(Baguio City, Travelled on April 27, 2015)
My first time in Baguio City was in 2005 when I was a third year high school student. I was lucky enough to be one of our school’s delegates to the YMCA National Leadership Training. We were a group of 10 to 15 junior and senior students. I remember being so excited about this trip. Not only because it is THE Summer Capital of the Philippines, but also because it was my first 12-hour road trip up north! Yay!
I had only two expectations back then: cold weather and strawberries. And Baguio did not disappoint me with these two. But the congestion and “overdevelopment” of the city surprised me a bit. I have vague memories of the places that we visited; so after 10 years, I had the bright idea to rediscover the wonders of this city!
After our Mt. Pulag adventure, I decided to maximize my trip by staying in Baguio for one more day. Too bad for my friends, they had work the next day so they were not able to join me.
After the descent from Mt. Pulag in the morning, we arrived in Baguio City at around 4:00 pm after a bumpy-yet-sleep-inducing ride. Please take note that we haven’t had any decent meal since yesterday – except canned tuna, crackers and cookies – so we were really excited to have some yummy and satisfying food! We had our dinner at Cafe by the Ruins which is just walking distance from the drop-off point at Caltex-Victory Liner terminal.
We were not able to take Instagram-worthy food pics because we were starving already! But the food was really good and the ambience of the place was very cozy and relaxing. There was even a live violin performance that set the mood. Perfect for you to enjoy the food and the conversation you are having with your friends.
Six pm and it was time for my friends to head back to Manila. As for me, time for another “loner adventure”! A week before, I already booked a transient place via AirBnB. It was my first time using this website and I will definitely use it again. You can find lots of cheap accommodations! I booked “Noel’s First floor transient house” for only Php 535.00. I took a taxi (cost me around 100 bucks) to bring me to the place. On the way there, Noel was constantly messaging me to ensure that the driver will find the place. The new and clean room was like a paradise for me after a night of sleeping in a tent. I can say that this place gives you a lot of value for your money!
Next Day – First Stop: Choco-laté de Batirol
Gooood morning, Baguio! Wow, it was so refreshing to wake up with the cold breeze gently brushing your face.
I did some Googling to get some ideas where to best eat in Baguio. Among the top and most recommended restaurants is Choco-laté de Batirol, which is famous for their traditional hot cacao drink. Since I was planning to have a big and hearty breakfast to energize me for the day, this was the perfect place for me!
I did not have a hard time finding the place because the taxi driver knew where it is. From Noel’s transient house, it cost me around 100 bucks.
Second Stop: Tam-awan Village
Since I did not want to go back to the transient house after touring around, I decided to bring all my stuff with me. I was dragging my tent (fresh from Mt. Pulag) and my slightly bulky back pack with me. My bright idea was to leave these at the package counter of SM City Baguio (yes, that’s a tip for you. Hehe) before heading on to my day’s itinerary.
From Choco-laté de Batirol, which is located inside Camp John Hay, I took a jeepney to get to SM. After dropping off my luggage, I get on a jeepney again to bring me to the palengke. Upon arriving in the market, I asked for directions twice before finally locating the jeepney terminal to Tam-awan. Fare is Php 8.50 only.
For an entrance fee of only Php 50.00, Tam-awan Village is truly a haven for art lovers. It also allows you to get a glimpse of the culture and heritage of Kalinga and Ifugao.
Third Stop: Back to Burnham
Burnham Park is like a synonym for Baguio. It is probably the most popular and most visited tourist spot in the city. I was not able to really walk around the park back in 2005, so this time, I made sure that I will not miss the chance!
Fourth Stop: Baguio Cathedral
Another place that I did not want to miss is the Baguio Cathedral. Once again, I’ve proven that it pays to not be afraid when asking for directions. From Burnham Park, it was a 15 to 20-minute walk along the ever-famous Session Road! Hooray for discovering places without even planning!
What’s even more amazing is this: when I finally made it at the Cathedral, I realized that it is just behind the Jollibee where my friends and I had our super early breakfast two days ago (when we arrived in Baguio for our Pulag trip). Our first stop was my last stop. Too bad for them they didn’t see the Cathedral. We arrived at around two in the morning so it was still very dark and so we were not able to see this landmark right away.
SM Baguio is just a 5-minute walk from the Cathedral, and the Manila-bound bus terminal is just behind SM. So my initial plan of “leaving-my-stuff-at-the-mall’s-package-counter” worked out really well. 🙂 I sneaked in some pasalubong shopping before finally heading to the mall to retrieve my luggage. And then, the day was over. Time to head back to Manila. 😦
(Hoping to be back in Baguio soon – Sagada and Batad, you’re next!!!)
Summary of the one-day itinerary:
- Have a hearty breakfast at Choco-laté de Batirol
- Explore Tam-awan Village (you can also have your lunch there)
- Wander around Burnham Park
- Visit Baguio Cathedral
- Back to Manila!