Baguio part deux: Strawberries, Ahrt, Haunted hotels and Segunda Mano

First stop was La Trinidad, which was outside Baguio. I suck at geography but Rins was kind enough to explain to me that Baguio, although a part of the province of Benguet, is a chartered city. Meaning, it is independent of the provincial government. La Trinidad, on one hand, is a town of Benguet right next to Baguio.

baguio day 2 (3)The Bell Church which, according to Rins, was more restricted than she remembered. A lot of places that were accessible to visitors before became off limits to tourists.

baguio day 2 (4) baguio day 2 (5)After a little while, I had an idea why thanks to all the “Bawal magdate dito” signs strategically placed all over especially on semi-hidden places. Maybe some couples just don’t know the difference between a sacred area for worship and a park for lovers. And that is my “wala namang ka-date” pose. ktnxbye.

baguio day 2 (7)Again with the houses everywhere. Baguio is getting more populated. If not for the cooler weather, it would have bothered me. But really, even the traffic jams are getting worse.

baguio day 2 (6)Another touristy spot: Strawberry fields.

baguio day 2 (8)This place reminds me of Muntik na Kitang Minahal, a movie starring Claudine Barretto and Isko Moreno. From what I remember, they played young lovers who eloped to Baguio after their parents disapproved of their affair. They rented a room and pretended to be siblings. At first they were blindly in love but after a while, when reality began to burst their bubble especially in the financial department forcing them to work as strawberry harvesters in the said farm, they realized that there’s so much more to love. I think it’s not that love isn’t enough, you just cannot eat it. I love that movie! notetoself: WATCH IT AGAIN.

baguio day 2 (9)Overpriced strawberry taho. Plus the berries looked saggy. I’m not sure but I think this particular fruit can only thrive in cooler climates, hence, the availability in Benguet and other places with lower temperatures but I think the quality is diminishing thanks to Global Warming. At 10AM the temperature even in La Trinidad is too high to be comfortable.

baguio day 2 (10)And if one needs proof of the place being too touristy, you just need to look at the dozens of locals selling strawberry ice cream and taho in the area. You can’t walk more than 10 steps without someone asking you to try their “best” version of the ice cream. They’re so used to tourists you don’t even have to ask them to take your picture. They’re the ones who initiate that they take yours. Plus, they even suggest a better background/pose as well as a hashtag to use.

baguio day 2 (12)I only tried one version. True enough, it was delicious. Not really sure about the best part though.

21Lunch was at Volante, famous for their pizzas. Don’t order the pumpkin soup, it sucks. Instead of the pureed consistency I was expecting, the one they had was watery. The pizzas, on one hand, were decent.

baguio day 2 (15)One of the things that comes to mind when the word “Baguio” is mentioned is the number of artists that lives in the area. I think that Baguio is populated by a lot of free spirits who spend their waking hours contemplating the meaning in everything and then putting those ideas in their art. Anyway, Tam-awan Village showcases such “ahrt”. A map comes with the entrance fee and it will guide you through the different installations and such. Frankly speaking, I don’t know anything about this subject except that my favorite painting is “Starry Night” by Van Gogh. My appreciation is limited to it’s pretty/nice/interesting/cool unlike some people I know who know strokes and mediums etc. Rest assured, one can still enjoy the place despite being ignorant like me.

baguio day 2 (16) baguio day 2 (17) baguio day 1 (11) 22 baguio day 2 (21) baguio day 2 (19)Plus there’s an area where you can get your portrait sketched. Nope, I don’t really look like the one one in the drawing but still, a-p-p-r-e-c-i-a-t-e.

23 baguio day 2 (25)Lourdes Grotto. When I was younger and we didn’t have the luxury of digital cameras, there was a rumor that no matter how many times you try taking a picture of the grotto, once the film is developed, there will always be something wrong with Mary’s Head. I took a picture using my phone and it appeared fine.

baguio day 2 (29)Now, from Lourdes Grotto, we could’ve ridden a jeepney up to Diplomat Hotel but Skay said she remembered it not being too far so we decided to just walk. Sometimes though, our sense of direction gets pretty messed up. We ended up walking a really long way (not to mention it was uphill). We needed to refuel.

baguio day 2 (30)Aside from being famous for pine trees and strawberries, Baguio is also notorious for its supposedly haunted places (thanks to the colder climate so I guess it’s a double edged sword). One such place is the Diplomat Hotel on top of Dominican Hill. It has a long history. From being a vacation house for The Dominican Order of the Philippines, a school, a place for refugees feeling from the Japanese during World War II, and finally, a hotel.

baguio day 2 (33)It’s a bit spooky but it’s good that we went while the sun is still up.

baguio day 2 (34)It did not help that I saw the 2013 Cinemalaya entry, The Diplomat starring Gretchen Barretto because I kept on imagining scenes from the film.

baguio day 2 (35)The second floor was off limits so I wasn’t able to go to the rooftop. It’s okay. I don’t think I’d have the nerve anyway especially since it’s only Rina and me.

baguio day 2 (37)The place is being renovated but it saddened Skay and I that the original structure of the building is not being preserved.

baguio day 2 (36)View outside.

baguio day 2 (38)Next stop was Baguio Public Market for some pasalubongs.

baguio day 2 (41)I suggest you buy Ube Jam at Good Shepherds Convent because it’s cheaper by ten pesos. Best brand for Lengua de gato and Choco flakes are Tartland and Mikasa respectively. Also, haggle, haggle, haggle.

baguio day 2 (40)Early dinner at the famous 50’s Diner. Go early because tables easily fill up especially on weekends.

baguio day 2 (42)I like the place.

baguio day 2 (43)The food was okay. Fatty, to say the least. Servings were big. The menu was extensive so I had a hard time choosing. Ended up with Man on the hood and another plate I forgot the name of.

baguio day 2 (44)Baguio wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the ukay-ukay at night but it doesn’t start till 8 PM so we decided to kill some time at SM City Baguio. And I am amazed to know that this mall doesn’t have or rather, doesn’t need (at least during night time) air conditioning.

baguio day 2 (2)Where we saw these two displaying publicly their affection for each other.

baguio day 2 (1)If Manila has Banchetto where food stalls occupy the streets at night, Baguio has, uhm, ukay nights (?). You just have to be patient in searching for a treasure amid all these items. Also, by law of supply and demand, the jackets and other cold-weather clothing are definitely more expensive here than let’s say, second-hand stores in Manila.

baguio day 2I don’t mind using second hand things (except for underwear) as long as they’ve been soaked in boiling water and washed thoroughly. You know, part of it is the thrill of the bargain! That night I was able to snag three blazer jackets which didn’t look pre-owned at all at the very affordable price of no more than 50 pesos each. Now, if that’s not a steal, I don’t know what it is.

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