Wednesday, April 30, 2008

revisiting baguio after 17 years

yep, you read right. the last time i went to baguio was when i was nine years old. and from then, i haven't had the chance nor the urge to go back.

this year, it was different. susie invited me to go up to the city of pines with him, and i felt the strong pull of
ukay-ukay calling to me.

i intended to have a nice, relaxing time up there, that's why i didn't read up much on the places i could see. we were only going to stay in baguio for a little less than 36 hours, so i didn't want to tire myself by trying to see everything. besides, the city's cool weather was meant for relaxing, not for getting stressed out. i did, however, try to ask around for great places to dine in.

we left manila at 2am, taking NLEX, and exiting at sta. ines. we arrived in baguio a little before 8am. a six-hour drive with minimal stops. not bad, eh? after getting our much-needed sleep, we ventured back out so that i could see baguio in its new, modern splendor.

i was appalled by the traffic and the smog. i didn't even get a whiff of that distinct baguio pine scent because of all the smoke from the cars. i was actually afraid to breathe in, for fear of having my lungs collapse. thankfully, baguio isn't just about the pine scent. the weather was lovely, and was perfect for leisurely strolls.

of our 36 hours there, here's what i got to see and do:

pnky cafe
a cozy little cafe on leonard wood road, across the teacher's camp that serves great food without breaking the bank. the place was so warm and inviting that susie and i ate two meals there out of all three that we had in baguio.

pictured on the left is pnky's beef it or not, which is steak a la pobre served with kiangan rice and vegetables. susie still praises his rib-eye to this day, and vows to go there again.

aside from the cafe, pnky also has a bed&breakfast and a home store that sells furniture and other home accents.

baguio ukay experience
after lunch, susie and i decided to check out the ukay scene. after consulting my list, we walked over to hilltop, which is behind the baguio city market. i scored 2 tops for 30 pesos each, a skirt for P120, and a nice large bag for P150.

when susie had to go to his meeting, i walked around on my own, and found bayanihan, an old hotel northwest of burnham park. thanks to ukay-ukay, the hotel is now thriving again, holding four whopping levels of ukay shopping! definitely a shopper's paradise!

burnham park
after hours of climbing stairs in bayanihan, i decided to take a break at burnham. bought myself a large corn on a stick, and sat down on a bench. i was glad to see the park teeming with people.

the park still had the lake that i remembered as a kid, with paddle boats and large duck-boats. there was also a biking area, filled with kids forcing their parents to rent them a bike.

it's a pity that i didn't get to see if there is indeed a skating rink.

minesview park
this is the lone photo of minesview park that i have. i couldn't take pictures, because, as you can see, i was too busy enjoying my grilled corn and strawberry taho.

sadly, the view of the mines is not as impressive anymore. the only good thing to do in minesview is to shop for baguio goods--brooms, barrel man figurines, strawberry wine, strawberries, and other souvenirs.

as for me, i enjoyed the edible goods. i had two grilled corn, a shot of strawberry wine, and a cup of strawberry taho.

camp john hay
the day we left, susie took me to camp john hay, just to drive around. it was a nice, leisurely drive, but i wasn't impressed by anything i saw.

we did have breakfast at house of waffles, where i had an american breakfast of eggs, hash brown, ham, sausages, and bacon, paired with ice-cold beer! it was a great way to bid baguio farewell!

so, even though i wasn't able to completely explore the city, the trip was fun and memorable. any trip with great food, bargain shopping, and funny adventures is always a trip worth remembering. and i'm looking forward to going back up to baguio soon for another laidback weekend.

information on establishments:
address: 13 leonard wood road, baguio city
tel. no.:
(+6374) 446-7094; (+6374) 444-5418
PNKYhome bed & breakfast

camp john hay
address: loakan road, baguio city
tel. no:
(6374) 446-0231 to 50

baguio guides online:
the city of baguio
go baguio
baguio insider

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