My friend, Felix, and I went to Baguio City last month just to tour this city. I’ve been there before and though I don’t find it particularly to my taste (I like beaches and sea more), he’s never gone around the city (and he’s not a water person).
Baguio is a city situated in the mountainous part of Luzon and due to its high altitude, climate is much cooler than the other towns and cities. It is also for this reason that it is a favorite haunt of those who want to escape the heat of Metro Manila. It is also famous for its flowers (celebrated annually with the Flower Festival).
We arrived early and after breakfast, we went around Burnham Park. This park is designed to have lots of flowers and since we were early, I was able to capture dew drops on the flowers.
This was taken in Baguio City, City of Flowers. I love this shot due to its textures. For me, this is as far 3D as I can get with a zoom lens.
Oh My Gulay!
Oh My Gulay! is a vegetarian restaurant in Session Road. It is located on the 5th floor of an old building. From the outside, the restaurant (with its curved roof) looks like it could be a gymnasium or a warehouse. There is no elevator in the building so it’s stairs, stairs, stairs (but I guess Baguio residents are used to walking inclines).
A view of rows of buildings in Session Road * Stairs going up to OMG.
When you get inside the restaurant for the first time, you’ll be blown away – it’s surreal! Most of the floors are uneven, the posts are leaning in different directions. There is a mosque-church facade close to a wooden ship, a stage, veranda etc. It’s like a place you’ll see only on your dreams.
Even the comfort room is very different. The area was not made to maximize the number of tables and chairs where people can eat but was made to show the customers different works of art and to give them a new experience.
There are various art stuff around – those that caught my eyes is a carving of an Igorot woman giving birth (near our table) and a stylized fish (also near our table).
There is also a small room for exhibiting artwork but the whole place is actually a big art exhibition center. When we got there, there was preparation for an art exhibit titled “Igorotak” which is supposed to show the culture of the Igorots in our modern times.
And the food… delicious! The onion rings we ordered was the tastiest I’ve ever tried. The OMG rice I tried was also good and I didn’t miss the meat!
Oh My Gulay Rice.
Tired and asleep.
After getting a little nap, it was time for us to go (past 3pm). Eman got his dream birthday cake (a very heavy chocolate caramel cake from Don Henrico’s) and we rode a bus to Eman’s home in Pozzorubio, Pangasinan where we were to have dinner and spend the night.
The next day we’ll be going to Manaoag, Dagupan and then back to Manila… (continued in another post).
Group shot (by Eman).
Chocolate de Batirol
Chocolate de Batirol is a quaint chocolate shop/cafe in Camp John Hay. It is surrounded by gardens and golf course and is very near (walking distance) from The Manor, a hotel/retreat house.
Batirol is a small brass/copper vessel used to prepare the chocolate drink. We used to have one back when I was a child but I think it’s already lost.
The hot chocolate tastes good taken in the cool climes of Baguio, particularly of Camp John Hay. But, I prefer the ones we used to prepare at home as it tastes more pure and the shell of the cocoa bean is not included when the tablea was made. By the time we arrived in Batirol, I was very tired and fell asleep for a few minutes.
Group shot (by Eman) * Batirol (vessel for preparing hot chocolate) (shot by Oyet).
Grounded while others are jumping (shot by Eman) * The shop’s menu (shot by Oyet).
Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay was formerly an American military camp. It was converted to an economic zone and is managed by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority. Inside the camp is a golf course, the Manor, some shops, an adventure camp, and lots and lots of picnic area (but the tables are for rent for Php100).
It was nice walking around the camp but since Baguio is on a mountain range, you have to walk up and down stairs, hills, etc.
The tiring walk around Camp John Hay was enough to make us a little hungry so we went back to Session Road to have lunch in Oh My Gulay!… (continued in Part 5).
After having our fill of Burnham Park, we took a cab to Mines View Park which is just outside of the city proper.
Mines View Park
Mines View Park is a small observation place where you can see the mountains. In the past it may have been beautiful but the houses and other buildings encroaching on the surrounding mountains lessened the beauty of the mountains. Now, the park is just home to many stalls selling souvenir items.
