No, it’s not your normal ‘drinking’ and ‘teen-getting-wasted partying” nor a “sessionista” and “live music festival” type of “chill out party.” It’s just plain relaxing in Baguio City.
We were in the Summer Capital of the Philippines to attend our friend’s wedding. It was set on Saturday, April 5, 2014 but we arrived in Baguio a day earlier. Michelle (or Mik, as we fondly call her) and I set forth from Victory Liner’s terminal in Cubao at exactly 2pm. After successfully meeting the couturier for one of the entourage’s gown; we travelled to Baguio and arrived at around 10pm. The ride was okay as we were, most of the time, half asleep.
We met up with the bride Liezle, her groom Chris and our other friends; grabbed a late night dinner at Kalapaw Restaurant. Kalapaw is situated in the heart of Baguio City, near Victory Terminal. Try their Boodle Fight Dining; but do not miss on ordering a sinigang (whether it is the sinigang na baboy or shrimp or miso) for its soup. You’d likely get extra pounds for eating too much rice with that soup.
Boodle Fight Dining - yum!
Kalapaw Restaurant || #117 Martinez St. Engineer’s Hill Baguio City
The night ended with a sounding sleep at a nearby transient house in Engineer’s Hill. We paid 200 pesos a night since the bride’s mother knew the owner of the transient house. We would decide to transfer to a different transient house later as there were cockroaches everywhere and if you knew me personally, you would know how I detest these crawling insects.
Day 1: The Baguio Exploration
It started with a city tour. We went to Burnham Park; enjoyed the boat ride,the view and the weather. It was a quarter past 10 am and it felt like it was still 8 o’clock. The sun was shining mightily but it wasn't as humid as the 10 am weather in Manila. I can live here, honest!
Jumpshot at the park? why not!
Breakfast was at Café by the Ruins where we met up with some other friends – Kat and JV. I read on the net that this restaurant is a must-visit if one is to go to Baguio. I guess it was okay; it felt like people dine in there so they could go and check in to foursquare or facebook – “Breakfast at Café by the Ruins.” Nothing too spectacular about the food, I guess the price was just right for the food quality. I ordered Shrimp and Mango Curry for the main course and Pavlova for desert. I enjoyed it and also liked how they play with the presentation.
Shrimp and Mango Curry
Café by the Ruins || 25 Shuntug Rd, Baguio 2600
A Baguio trip will also not be complete without a trip to Mine’s View and the nearby Good Shepherd store for the Ube Jam pasalubong. Mine’s View was a bit jam-packed so it was really hard to pose and take a good picture without accidentally photo-bombing another tourist's photo and vice versa. It was a quick visit; it wasn't that surreal as it’s supposed to be, again too many people.
Mines View Park
Good Shepherd was a different story. I love it in there. Peaceful and quiet. We Stayed by the gazebo and savored a cup of the most expensive coffee in the world, the Kopi Luwak or Civet Coffee. Why the most expensive? You wouldn't believe how it was processed.
We ended day one at the venue of the wedding for a rehearsal, or so we thought. Philippine Military Academy was a 20-minute taxi ride from the town proper but you wouldn't notice the time because the view going there was amazing. Pine trees lined up the highway, the road curves right through the mountain side and the air was the freshest.
Rehearsal wasn't really a rehearsal, more of a visit to the wedding venue. We did a side trip photo shoot at the Korean War Memorial exhibit.
Day 2: The Wedding
We were the late bridesmaids! For those who didn’t experience the BTS (behind the scenes) of the wedding, they would think it was surreal. BTS was not – it was stressful. And yes, we were still the late bridesmaids. Too funny to recollect all the mishaps on the day of the wedding, perhaps I could try and enumerate:
1) Day started without us knowing what the call time is at the hotel for make-up. Bride texted me that the hotel room is only booked until 12 nn at around 9 am. But Liz we haven’t had our breakfast yet?!
2) And so we ate breakfast at Everything Nice at Camp John Hay. We were supposed to drop our bags to our new transient house and go straight to the hotel, which is in the other side of Baguio. What is supposed to be a quick detour ended up as an hour wasted. We had to wait for Kat for the shoes.
3) By the time we got to finally check in at the new transient house, Liz the bride told us that the makeup artist will just meet us up at a hall near the wedding venue (Lopez Hall). We waited for Kat to text us if they are already at the venue but we never got the text. Huh? I had to call her.
4) Wedding coordinator, Art, asked if they can wait for the bridesmaids – who are currently in the Lopez Hall getting dressed – just for 5 minutes. Mother of the bride said, “No, they can catch up.”
We had our makeup done in 10 minutes, got dressed in jiffy and almost missed the ride up to the venue. To sum it all up, we weren't able to walk the aisle. Hilarious! But the wedding was astounding, dreamlike and I was chocking with emotions. I love when the groom cries at his wedding – it’s a proof that love is an overwhelming feeling.
Breakfast at Everything Nice, Camp John Hay
The late Bridesmaids
With the newly wed couple
I managed to play a little at the Reception (Hall of Leaders)
This was my Strawberry Farm day! It was long taxi ride and traffic was a bit heavy going to the farm. I brought a jacket as I thought it would be cold; I was wrong. Strawberry picking? No thanks. We were smart enough to just pose for photos inside and buy strawberries outside. It’s thrifty that way. A kilo costs 100 pesos outside; inside it costs 300 pesos.
Strawberry Farm || La Trinidad, Benguet
Another unexpected detour was the trip to Tam-Awan Village. I am a lover of art and I enjoyed this side trip.
Pabs loves this native costume LOL
Tam-Awan Village || Pinsao Proper, Baguio City
Since it was Sunday and it was our last night in Baguio, we had to do our Sunday obligation to the Lord and visited Baguio Cathedral.
Day 4: Back to Reality
We opted to travel back to Manila on Monday afternoon. It’s less chaotic in the bus terminal comparing to a Sunday trip. Another place conquered and added to my “traveled to list” and I would definitely go back to unwind and get away from Manila’s buzz. Cab drivers are also a plus in Baguio. Nothing like the conniving drivers of Manila. They are honest and very friendly.
My thoughts go back a year ago when I was in Sydney – it felt like I was in Australia again. I would definitely consider living in Baguio. The weather was just perfect.
Anyone wants to chill out in Baguio? Count me in please.
*** All photos posted at my facebook account (here)