Turning 22 In The Cold City of Baguio
Jackets on, backpacks ready.
After spending most of the day touring around Intramuros and the National Museum (plus getting some well deserved nap), we headed to the Cubao bus station, got our bus tickets (that we purchased online days before the trip) and rode a super comfy bus. There were four of us now. The new day was already starting when the bus finally left the terminal and started the long journey to the summer capital of the Philippines.
It was my first time to celebrate my birthday away from home and exploring a place I've never been to. Saying that it was one of my most unforgettable moments in life is not enough.
While we were travelling through the dimly lit roads going up to Baguio City, I woke my friend up (who was sitting near the window) and pointed to the sky. It was speckled with tiny white light — something you don't see a lot in urban places because of the light pollution.
We arrived in the city around 4 in the morning, two hours earlier than what we've expected. The cold breeze literally made us shiver and say "
Shet grabe ka tugnaw!"
(Shit it's so cold! lol at this translation) almost all the time.
At first, we didn't know where to go. It was still too early to check out the tourist spots that was on our list. Or so we thought. One of my friend's sisters told us to witness the sunrise in Mines View Park so we did. When we arrived, I was quite surprised that there were groups of people already waiting in the viewing deck, trying to photograph the sun as it rises. Apparently, we weren't the only ones who thought about going there early.
I've seen countless of incredible sunrises and sunsets in my life, but that morning in Mines View Park with three of my good ol' high school girl friends and our heavy backpacks, that was something else. No words can suffice. The way the light touches the community below reminded me of that one scene in Lion King where Mufasa told Simba the famous line, "
Everything the light touches is our kingdom."
If only I can carry some of these plants with me back to CDO...
Obligatory photo with Mushu!
Staying in the park was fun, mesmerizing, and all until we all felt like our bladders were about to explode. Since it was still too early, the clean public comfort room wasn't open yet. We literally spent almost an hour finding a CR nearby. Good thing there was a restaurant inside the park that allowed us to use their restroom. Even though they made us pay 5 pesos, we didn't care as long as we were able to (finally) pee!
The next place on our list was The Mansion. We decided not to charter a taxi to go to different tourist spots. Doing so would hinder us from enjoying each spot because we know we'll be too concerned about the running meter. So from Mines View Park, we walked all the way to The Mansion.
This reminds me of a Filipino horror movie set in the woods especially with that green van!
A lovely house we passed by. It's oozing with so much charm!
The Mansion is the president's official residence when he visits Baguio City for any official event like the Philippine Military Academy's (PMA) graduation ceremony. Visitors aren't allowed to enter the mansion. Our timing was even good enough because the guards actually opened the gates and let visitors take photos inside the gate. Most of the photos I've seen online are taken outside the tall gates which is quite distracting.
Just across The Mansion is the Wright Park. It wasn't too interesting until we walked further and found a place where you can take photos in traditional
costume; buy trinkets from souvenir stalls; and ride horses for several minutes.
Stole this shot of my friends going cray over the souvenirs haha
The place was crowded with so many tourists so we decided to move to our next stop which is the Baguio Botanical Garden. Before walking around the garden, we hung out at the cafe inside the garden and had some pizza. All the walking and sightseeing made us
(hungry + angry).
For our lunch, we went to
, a cozy Greek restaurant with a really nice view. The interior design looks like it was taken straight out of my Pinterest board haha! Everything was so pretty. I especially loved the clean and rustic decorations. Plus, the macrame hanging on one wall made me wish I could beg the management to give to me as a gift haha
I haven't tried Greek food before so most of the items on their menu were new to me. We ordered their grilled rib eye steak, special lamb rack, and
. The steak and lamb was good. The passtisio was super weird though. It's a Greek lasagna and the taste and look was very new to us. I like the bottom part though where most of the penne pasta and tomato sauce was.
In totality, their food is great for dates or gatherings with your family and friends. If ever you guys are visiting Baguio City soon, add Lemon and Olives to your list of must-visit places.
The last stop of our adventure was the Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet. It's almost an hour away from Baguio City and we had to charter a taxi to take us there and bring us back to the city. The driver told us that it wasn't the right season for strawberries, but we still pressed on with the trip.
Even though we didn't get to actually pick strawberries from the farm, we enjoyed the fresh strawberry ice cream and bought ourselves a pack of real strawberries to eat along the way to La Union.
We went back to the city and headed to the bus terminal to catch the ride going to San Fernando. There weren't any airconditioned bus available so we took the old non-aircon one. The road going down the mountains was not like any other roads I've experienced. There were a lot of sharp turns which made me and one friend of mine think about the road accidents that gets reported on TV. I know, I know. We were being too paranoid, but we can't help but fear for our lives especially when the driver drove like we were going to live forever no matter what happens lol!
All in all, visiting Baguio City during my 22nd birthday is something I'll always remember. It's also a place that I hope I get to visit again. My friends and I were totally smitten with how chill the vibe was. Even if you walk around the streets during high noon (and you have a denim jacket on), you'll still find yourself shivering.
Next up: La Union!
What about you guys? Have you been to the summer capital of the Philippines? What places/spots in Baguio are your favorites? Don't hesitate to share them down below!