At around the same time as last year, this was a weekend I fought for as Baguio has always been a family tradition with this being Mother Goose’ (my mother, obviously) favorite plus the fact that I missed celebration last year because of some unforeseen situation at the terminal.
We had no specific itinerary so day but spent time at the BOTANICAL GARDEN because it was closed the last time that we were there, meet with that big dog at MINES VIEW and ending the day with people at the “ukay-ukay” stalls at this NIGHT MARKET which closed a major road until the parents slept that my brother and I grabbed some beer at BOHEMIAN CAFE which was location shoot for a local film called That Thing Called Tadhana.
While my family and I have this personal relationship with Baguio, this place is generally known to be one of the oldest tourist destinations in the Philippines. Living in a country like ours where summers can be too hot, this place has been the go-to place to escape such. While urbanization has been creeping more and more in the city, part of the charm of the city is in how it keeps intact most of itself that probably has become part of tradition of families like us – from its most known park and garden destinations, bike and swan boat rides, 10-peso wooden key chains where names and ‘Baguio City’ can be written, photo opportunities with horses and that St Bernard, take-homes to loved ones like strawberries, ube jam, raisin bread, strawberry wine – just some among many.
And from this list, I narrow down what we were able to revisit (and discover) during this 2016 trip.
* Flowers and beyond at the BOTANICAL GARDEN
In essence, its plants that people should come here for. But if one takes time to look around, there are random lovely stuff to see.
Like this butterfly findings its nourishment
This but one of many statues whose chips evidence of being permanent residents in this place
Some are meant to be fun too
A new discovery for this trip is this Japanese tunnel believed to be constructed in the 1940s. It was naturally chilly inside and I couldn’t help but imagine those people then hiding in those cubicles on main walkway’s sides.
Buddha statues beside the tunnel
* Fun finds of all kinds
With these stalls everywhere, it was inevitable for us to again bump into the usual finds ranging from T-shirts, knitted blouses, Peanut Brittles and wooden accessories from key chains to scratchers (“pangkamot”), ashtrays (an iconic design would be one with male genitalia), colorful brooms, etc
With the variety of items, this could also be another version of “sari-sari” store
From accessories to “walis tambo” (soft brooms)
Yep to that ashtray (and if you pull those men from the barrel, you are in for a surprise
* Adorable St Bernard at Mines View Park
While others may object to the practice, I choose to hope that owners of these dogs are grateful to them for how much help they are to the family. Personally, I appreciate how these dogs can give few seconds of joy to people (kids and adults alike – like my brother and I!).
Okay. So I was probably to happy I closed my eyes
And here my tongue was out :p
* Good food
While I think for most, it’s still those fresh veggies that they like best in the city, for this trip, we were happy to discover a good place for sinful eating. For dinner and in preparation for that night’s market, we filled in our tummies with tender ribs from ROUTE 55 in Legarda Road.
This photo not giving justice to the taste, but their ribs are a must-try (and the chicken just because I am a fan)
(We returned to this place this year and I don’t think they still serve this combo though)
* Night market at Harrison Road
While Baguio is known for its “ukay-ukay” (secondhand thrift stores), it was only during this trip when we knew about “ukay”ukay” stalls being set up every night. It seemed like a grand event to locals that they even closed a major road.
Starting at 9 in the evening, we were surprised at how those stalls seemed to pop and at almost just the same time, sea of crowd was forming. It was literally a no-other-way-but-forward kind of walk in between the stalls.
How to even choose
Street food for the hungry shopper
While everyone else (window-)shops, this bunch of kids were playing
View from the footbridge
* Life at night in Session Road
While my parents chose to go back to the hotel to rest after all the madness at the night market, my brother and I used our remaining energy drinking beer over acoustic music at one of the bars in Session Road – one of the busiest streets in Baguio.
I chose this bar which was location shoot for a 2014 romance film called That Thing Called Tadhana by a then-budding filmmaker named Antoinette Jadaone.
A dirty wall is love
Getting there and other practical details
There are hourly trips from the Philippines’ capital Manila via bus lines like Victory Liner. If extra comfort is preferred (bigger seats, with restroom because with no stopover so should be faster), Genesis also has its line called Joybus going to Baguio shortly after midnight.It is about 5-6 hours away from Manila.
Best way to get around is by foot or taxi. (In our case, my father brings our car but we ride the taxi going places. Roads can be tricky for drivers not used to the city landscape). As of 2017, flagdown rate at the cab is at 35 Philippine pesos.
Some attractions have entrance fees but minimal averaging at less than 50 pesos.
10 is the magic number for most of small souvenirs like wooden key chains and pens.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristina Correa (or more known to almost all people in her life as Teng) is based on the city of Manila in the Philippines and whenever she can, cools off with routine and gets her doses of happy someplace else. She doesn’t mean to inform and help plan (as obvious with her laziness with details) but hopes her stories and photos can inspire you to create your own.