Monday, April 6

Our Baguio Travelogue (Day 2)

The set alarm of 5:30am turned out to be 7:30 (as expected!) I never had a sound sleep though because my legs were aching that I need to keep my feet up on the wall the whole night. I also asked Gil to turn the aircon off for I was already chilling. Nevertheless, I was still the first one to get up (he’s still snoring out loud! haha!) I woke him up and asked him to ask for a pitcher of cold water and hot water refill. Water came in just a few minutes while I was still in the shower, in time for coffee and cup noodles preparation when I came out. After his shower, we had a simple breakfast of Gil’s yakisoba and my jjamppong, together with hot instant coffees. Few minute more before 9am and off we were on the street.

Since we turned left last night from the hotel (and knew already what’s in there), we turned right this time and headed for the direction the hotel staff have said when Gil inquired. We we’re surprised to know that few blocks away from the hotel is Baguio City Hall. And that in front of the city hall is the Rizal Park and then the Burnham Park (small world!) We’re so glad we ended up in a hotel accessible to everything in Baguio! In front of the city hall is the jeep going to our first destination today: the LA TRINIDAD STRAWBERRY FARM.
Equipped with our map, we thought that the La Trinidad Strawberry Farm was a bit farther than the PMA (thus we preferred jeep over taxi) but we just paid the minimum fare of P7.50 each. We were dropped by the highway thus we just followed the signboards. It was our first time there and it was not exactly what I’m expecting, though I was amazed to see how the strawberry farm looked like. Together with the strawberries were lettuces. The plan was we would pick strawberries. But since it was a bit hot already (we believe we got our sunburn here!), we decided to just take pictures and try the strawberry ice cream instead (Yum! Yum! You’ll have to chew tidbits of strawberries on it!) We’ll have fresh strawberries from the market tomorrow since we have lots of places to visit still today. It’s hot though…. but we did able to return to the highway where we ride another jeep going this time to BELL CHURCH.
The location of the Bell Church or Chinese/Taoist Temple is not that easily visible (not until you asked the driver to drop you there!). It is located at the border between Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet and not usually included in a typical Baguio itinerary. That’s why, though I’ve beenhere for the nth time, itwas indeed my first time (and Gil of course!). From the highway, you would not think a heaven-like compound was lying beyond the hallway. The walls were written with Chinese characters and as you climb upstairs, you would be surprised to see the intricately designed arches, pagoda roofed temples, bells, dragons, lotus and fishponds along with several gods as Buddha and artifacts of the Taoist faith artistically set all over the hill. It was our personal decision not to enter the main temple anymore to give due respect to the church’ believers. It was indeed one of the best tourist spots in Baguio I’ve ever been to (and Gil too!) thus we never wasted a single minute taking pictures of every angle of the place! It was really a beautiful and colorful experience being here!

We were supposed to visit next Tam-Awan Village but since we haven’t had
enough research about it (and that no one along the vicinity knows how to get there), we decided to return back to the city proper for lunch. We commute again and were dropped in front of Baguio City Hall. Since we were there already, why not have a stopover at the place? So, we crossed the street and took pictures of the hall situated up the hill. It was somewhat similar to Manila City Hall with the big clock on top, only cleaner and fresher in the eyes.

We were thinking of having our favorite KFC chicken at SM (again) but along the way, we saw already a KFC chain. We remembered being in this place last night (when we we’re looking for SM). Meaning, we’re actually at Session Road last night, the end point of which is SM City. (Glad we’d familiarized the place already!). We had the KFC Session Road instead and indulged with our favorite ‘finger licking good’ Chicken and a sip of Strawberry Fritz. (What I actually love about KFC is their Sweet-Chili sauce, which is beginning to be unavailable in most branches. Hope not it to be faced out eventually).

On our way to the hotel, we thought of making vegetable salad but upon reaching the Baguio Market, we decided to have fresh fruits as strawberries and ripe mangoes instead.

The first half of the day was indeed fun and exhausting, thus we’re given the chance to take a nap after a feast with the fruits we bought. Since it rained hard that afternoon, we were able to continue the tour at around 5pm.

