplace that they use every night, there are books and their Lemongrass Iced Tea is a revelation to me, its so refreshing! Their menu is a traditional cordillera food with fusion from other regions, its like eating and discovering their roots at the same time. I also had an experience in most artistic place, the place is art itself, its along Assumption Rd and its called Balbacua, I know its not cordilleran food and its from Mindanao but the idea of Baguio being open to different kinds of cuisine from different parts of the Philippines opened my eyes that the people here appreciate traditional cuisine.

Where do I stay? Now when I go there, I stay at my friends house, they are like a family to me, and the one I will miss most when I stay there is the Pinikpikan with Etag and the taste of it is heavenly. Its like you tasted art! No kidding! Not to brag but I’ve been to a lot of best high end restos in Manila but this! This is one of the best I’ve tasted! Just making it is an art from the chicken to etag and a simple tinola like cooking is the best. I can even taste the smokey flavor of both meat and the deliciousness of the soup base, it takes me back to I don’t know when! So I have that privilege that I don’t go to hotels after that hahaha! But here are some of the place I’m staying before, Dely’s Inn is no. 1 for me besides the location, beside Burnham and at the back of Good Taste who wouldn’t like that. Its cheap too P1500 for 2 persons and what I like is the strong water pressure when I take a bath, it’s a plus for me. Another one is DL Divine Inn its also below P1500 and walking distance from SM Baguio and Session Road. Those are affordable places that I stayed before, I’m not going to mention the 3k and above because there are lots of it in Baguio.

Pinikpikan with Etag
One thing I was curious when I was there or when I’m looking at blogs is Session Road. I travel by car all the time when I go up, that I don’t walk when I’m in Session, usually I’ll just pass it by. Lately, my friend made me stroll around Session that I’m finding new places to eat and malls other than SM to go to. There is a place called Porta Vaga, where cheap items were being sold, a lot of restos too at the ground floor, even the buildings in front of that mall has restos from vegetarian (Azotea Greens) to pizza lovers (Volante). The one that catches my attention is The Tea House! I love their cakes that is placed in a microwavable container, not in a box so its not messy to eat, and the taste is very good and its cheap too. I like how creative they are, that’s why they pop to the masses.

People of Baguio are open minded, cultured and they want to preserve it as long as it takes. Even my friend is an advocate of cultural preservation, that all of us should follow, so we will not forget where we came from. In this world of fast paced economic growth, I think sometimes we should take time to slow down and take in as much culture as we can. Yes, Igorot is a very unique word for a local of Baguio and Cordillera Region, it means people from the mountains, but this place within the mountains will teach you a lot about nature and culture, and you will love it as much as the cool weather.

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