BAGUIO CITY IN 24 HRS

by - 2:27 AM

Records dating back 18 January 1961 as revealed by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) reported that Baguio City's coldest temperature ever recorded was at 6.3 degrees.  More than fifty years after, on the 19th of January of the year 2014, Baguio City's temperature dropped to 8.1 degrees Celsius, nearly breaking the records set.  

On that not so ordinary winter weekend, our restless feet were taken aback upon disembarking from the bus, as the night chills and gustiness of the wind began to be felt and numbness of my face and exposed body parts surfaced.

This is just an overnight stay.  Twenty four hours to be exact.  And what to do here?  No itineraries of course, just the company of good travel buddies Melo and Gay and as they say follow your heart (though your heart is aching).


It was past midnight when we arrived at Baguio City, which means the 24-hour journey on the road may not be attained. And we have nowhere to stay on this freezing weather.  But with well-traveled companions, I am confident we will be fine and adhering to a local bank's slogan, we'll surely find ways.  



Though we have a hotel in mind from where to stay which is situated at the Session road, we were just greeted by a signboard which proclaims "Fully-booked" at the doorstep of the said hotel.

Thus, with the hospitality and patience of a certain taxi driver we tried to drop-by other hotels nearby but the same fate presented.  And finally, we were taken to Magsaysay Avenue, where we finally decided this shall be our transient abode for the shortest number of hours a traveler can have. Quickie lang! haha!



 Where We Stayed

The Hotel Supreme is neither bad nor the best choice, so-so as they say, yet I care less for amenities at that time, so every hotel is a good choice for me. All we want is to be comforted and protected from the freezing weather and to do away with frost bites and the like. (click here for booking)

Note to all:  Do not be surprised if the cab driver will not leave you until you have checked-in at a hotel. They do get commissions for referrals and it's a good way for us visitors to give them extra income, thus, temper and annoyance should be kept in your system.  Indeed, a smart way of giving them additional sources of livelihood in the midst of promoting the hospitality industry.

We were checked-in at the deepest floor of the hotel.  I call it the dungeon. But who cares, it still serves the purpose and with the basic amenities and facilities of the room with the exception of wireless internet, I was already contented.  No one can get wrong with the basics.  Of course air-condition is out of the picture.

With a relatively low price for an overnight stay, the complementary breakfast was a surprise for me.  And we all loved how the egg was prepared.  

Surprisingly, the dining area was full of guests for the first meal of the day.  We only had two (2) hours of sleep and thanks to Melo for being the walking alarm clock.  Otherwise, we would have stayed all day in bed surrendering to the exhaustion and all plans would be gone with the chilly wind of the city.


Hours before the breakfast, we were just sitting, conversing and observing the crowd of one of the known cafes of the Session Road as we treat ourselves to a beer and pizza.

Where to Chill Out



Once we checked-in at Hotel Supreme past midnight, we decided to have our late dinner/midnight snacks at the Zola Resto Cafe situated at the main thoroughfare of the city, the Session Road.

I was indeed so fortunate to have traveled with two of the most respected travel bloggers in the country and even around the world, our conversations were nowhere dull and no holds barred at that despite the freezing weather and self-inflicted denial of the right to sleep.

A bottle of beer was our common companion during the wee hours of this literally chilling morning. Indeed, time was the least of our concern that our weary selves only decided to make a nap at around four in the morning.



A Cup of Chocolate Drink in the Morning



The morning mists of Baguio complemented by the clear blue skies with aligned pine trees along the way, has automatically rejuvenated our physically exhausted and sleep-deficient restless bodies.

After our hotel breakfast, off we journeyed towards Camp John Hay, one of the major tourism and recreation destinations of the City, specifically at the Igorot Park.  And we're here to sip a hot chocolate drink at the famed Chocolate De Batirol.





I am not a coffee drinker.  Hence, a sip of a hot chocolate drink complemented by Suman sa Lihia is enough to awaken my senses and shatter my wandering self in the dreamland.


Suman sa Lihia
Dining with the surrounding pine trees and the cool weather that blankets the horizon is indeed a perfect treat, more so, if you are in the company of awesome travel buddies with a never ending sharing stories of all sorts over a hot chocolate drink.

This is the true definition of relaxation.

The frequency of visitors is certainly high as the ambiance truly makes the visitors feel what it is to be in Baguio City.  





A haunted house is next in line.  As there are stories behind the mists and mysteries that hovers on the City of Pines.  Baguio City is not only a place for food lovers, honeymooners, and curious travelers but for thrill seekers and ghost hunters as well. Thus, the Laperal White House was accidentally visited.

Then, off we went to the main thoroughfare of the city, the Session Road.




Sundays in the Philippines is equated to family day.  And family day would always include hearing mass, as part of the Filipino culture.



The distinctive pink facade of the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral known as the Baguio Cathedral sits on top of a hill and is clearly noticeable for every passer-by of the city.

