Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2011 Baguio City Tour in One Day: Part 2

This is a continuation of my blog post which is part 1 of same title at in my PKD Blog.

I know this blog is not exactly a travel blog. But for the meantime allow me to write about Baguio for this post since Baguio may be one of possible favorite destinations for conventions and vacations of physicians and non-physicians alike.

In part 1 of this post in my PKD Personal blog, I mentioned that I am doing this to help travelers who plan to go to Baguio without their own transport vehicle and are visiting Baguio overnight or for a day.

Coming to Baguio at this time for a convention was like getting inside a refrigerator so that sweaters and even a bonnet were a big help for me especially that I have cold intolerance since I had polycystic kidney disease with anemia.

Already booked beforehand in a room for 2 accommodation (there are many hotels in Baguio), me and my wife were already ready for the trip.

Arriving on a Saturday evening, we immediately went to the Baguio Cathedral to give thanks to God for the safe journey among many other things and to attend the anticipated mass since we plan to tour Baguio on the whole Sunday prior to the convention.

Actually, it was also "Sinulog" in Cebu so we sort of celebrated the feast of the Child Jesus in Baguio.

Baguio Cathedral is just walking distance from Session Road, probably the busiest in Baguio City with the commerciall establishments in the area.

An interesting observation is that cars were just parked almost in the middle of the street in a weekend and there were no towing trucks in sight unlike in Cebu to take away these vehicles.

A day after, we met with our taxi driver contact and the first in our itinerary (our first stop for breakfast) was Cafe by the Ruins which appeared to be a hangout also of Baguio artists. In our research, it was one of the best places to eat in Baguio and the food indeed was delicious although the price is quite expensive.

Delicious-looking isn't it? It comes with coffee made of local "barako" with a ball-like substitute for sugar (maybe it's made of caramel therefore is still sugar) which when put on your coffee appears to form bubbles (like boiling) and dissolves thus sweetening your coffee.
Cafe by the Ruins from its menu offers local food products, strawberry-based food as well as local food. It is just near the City Hall and Burnham Park, our first tourist spot destination. Entrance is free. It has a playground, a lake for boating, a wide area for jogging, full of greens and flowers. And surrounded by clean comfort rooms (CR) with attendants that charge P6 for the use of the urinal and P10 I think for toilet bowl for "bawas". (Nice way to earn money and maintain cleanliness and hygiene for the city...wish we had plenty of this in Cebu since the Baguio CRs are just everywhere in Baguio City).

After spending about an hour and a half for breakfast and exploring Burnham, we were on the road. We passed by this famous (believed-to-be haunted) house, the Laperal House. (Hope you do not see anything that suddenly pops out in the next picture.)
We went to the Botanical Gardens and had our picture taken with the Senior Citizen Igorots. (Tip: Expect them to suddenly rush at your side to have their picture taken with you then charge you money for it. Do not also ask them how much it will cost you to have them on your picture. Just speak to two or three of them and give them P20 at least each for the photo op.)
(Who among the pics are not Igorots?)

Anyway, the Garden offers a nice background for your pics as seen below.
Notice that we both have our pictures taken together. That's the beauty of the tripod which we brought along. We can have the pictures where we want it as we want it.

Next stop was the Wright Park which offers horseback-riding although we just had our pics taken since my wife just underwent surgery a month ago.
Nearby is the Mansion, which serves as the residence of the Philippine President when in Baguio usually during the Christmas season. There is no entrance fee but one is only allowed to take pictures near the main gate.
Across the Mansion is also nice with a gazebo and a man-made mini-lagoon (I do not really know the correct term).

Then off we go to Mines View Park which offers a breathtaking view of the mines below. Likewise there is no entrance. Here in Mines View you not only see the nice view of the mountains but also souvenir shops which sell Baguio products. There are also pairs of giant dogs (St. Bernard breed perhaps) which are trained to assume different poses and positions for a photo op with tourists or visitors costing P50 for 3 shots if I recall correctly. In other words, you can have pictures taken with them.

I think this is Boomer and the other dog is Dog-las. (Our pet dog will surely be mad if he detects a different dog sent in our laundry later on.)

Anyway, in Mines View Park like us, you may also get to chance to wear Igorot costumes complete with shield and spear for males and native bag and flowers for females.

Bagay ba? You should really try this. I think the price is P10 for costume rental and P30 for several shots taken with it.

So as not to waste time, we went next to the Good Shepherd Convent to buy food products from the nuns there. Aside from getting freshly-made products like Ube Jam, Strawberry Jam, Peanut butter and many more, you actually help someone finish college since the proceeds will help some scholars finish schooling.
Before buying, write your order first using the pictures with the corresponding price on one area of the establishment. Present this piece of paper and the store attendant will get the products for you as you pay the cashier in the counter.

It was 11 AM and we have already gone to several tourist spots. But a Baguio visit will not be complete without a visit to Camp John Hay. We decided to visit it just prior to lunch.

There is just so much to see here with the many large pine trees, plenty of green bermuda grass, flowers, nature at its best. 

There is another reason to visit Camp John Hay for it has a Treetop adventure which include rappelling and zip-line adventure.

You can also eat lunch in the Mile Hi center inside the camp which offers different food choices for different tastes.

As for us, we opted to have lunch where many locals eat...the Good Taste restaurant in Magsaysay avenue.

In part 3 of this post, we will continue with our Baguio adventure from lunch to sunset and talk more about Good Taste, PMA and some more spots.

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