Baguio Balikan

Despite being born in a tropical country, I’m not very fond of the sun especially the heat and possibly cancerous rays that come with it. Temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius make me sweat like a pig which is annoying because I’m too lazy to take multiple baths in a day. Imagine how uncomfortable it gets during summer when temperatures go as high as 35 degrees in some parts of the country! I can’t concentrate because it feels like I’m being roasted alive (#RoastedRani huehuehue). I’ve actually fainted more than once because of the heat and though my obesity is partly to blame, it doesn’t make the sun (and the earth’s relative position at that particular time of the year) innocent. Not to mention it affects the mood of everyone around you. I’ve said this before: temperature is inversely proportional to patience.

However, as I grow older, I’m beginning to realize that the cold is starting to bother me. I used to pride myself in having Carabao skin — an idiomatic expression to describe people who can stand lower temperatures better than others. I could manage with only a shirt on even if everyone else  around me wears jackets. I used to dream of living in places with winter. But those days are over. Now I dread the thought of having to battle it out with negative temperatures.

What I like is cool, chilly weather without rain. Probably ranging from 15 to 23 degrees. Bedweather, they call it. The kind that makes you want to stay in bed but won’t freeze you to death. When the sky isn’t gloomy but the rays aren’t strong. Why? Well, to begin with I have an excuse to wear layered clothing. And I won’t sweat profusely meaning I wouldn’t have to take a bath everyday! And I only tell myself it’s nakakatamad but I actually am more productive because no time is wasted complaining how hot it is haha.

That’s actually  the reason why I’m writing this post. Manila had the perfect weather for me during Valentines’ week (incidentally also my midterms week) starting from Saturday. I could wear my jacket on top of my school uniform. It didn’t rain hard. I didn’t need air conditioning at night (so we saved up on energy) yet I still hugged myself to sleep. The little things! I even tweeted that I wished we had that kind of weather all year round. And I did not hesitate to share my contentment with the people I talked to. It used to feel like that during Christmas time but thanks to global warming, we’re experiencing it in mid-February. Better late than never!

Unfortunately my happiness was short lived. It started to get warmer after only a couple of days classmates are starting to wonder why I’m still wearing a jacket (answer: masikip kasi uniform ko lol). And yesterday, the sun was up in all its glory without clouds to mitigate its rays. I miss the cool weather. I want to go to Baguio where it hopefully is still cold but I don’t have the money nor time so I’m just going to reminisce about that day in January when my aunt and I went up north on a whim.

