Sunday, May 3, 2015

Revisiting Baguio City: Day 1

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Baguio City is popularly known as the summer capital of the Philippines because this is where locals and tourists alike flocked during hot summer months.

I've been to Baguio for the nth time. It was my usual destination escapade during summer and semestral breaks while studying in UP Los Banos. I have  a friend, in fact considered to be my best friend and "kumare" Queenie Laranang-Ayeras, who is from Baguio. So accomodation had never been a problem.

Today we're off to Baguio City for a family trip. The last time we we're here was seven years ago. It will be the little boys (Ivan - my son, and JM - my nephew) first Baguio trip so they are more than excited just like the rest of us. Its the wee hour of Sunday morning (Pacquiao-Mayweather fight), we left Calamba at 4am and believe it, we are at Balintawak exit at 5am. That's just 1 hour travel for the usual 3- 4 hour time on ordinary days. There is no traffic along South Expressway nor at EDSA. Probably most people are still at the comfort of their beds at home, still sleeping and energizing, and getting ready to watch the biggest boxing fight accordingly.

We reached Baguio at 9:30am. It was a very beautiful Sunday morning, something that brings back all the fond memories I had been here. Although, it was saddening that after several years gone is the city I've known and admired so much. The pace that literally let me experience the pine scent and sight of beautiful flowers and lush greenery. Baguio City now looks like a cramped neighborhood with residential houses and buildings occupying even the very top of the hills and the mountains. What I can see now was the rapid rise of commercialization as they say equates to development. There are many high-rise buildings, a big mall, souvenir shops that are scattered everywhere.

Ivan's first taste of strawberry taho!
We had lunch at a restaurant near Burnham Park (beware: I urge you not to dine at Ganza Restaurant) because the service is very poor. They served the food order so slow, saying their under-manned (ha!ha! blamed it on the huge flock of tourists in the city), and the food suck! We're so excited, we ordered "chopsuey" (to have that taste of real fresh veggies), but we have to return twice the food that was served and requested for exchange because the serving bowl and the veggies (cabbage in particular had a smell and taste and taste of "suds"). When I went to use the toilet, I passed-by their kitchen area and I think the culprit was there. Plates, bowls and utensils are not washed in running water but instead in a big basin, no wonder.

It began to rain and it pours hard the whole afternoon, with matching lightning and thunderstorms. Anyway, we all just tucked ourselves in bed, watched cable TV programs and enjoy the cool weather. Its mid-summer time and most hotels and lodging houses are fully-booked. Too good we're able to get a transient house just walking distance from The Mines View Park at very affordable rate. It has two big rooms, 10 of us (8 adults and 2 kids) perfectly fit, with cushioned beddings; hot shower bath; living room area; dining and kitchen area (with free use of cooking utensils and dinner wares).

Tomorrow, hopefully the sun will shine bright and its time to explore Baguio once again.

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