My introduction to this trip was showing the infamous Lion’s Head in Kennon Road going to Baguio. Seeing that structure is an indication that you are near the city of Pines already. Unfortunately, we didn’t take the Kennon Road but instead took the much safer yet longer route to Baguio via Marcos Highway.
A little backgrounder on the said road: Obviously, it was created during the presidential reign of the late Ferdinand Marcos. He even had his head bust statue placed at a certain peak that when you pass that highway to Baguio you’d be reminded who made that road for you. It may be considered machismo but mostly specially by the activists but admittedly or not, it has been a tourist attraction. But it has torn down or blown off at a certain period. I don’t know exactly when but I remember seeing a footage of that action. Oh well, I was disappointed to know what. I have hoping if not seeing and having a photo op of the Lion’s head at least I get a glimpse of the Marcos bust. But all I saw was what’s left of the latter, it’s bust frame.
The road was wider making it safer to take compared to Kennon Road. It’s just a bit far and the safer refered just for the width of the road, but this road is quite steep. It was my first time (in my recollection) to be on a trip to Baguio taking that road. So I was wide awake, secured my seatbelt and swooning over the fog, the curves and the sight.
For video footages of driving along Marcos Highway, check out my multiply site
We reached Baguio almost past 12noon. Tita Rory is our distant relative is quite a local in the area. She comes there a little quite often to check out their house in the non-city area of Baguio.
(L-R) Me, Tita Rory, my Nanay and Tita Nelly, also a distant relative
(Nanay and me: Poinsenttias!!! Now do you know where I got my cam whore attitude ;)
We stayed at her place. We ate packed prepared food for lunch, did a few quick cleaning of the house, freshen ourselves up and then off to have a quick peek of what Baguio now offers.
It’s been decades since I last went to Baguio. I can’t even recall when was it. What’s more vivid in my memory was the visits we had there when we, my cousins and I are quite small. We used to stay at the Baguio Park Hotel in from of the Burham Park. We like taking bicycle rides at that park. Baguio for me is foggy, cold and pine tree.
But this is Baguio now. Houses on the cliffs. Traffic. Pollution. Populated. And SM Baguio.
Wow. The change.
SM Baguio is now considered to be a tourist attraction in the area. It was built taking the shape of a mountain side. And claimed the only SM Mall that uses no airconditioning. Well, obviously they should not have any aircons on, they’re in Baguio, the coolest (in weather) area in the Philippines.
And the façade. Consistent in branding… hehehe
The roofing/ceiling I guess is that makes this mall aircon-less
The site in one of the balcony floors: The Cathedral
Photo op: Tita Rory, my Nanay and Tita Nelly by the balcony
Self-portrait no. 1, attempt no. 1… oops! Missed the Cathedral view
Self-portait no. 2, attempt no. 2… got it! But I prefer the first one
What what can one do in SM Baguio?
EAT: Tita Nelly, Nanay and Tita Rory eating mini bibingkas standing at the foodcourt. They said if it isn’t Baguio they won’t be caught doing that. Hehehe. Well, it’s the same as being in any other SM Mall in Manila. One can eat, walk around and hangout seating on a bench sighting some view in SM Baguio. It’s a weekend, and there are lots of people. We just stayed for less than an hour and off to the next destination.
Oh, before we left… I have been craving for ice cream since that morning. And finally, I have satisfied that craving.
Me and my vanilla ice cream dipped in strawberry flavored coating. Eating ice cream in a cold area? Who cares! I LOOOOOVE ice cream. Period.
Obviously, I am more observant and conscious now. Folks here are fashionable. Perhaps it’s the weather that made them dress that way. Boots, scarves, jackets, trench coats. Plus Baguio is known for having lots of ukay-ukay hubs. Ukay-ukay for those who are not familiar with it is a store that carries second hand items sold for a cheaper price. Items here range from shoes, clothes and bags. If you’re not quite conscious of being fashionable and not that “sensitive” on wearing or having not quite new garments, ukay-ukay is the answer. Too bad we have no time for some ukay visit, perhaps the next time I’ll definitely put that in my itinerary.
Next stop: Baguio Public Market. I’m not quite sure if it’s called the Maharlika Market but it’s where the supposedly cheap goodies are. I have not much of photos in this area because we are warned to guard off our belongings like bags, wallets and cellphones aside from my hands are quite occupied with stuff bought by Nanay and my titas. One thing I’m sure of, silver here is CHEAP. Nabbed a few earrings for my 3 goddaughters (php50.00 each from php80.00) and one simple danggling for me (php100.00 from php120.00).
They bought some broom, a known pasalubong from Baguio, some strawberry jams and ube yams, peanut brittles and fresh veggies which we cooked that night for our dinner.
Flowers are cheap here too. The bouquet was being sold for about php200.00 at first and later the vendor dropped the price to a hundred. Well, if I’m a man I’d snatch that one for sure, for too bad I’m not and don’t have anyone to give the flowers too. Besides, we are to leave the next day, it might not reach Manila in good state.
That was for day 1, Saturday. The next day (Sunday), it was planned to start the day by hearing mass at 5:30 in the Cathedral and head back to Bulacan right after lunch time.
In all fairness, this is just taken with my ever reliable SE K610i. No Photoshop involved (exempt for resizing).
A few photo op after the mass…
At the stairs of Beatitudes. I didn’t notice that this Beatitude about mourning is where we stopped. Timely? Hehehe.
Session Road was closed to traffic that weekend. The week before we came was the Penangbengga Week, a famous flower festival in Baguio.
My Nanay loves flowers, specially one of a kind orchids. Unfortunately, we are too early at that time that the shops are still close. Well, if you can’t take the flowers physically home, take some photos. A cheaper way pa. Hihihi.
Went back at home for a quick breakfast then headed for La Trinidad Valley, Benguet for their famous strawberries!!!
More housing along the cliff. I’m not really afraid of heights but I won’t choose to live in such. I wonder how they get up there.
Reaching the “fields”, it’s not just strawberries that are planted there. Veggies of all sorts that require cool climate are harvested in the area.
Farmers harvesting lettuce
Nanay eagerly pointing the fields. Near her I believe are leeks.
And of course, what we really came for in La Trinidad…
And yet, I don’t eat fruits :( Including these sweet strawberries. But not so far from where I stood, I heard a bell clinging… ICE CREEEEEAAAM!
Saved by the bell… my almost finished strawberry ice cream.
These are the shrubs where the strawberries came from. Wonder why there’s some sort of black plastic wrap on the soil bed? It keeps the strawberries from getting dirty with soil. Clever.
More photo op… :p
A few hours left before departure, we took a few photos over The Mansion, as they call the Malacañang in Baguio. This is where the reigning president stays when s/he is in the city of Pines.
Me, Nanay, Tita Rory and Tita Nelly. I can honestly say that I am not much of a fan of our government today. I just encouraged the group to take some photos at The Mansion for keepsake… memories.
It’s perimeter by the way is the only place where pines trees are still visible which one can bearly smell on the breeze. Somehow that gave me a few minutes in reminiscing the Baguio that I knew before.
That was a quick weekend getaway. But I’m quite satisfied. Specially that this is another travel I made with my fave red chucks.