To have fun, we just hired some costumes from an old lady and did our fun photoshoot.
Jason and Oyet modelling * Our bags.
What were we afraid of?
Group shot (by Eman)
The Mansion and Wright Park
From Mines View Park, we rode a jeepney down to the Mansion.
The Mansion is what gave Baguio its title of Summer Capital of the Philippines. In early period of American colonization, the Mansion was built to serve as the summer residence of the American Governor General. Every year, from March to June, the Governor General and all of the members of the colonial government would go up to Baguio to escape the hot summer temperature of Manila.
Today, the Mansion is just a reminder of this past though the President sometimes still go up here.
Right in front of the gate of the Mansion is Wright Park (named after an American Governor General). The Park has a lagoon and on its end, a stair taking you to an area where horses can be rented and you can ride the horse around (or to some trail like the Crystal Cave).
A white horse with mane colored pink. Women selling lanzones and longgan.
After Wright Park, we again rode a taxi to Camp John Hay to have hot chocolate and rest… (continued in Part 4).
Baguio City is not known as the City of Flowers for nothing. Due to its high elevation and cool climate, it is home to many flowers.
I take a lot of pictures of flowers and I wouldn’t pass up a chance to do this in Baguio. So here are the pics and enjoy!
Blue fly on a yellow flower.
Orange flowers from a plant that sort of looks like a squash.
October 6, 2012
Burnham Park sits at the center of Baguio City. It was named after Daniel Burnham, the architect and urban planner of Baguio City. The park includes a man-made lake where boats of various shapes and sizes can be rented, a parade ground where most of the city’s important festivities (including the famous Flower Festival) is held, area for exercising and riding bicycles, etc.
The artificial lake in Burnham with the various boats for rent
The Baguio City Hall is located beside the Burnham Park. Other important structures (like Session Road, schools and the SM Mall) in the city are also located within walking distance of the park.
The park is an ideal place for exercise and there are many joggers, walkers and people who do aerobics/dances (led by an old guy).
When we visited Baguio, there was a dog walk to raise awareness about rabies prevention. There are also some people who walk or jog around the park with their dogs.
Of course, being visitors in Baguio, photo ops are de rigueur.
After Burnham Park, we took a taxi to Mines View Park… (continued in Part 3).
October 6, 2012
Eman’s birthday is October 7 (Sunday) but our trip started midnight on Friday. We arrived in Baguio City before 6am. Baguio City is a city in the mountains with an elevation of approximately 1500 meters above sea level. It is known as the City of Pines, City of Flowers, etc. Because of its elevation, it is a popular summer destination and it is also popular on Christmas for those who wish to experience a colder temperature than most of the country.
On arriving in Baguio, we went straight to the Baguio Cathedral.
Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral (better known as Baguio Cathedral) is a catholic church sitting atop an elevated portion of the city near Session Road (and near the monstrosity that is the SM Mall). Construction started in 1920s and was completed in 1936.
We arrived very early in the morning (before 6am) but there are already people inside the church as there was going to be an early mass (or just early congregation prayers). As such, we were not able to get close to the altar (and since I was using a fisheye, no closeup of the altar and famous stained glass).
Volante and Session Road
After visiting the Baguio Cathedral, we went down to Session Road (accessible from the cathedral via concrete steps). Volante is a 24-hour restaurant (serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails). There we met Eman’s friend Giselle.
For my breakfast, I had so-called “Hanna sausage.” For those planning to have breakfast here, I discourage you to order this. It tastes like a not-so-good chorizo de bilbao. There are other breakfast meals that seem tastier like ham, bacon, etc.
After breakfast, we went down Session Road to go to Burnham Park. Session Road is probably Baguio’s most famous street due to the bars and restaurants on it. There is also a place for ukay-ukay (flea market for second hand items) near the bottom (near Burnham Park) where various items – mostly clothes but can also include household items and Christmas decorations.
Pedestrians in Session Road * Christmas items on sale at ukay-ukay.
At the end of Session Road is Burnham Park at the city center… (continued in part 2).