Baguio part un: In and around

Right after climbing Pulag, I decided to stay in Baguio for a couple of days just because the relatively cooler weather is very tempting. Also, I’ve only been to the place twice (yay for YES camps!) the last one during the summer before fourth year high school. Good thing my friend Rina lives there so I crashed at her place.

My first meal in Baguio was in a place called Oh My Khan. We tried the Mongolian Barbecue buffet which cost 220 pesos. Not bad considering you have unlimited beef, chicken and pork. I’m still not much of a vegetable fan and though majority of the things offered were greens, the spread is kind of enough to satisfy one’s tummy. Not to mention you can mix and match different sauces for different flavors every time you make a bowl.

baguio day 1 (13)Rina is a very organized person and is the epitome of the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” that’s why we’re friends. haha. Anyway, right after I arrived, she asked what my plans were – the places I wanted to see, things to do and foods to eat – and I gladly showed her my list. You see, I have this habit of listing down everything a place I’m going to has to offer even after realizing over the years that I won’t be able to visit everything due to time constraints. Let’s just call it keeping my options open.

But I digress. What Skay (that’s my term of endearment for Rina) did was to categorize everything based on location thanks to her knowledge of Baguio which stemmed from living there since we graduated from high school. In the end, save for PMA, Camp John Hay, Forrest House, and Cafe by the Ruins (I hear the two restaurants were kinda pricey, Hay was a bit far and I was only after the parade on PMA every Sunday), I ticked all items on my list. Now that’s what I call amazing. If you plan on visiting Baguio for three days, I suggest you follow my itinerary. Naks!

Our first stop was Mines View Park. The area is under renovation and I remember it being better the first time I visited. It’s just too mainstream nowadays and a friend pointed out that the pay-for-pictures-with-animals business is adamant which makes her angry.

SONY DSCWe went inside D’Igorot place and there were a lot of interesting things inside tho you are required to give donation (the irony) just for taking pictures. Rins and I gave 20 pesos and the lady manning the donation bowl hid the money under all the dollars and 100-peso bills. Maybe it’s a way to encourage visitors to give bigger donations since people tend to join bandwagons.

SONY DSC baguio day 1 (14)I hope there won’t come a time when the only thing you see from the view deck of Mines View Park are houses.

baguio day 1 (20)Can’t pass up the opportunity for a Baguio ootd. These kinds of fund raising projects are also abundant all throughout Baguio but the best ones are in Mines View Park because they have a wide assortment of clothes and accessories.

baguio day 1 (18)I know this get-up may be wrong on so many levels (because there are people who make such a big fuss over wearing traditional costumes wrong) but you sometimes have to give in and do touristy things.

1Next stop was Good shepherd convent supposedly to buy the famous Ube Jam but the day was long and I hate carrying heavy baggage so I decided to just buy my pasalubongs some other time.

baguio day 1 (21)We just took pictures inside. I planned to visit Baguio during the Panagbenga Festival this year but something came up. In retrospect, it was a blessing because according to Rins, it was impossible to go anywhere and enjoy anything during the festival days because the density of people was in an all time high. She recalls with horror in her face, “Everywhere you go there are impossibly long lines!”

12Next stop was Wright Park.

baguio day 1 (29) baguio day 1 (30) baguio day 1 (31)And The Mansion. I wanted to go inside but visitors are only allowed up to a certain point. My cousins were able to go in during one of PMA’s graduation balls. Too bad I don’t know anyone in the academy right now.

baguio day 1 (33)Ketchup Food Community just in time for lunch. The place is composed of a number of restaurants and the best thing about it is that you can cross-order from anywhere which was what we exactly did.

baguio day 1 (41)From Rumah Sate which offers Indo-Malay cuisine, I wanted to try Mi Goreng because I miss Brunei. Unfortonately, they were out of the dish so we settled for Seafood Laksa. This was love at first sip. The broth was a perfect combination of coconut milk and curry. It’s both flavorful and spicy. The only thing I didn’t like was the overcooked noodles and the hard-boiled egg.

baguio day 1 (36)From Green Pepper we had their bestseller Cheese steak Sandwich. Cheesy and very filling.