We left Manila around 11 pm on a Tuesday because I don’t have Wednesday classes this semester. I originally thought the travel time of the tickets I got was for three hours only (via TPLEX) but it was regular aircon. Hence, we arrived at around 5am. We tried to scout for motels around the area thinking we can stay for a “short time” just to freshen up and take a nap but that kind of accommodation is only prevalent in Manila, I guess. In the end, we decided to seize the day sleep-deprived πŸ™‚baguio1Catched the 6am mass at Baguio Cathedral.img_0091Then off to Cafe by the Ruins for breakfast. They open at 7am so we walked first to a nearby park. I wanted to let her try the kamote bread but it was unavailable so we settled for duck mami and some sausage breakfast set which were both delicious.baguio2What stood out, however, is their ensaymada paired with hot chocolate. Just like what a popular expression nowadays says, “Uwi na, may nanalo na. Masyadong sinarapan!img_0125Even though Baguio is already highly urbanized, I appreciate that there are still a lot of parks. There’s Burnham, Wright, and Botanical garden to name a few. Sadly, they weren’t as beautiful as they used to be. An uncle who studied there during the 80s told me that you could to smell pine trees everywhere before and session road wasn’t as congested as it is now. Also, I’ve been told more than once that locals hate the Panagbenga festival. If that’s the price to be paid for being a tourist destination, I sure am glad there’s not much to see in my hometown.img_0138img_0140img_0142img_0181img_0206img_0261baguio3img_0269img_0385img_0422One can not leave Baguio without pasalubong so we went to the monastery to buy ube jams. While we’re at it we had ice creams in the cold weather because why not.baguio4Had lunch at Forrest House near Canp John Hay. It’s a bed and breakfast and the space is lovely though the location is not very accessible especially if you don’t bring a car. The chicken in white wine sauce was delicious though the chicken strips were a bit dry. Binagoongang bagnet was also good but being dipped in sauces, the pieces no longer have the crispiness inherent in bagnets. Carrot cake is my favorite so my standards are kind of high, this version did not meet those.baguio5My aunt wanted to go to BenCab Museum. It wasn’t included in the itinerary I made but since she’s the financer, her will be done haha. We had a hard time getting a taxi outside Forrest House. After more or less 30 minutes, a driver took our offer to bring us to BenCab as well as wait for us while we roam around with his taxi meter running all throughout.img_0455I do not agree with Duterte’s War on Drugs and I believe the Bureau of Corrections is meant to correct (duh) that’s why this exhibit  of pictures taken inside the bilibid tugged at my heart.img_0465img_0463img_0462While sitting and enjoying the view, my aunt and I wondered if the hill in front of us (behind the museum) is also owned by BenCab. And though I already have an inkling that he does (I learned from the movie Burlesque that good views come at a price), I was still amazed when it was confirmed by a staff. Also, the museum now offers an eco-trail for additional fee. It takes about an hour to finish it and though we badly wanted to go, we thought of our taxi driver who was probably getting impatient because we told him we won’t stay long.img_0489I learned from the mistress of the universe long ago that hanging water bags on windows prevent flies from coming because the reflection on the water and something about their insect eyes make them think that there are predators. Giddy about this new knowledge, I was eager to put it into practice in our canteen but no one believed me (except my parents who took my word for it, love them!). I am just affirmed to see these hanging in Cafe Sabel!img_0509We saw BenCab himself but were too shy to have our picture taken because he was engaged in conversation with a group. We just stayed a while longer and had their bestseller Spicy Tuyo pasta and Guyabano shake (I don’t eat guyabano but it was divine!).img_0516I’ve been to Baguio a couple times but I was a Camp John Hay virgin. Finally, pine trees! In fairness there’s a lot to see inside the camp. I imagine this was how the whole of Baguio looked like before tourism arrived.img_0601img_0542img_0553img_0568img_0670baguio6My aunt is so spontaneous I love her. I don’t think she ever made a fuss over planning and I like travelling with her because she’s easily pleased and always appreciative (ang ganda, ang sarap, ang saya, etc). Which reminds me that the most content people are the most grateful. And of course, she never complained about all the walking we did hehehe. img_0552Still high from Cafe by the Ruins’ hot chocolate, we went to Choco-late de Batirol inside Camp John Hay.img_0624The place was cozy. The food, forgettable. The tsokolate was okay. I just found out from my aunt that the sandy texture I feel is actually ground bigas. I don’t have a sweet tooth so I needed something salty to counter the influx of sugar.  Good thing Ta Maro bought me Lay’s from a retail store. These two were perfect together!baguio7Baguio Public Market for pasalubong. I love the smell of palengkes. And it’s like a microcosm of society. I know because I grew up in one though not as vibrant as Baguio’s.img_0650img_0638-3After loitering at SM foodcourt while waiting for our schedule, finally, rest! We were so tired we slept as soon as the driver checked our tickets. And just like that, we conquered Baguio in one day — had lots of fun, ate lots of food, and burned lots of calories hahaha!img_0661On our way home we rode the First Class bus where the trip was only for 3-4 hours because I have two quizzes the next day, Thursday. We arrived in Manila past 2am and while I was already feeling helpless because I haven’t studied and was thinking of pulling an all nighter as the dreaded exams loom,  I logged in on Facebook to the good news that one of them was postponed, so nakapahinga pa ako. πŸ™‚

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