The taxi driver acted like a tourist guide on our way to The Mansion and Wright Park. We passed by the Teachers’ Camp, which is the usual lodging place of our seminars, and conventions way back high school. When we came to the place, we’re amazed with another strawberry product- the Strawberry Taho (It’s nice the Baguio people were able to maximize the use of their product) that is definitely a must-taste delicacy!
It was both our first time in The Mansion and Wright Park (and Camp John Hay later). The Mansion House-as we all know is the official summer residence of the President of the Philippines from Manuel L. Quezon to present and said to be an exact replica of the one found in Buckingham Palace in London.

Right in front of The Mansion is the ‘Pool of Pines’ or Wright Park named after Governor Luke E. Wright of Philadelphia. It was a beautifully man-made elongated shallow pool surrounded by flowers and trees. Upon reaching the end-point is the big gazebo (made-up of big trunks of trees), where we’ve had an amazing pictorials (lol!) From there is a walkway leading to a wide stairway made up of stones descending to the riding circle where ponies are kept. The colorful ones were soOo cute! We didn’t able to rent out one for we’re running out of time (few minutes before 6pm) and we still have Camp John Hay on our list today. (We we’re so going here again for that matter in particular!) lol.

We were dropped by the Mile Hi Center at Camp John Hay where cozy restaurants, CJH duty-free commissary and branded outlets are in store. We headed left passing along Camp Manor Hotel- one of the cozy hotels in Baguio. It’s cold indeed, it’s past 6:00pm and we’re beginning to feel dizzy for we haven’t seen any taxi or any means of transpo within the vicinity plus we rarely saw people strolling around. We managed to walk our way up and found the Statue of Liberty in a mini park, which is according to research is an exact replica of the original one found in Point De Grenelle Bridge, Seine River in France. Digicam’s battery warns low, it’s beginning to get dark and we totally don’t know where we’re heading. You know what? We ended up walking on the two-kilometer eco-trail, cold and afraid. The place is definitely nice and relaxing, but since it’s quite dark and we’re already in doubt whether we could find a taxi on our way out, we hardly appreciate the beauty of the place anymore.
We ended up in a row of restaurants and hardly saw Shalan ni Kabadjo horse back riding a stone’s throw away. There were still few people around the area but only private vehicles were there. We we’re waiting for few minutes already outside Starbucks when three people coming from the inside walked towards the left direction and so we followed. It’s been minutes of walking, and upon passing at Cap John Hay Trade and Cultural Center, a taxi came out but only to cater to the three people in front of us. It’s been a while before another taxi came. We were so much relieved! The experience of being lost at Camp John Hay that gloomy night and walking with no direction at all would definitely be one of the unforgettable experiences of this trip.

In order to fix things for tomorrows’ departure, we secured bus tickets ahead of time thus we went straight to Victory Liner Terminal. We were surprised to see piles of passengers again and were really thankful we thought of booking in advance. We were scheduled tomorrow, April 6 at 1:10pm.

Next stop is the Baguio Cathedral but since we’re stuck to a heavy traffic, we just walked and realized you can actually whirl though the whole city proper by mere walking alone. I was just in time for the homily (Gil waited for me outside). It was Palm Sunday then, I bought ‘palaspas’ and able to have it blessed after the mass.

Since tonight is gonna be our last night here, we thought of having a romantic dinner but since our legs were beginning to cramp again (imagine where we’ve been through today!), we decided to just take out Chicken Lauriat for me and Fish Fillet Lauriat for Gil from Chowking. He also bought a box of Pepperoni and Mushroom pizza from Yellow Cab. The romantic dinner turned out to be gluttony one! PIG OUT!! (lol)

I was so sleepy after that meal I couldn’t fix the mess anymore. Gil was with the tub preparing. I was so cold I knew I would never have a good sleep if I didn’t have a hot bath tonight. The hot water really helped! We actually slept over the tub without us knowing. And so we’re off to a very sound sleep. ZZzzzz…

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