baguio day 1 (39)From Happy Tummy which offers Thai cuisine, we had sticky rice with mango. This one was a disappointment  because of the milk and the rice. By all means stay away from this one for it will taint your love of the Thai dessert. And from Rancho Norte we had green mango shake which took forever to arrive. I’d like to go back to Ketchup in the future. Still so many things to try!

baguio day 1 (37)Burnham park which was also under renovation. It’s nice to know that inside this one park there’s something Chinese, Korean, Japanese and of course, Filipino.

baguio day 1 (42) baguio day 1 (43) baguio day 1 (44) baguio day 1 (45)Japanese Tunnel. Unfortunately, Rins and I were too scared to explore the depths of this area.

baguio day 1 (48) baguio day 1 (49) 13During my previous visits to Baguio, I stayed at Teachers Camp since I was attending the National Youth for Environment Summer Camp. Those days bring fond high school memories.

baguio day 1 (50)If I remember correctly, this hall was where we stayed. We even had a supernatural experience in the living area which involves a radio and Hale’s song “Tollway”.

baguio day 1 (51)The mess hall. Up to now I am still thankful that I spent majority of my school life in public schools. It sure gave me a lot of memorable experiences. Lining up for an hour just to eat lunch is one of them. haha.

baguio day 1 (52)White house, possibly haunted.

baguio day 1 (53)Pink Sisters.

baguio day 1 (56)I think a life in seclusion doesn’t sound so bad.

SONY DSCBurnham Park

baguio day 1 (58)My first time to ride a boat and our paddler (?) entertained us with stories from Panagbenga Festivals of the past, when public figures like Marian Rivera and the Gutierrez brothers cause a commotion in the man-made body of water.

baguio day 1 (59) baguio day 1 (71)Baguio Cathedral. Baguio is good for the heart and legs because there are stairs EVERYWHERE and there are NO tricycles so you have no choice but to walk.

baguio day 1 (64)Mt. Cloud bookshop, one of the coolest ever.

baguio day 1 (65) 14 baguio day 1 (69)Lastly, dinner was at Oh My Gulay, dubbed as one of the most beautiful restaurants in the country. When I first saw this on a high school friend’s post (they had a mini-reunion in Baguio sometime in 2010 while I was stuck in Manila thanks to Nursing), I thought it was located in some far off place outside the city proper. I was very wrong. It was right in the middle of Session Road on the fourth floor of a nondescript building. Concrete was turned into a jungle. It’s a plus that we were only one of two tables occupied during our visit. I could stay there all day long!

baguio day 1 (73) baguio day 1 (1) baguio day 1 (3)Oh My Gulat serves organic, vegetarian dishes. It’s not someplace I will be seen anywhere near of and I was kind of worried that I wouldn’t be able to eat anything but I was again, wrong. Rins and I shared in an order of Kabute, “Oyster, shiitake, button mushrooms with bechamel sauce and cheddar sauce” and Lumpia salad, “Crisp tofu spring rolls on a bed of mixed greens tossed with honey mustard and Asian dressing“. The pasta was so-so because it’s just not right without bacon but the salad, OMG it was so good I ended up eating more than half. Coming from me who swore by meat since I was born, that’s really something. There’s the crispiness of the tofu, the freshness of the lettuce, the saltiness of the Asian dressing and the perfection that is the honey mustard dressing. I badly wanted to buy the dressing and start living healthy again but it wasn’t being sold.

baguio day 1 (4)For dessert we headed to Vizco’s, also along Session Road. I love their humongous menu, as big as a table! The dishes were also tempting but I wanted Lumpia Salad’s flavor to linger for a bit longer. Besides, our purpose was to try their famous strawberry shortcake. Rins suggested we try Mango Tort too because it’s good so we ordered one slice each. This is me taking pictures of the food. Btw, the quality of some photos are kinda bad because they’re from my phone. I’m starting to think DC is too bulky to carry around.

baguio day 1 (7)Since the internet said that their strawberry shortcake was one of the best, I had my hopes high and it didn’t meet my expectations. Or maybe I just am not fond of strawberries? The Mango Tort was okay but every time I take a bite I am more sure that it is just  an inferior version of Conti’s Mango Bravo. Plus, the fruit was kind of sour.

baguio day 1 (5)That’s it for day 1. In Skay’s words, “1 City – 12 Sites – 2 Friends – 1 Goal”*

*because it is still my dream to join The Amazing Race.

 

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