The church likewise serves as one of the tourist attractions of the city and has its own share in the rich Philippine history.


























As I enter the church and say a little prayer to give thanks for the day that was given, I cannot help but notice the number of devotees that attended the said mass.  Each one has its story to tell and of varied agendas for being at the church.

Though we weren't able to complete the mass as we were in the City of Pines for a limited number of hours, I am still grateful for the opportunity of being able to come back to the said church a decade after.  The last time I visited the church was to seek guidance for my CPA Board Exams and indeed it was given to me as a blessing.  Thus, I asked my travel buddies that a visit to the church be part of the "unplanned" itinerary.

The clock then ticked at noon.  It was time to check-out at our hotel and after a few minutes, continue to discover the outskirts of the city.  As if we're competing with time and participants of an Amazing Race show, we tried to visit whatever destination is possible.

Then I find myself and my buddies served with lunch at Tam-Awan Village. 

Exquisite Cordilleran craftsmanship and indigenous aesthetics along with varied traditional Kalinga houses are on display in this so-called garden in the sky.

An Ifugao with full-dress costume ready to be part of every visitors photo album greets visitors at the ticketing booth.


Souvenir items are also in store with interesting finds of tribal and ethnic inspired.  My mandatory purchase of ref magnets were brought here only to find out after the next destination that the same was lost.

Pinay Travel Junkie scrutinizing the souvenir items
The huts in Tam-awan Village are named after their origin.  Due to proximity of where we had our lunch, I was able to discover the Luccong hut, one of the traditional houses of the province.


The Cafe and Crafts Shop of Tam-Awan Village does not only serve as a dining area but a gallery of world-class paintings and mind-boggling art installations.  Culture and aesthetics combined.  I was particularly amused at the "red horse beer" painting displayed at the back of my seat, but photos are not allowed, thus, no photo to share.


the menu itself indeed makes a statement
What's for lunch?




To be able to testify that it is indeed a garden in the sky, I had a few minutes mandatory wandering of the village and I reckon entertaining the idea of an overnight stay at Tam-Awan Village.  It would have been good but work commitments sans my tolerance for low temperature will compromise my future travels.






After the sumptuous lunch, we were then headed to my much-awaited Strawberry Fields.  En route to the fields, I sneaked for a nap to be able to regain my strength for a more thorough discovery of the city.

Gaining pounds  must have been the theme of this so-called excursion. The next scenes will definitely be mouth-watering and appetite booster amidst the abrupt diminution of temperature.



Then, we find ourselves at the Burnham Park, an urban park situated right at the center of Baguio City. But our quest is not a walk in the park but a quest for food-tasting instead.



As relayed by a cab driver, the original puto bumbong of Solibao is situated at the Burnham Park.  Thus, the mandatory visit to define authenticity.




Puto bumbong is known to sprout in the Philippines only during Christimas time.   But here in Baguio City, The Solibao Restaurant offers the said rice cake in each and every day that is available in the year.

While dining at the said restaurant, a vast field was on sight where energetic and athletic locals display their strength of various sports. Nearing the dusk, I was literally chilling that I wanted body movements.

Thus, after having been fed by a well-prepared puto bumbong and pancit bihon, of reasonable size and price, we then ventured into a vegetarian state, thus, we were lead to Oh My Gulay.

We then went back to the Session Road at the last floor of the La Azotea Green Building, and there we find ourselves situated at a restaurant providing a panoramic landscape of the city.


 


My mind is willing to take all the menus provided just for a try, but my physical being tells me that I do have limitations. Gluttony has its cost.  Thus, I only ordered the banana and peanut crepe and it was all worth it.

As the last pit stop of this Baguio league, the view of the mountains of Banaue and the busy streets on a birds eye view is indeed a worthy experience.




Souvenirs at the Public Market




The Baguio Public Market is the best place for purchase of gifts to loved ones,.  They do have all goods that you may want to brag about that you were in Baguio City.  Whether we like it or not, most travelers believe that every vacation indeed entails a pasalubong for our loved ones, thus, the public market is the answer.



Baguio in 24 hours?  Yes, It is attainable.  With a good company  of travel buddies albeit sleep deprived and exhausted selves,  major discovery of the City of Baguio is possible.

Irrespective of the temperature, it is the experience that matters and the memories that we create from the travels we had that shall forever be imprinted in our so-called travel life.

Coincidentally, we were at Baguio City when PAG-ASA recorded the lowest temperature of the city after fifty years but nowhere is the thought to deter discovery of the city entertained.


To Gay and Melo, thank you so much.  More adventures to come.

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3 comments

  1. I'll visit this Friday with my grandparents. Sarap mag-foodtrip sa Baguio :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you from baguio? You're so lucky. Such a nice city. sarap nga magpataba dun haha

      Delete
  2. Hello Mr. Ester, ask ko lng po ano cam gamit nyo? ganda po kc ang picture and blog nyo. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete