not so exciting evening

from the botanical gardens, A and i took about 15 minutes to reach Wright Park. a sure sign you’re headed in the Wright direction (nudge, nudge) are the people on horseback. well that and the green stuff on the ground (pasintabi sa kumakain).IMG_1841-1200

this part of Baguio is tourist-famous because you could rent a horse or pony and go around this area for fairly reasonable prices. i wanted to experience riding one but two things stopped me: my weight (i’m obese, actually *sad face*), and it was getting dark. hindi sulit kung mamamasyal lang ako sa dilim. so we skipped that and went on walking climbing tour of Wright Par. it was a stupid thing to do but we were adventurers! we accepted the challenge of climbing the long staircase to somewhere we didn’t know!

Magpatuloy sa pagbasa

love notes

maybe it’s serendipity that i’m posting these today, a day before St. Valentine’s Day. these were shots from a tree that had lovers etch their names and the date at the Baguio City Botanical Gardens during our weekend trip. some people think it’s vandalism, like i do, especially when it’s overdone. others will say it’s a romantic gesture that hopes of a long and lasting love. (sing it!) i didn’t capture all of the names on the tree. nevertheless, since love is in the air, i’m inclined to forgive these hearts because they are in love.ย  if you’re one of them lucky couples, i pray you remain strong in your relationship, as strong as the pine trees of baguio. ๐Ÿ™‚

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No, i’m not peeing on the tree!

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Baguio street food and the Botanical Gardens

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if you read A’s post about our first day in Baguio, then you’ll know we lost about 4 hours of gala time in the morning. and because the temperature was a blistering (hehehe) 14 degrees Celsius, it would have been a nice walk around the city. but we needed sleep badly and so we had to nap on the afternoon.

after a nice hot shower, we were off to the Botanical Gardens. Being the neophyte in this Baguio adventure, I let A do all the tour-guiding (whut?). the ladies beside the artsy sign of the botanical garden apparently charge P10.00 per picture taken with them. what’s amusing is that they already know what i call the “japan-japan” pose.

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at the entrance gate, someone was selling corn. at P30.00 each, it was presyong turista so A and i shared one. it must’ve had some drug since after finishing it, i wanted to eat corn again that night. and even now in manila, i have this hankering for corn! after having our fill, the tour of the botanical gardens turned into a garbage bin hunt to throw the corn cob. inevitably, we went to the food shops in the gardens that had garbage bins… but they also had ihaw-ihaw on display! Magpatuloy sa pagbasa

the fastest Burnham Park tour. ever.

mention Baguio to anyone and Burnham Park is the first thing they will tell you to go see. it’s actually something that you WILL see because it’s like New York’s Central Park — most things you would want to do are a few steps away or a jeepney/cab ride away from it. and the cool comfy weather makes walking a viable alternative.

from Cafe by the Ruins, we walked towards the park para magpa-baba ng kinain. and maybe shed some of the calories from the yummy scones. at the top of the park, Baguio City Hall lords over everything. to me, the city hall is just a small building but sitting on top of a hill, you can sense that it is really a place where power resides.

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IMG_1768-1200as you go down the incline, the land spreads out into a wide open space called the Rose garden. further down the path is the Burnham Lake where you can catch a floating swan or row a boat in to relax. but we didn’t.

notice how i’m struggling to describe Burnham Park? because A and i never stayed for long in the area. and it somehow breaks my heart that i could not appreciate it fully; how Mr. Burnham must’ve intended it to be. the streets were busy with jeepneys. the buildings and businesses around it seemed cluttered. sidewalks were crumbling and plants were struggling with the dry cool weather. noise and clouds of dust dominated the park because of construction being done in preparation, i guess for Panagbenga and general repairs.

IMG_1765-1200we never got to the other side of the lake. for reasons that will not be mentioned (except in A’s blog :P), we headed back to our hotel. in my first Baguio experience, Burnham Park is now very utilitarian, commercial. you go there because you have to go somewhere else. it’s a sad, sad idea that i wish isn’t true.

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a wreath for Burnham

the construction i mentioned earlier would seem to be part of the rehabilitation of Burnham Park! in that case, i look forward to this and hope that the redevelopment would include proper zoning of the adjacent buildings and maintain the relaxed atmosphere of the park.

it’s a monument. it’s a benchmark. it’s something surveyors need when measuring land and elevations. it’s a nerd engineer thing when you smile and take a picture of these unassuming monuments on streets and you understand what they are. they could also be nice places for you to take a picture of and locate with a GPS and know where you’ve really been and not just a name of a place. ๐Ÿ™‚ so, you know, i was at 16ยฐ 24.800′, 120ยฐ 35.524′ at some point in time.

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cafe by the ruins is good!

fresh from the bus, A and i went to our hotel to drop-off our things and we crossed our fingers that some of the people might have checked-out early so we could sleep better than we did in the bus. no one checked out yet, unfortunately but we were allowed to leave our big bags and begin our tour.

IMG_1733-1200we asked the front desk what were the things we could visit nearby so we didn’t have to just sit and wait in the hotel lobby. they immediately pointed us to Cafe by the Ruins.

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baguio just in the nick of time

i’ve never been to baguio.

does it come as a shock to you? well, my officemates thought so. my wife thought so. but i didn’t have the urge to go anywhere near baguio. well, not until early this year.

i just saw a friend on facebook post his pictures of baguio. then the weather was already cool in the metro. this made me wonder how much colder would it be there in the highlands of baguio… i was curious and that’s what got me looking at sites and blogs and things about baguio. and i wanted to go there. now.

i’m the type of traveler who just wants to ‘wing it’. i think we Pinoys call it “biglaang lakad”. i really think they are more fun than planned trips to somewhere with an itinerary. during my college years when i still used to party (tugs, tugs, tugs!), we just said, “hey, let’s have coffee in tagaytay!” and so we did. left at 2AM, had coffee, was back in manila by 4AM. and when i started working, i met other people who’d always do the same! ahhh, good times.

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but baguio is different. you can’t just go and expect to find a place to stay that’s nice and comfy just like that. you prepare. and so my ever-reliable partner in crime booked us rooms at the Hotel Cosmopolitan whilst i booked the bus. 2AM was the best they could offer since it was just 3 days before the weekend we were traveling.

i barely got sleep on the bus, as expected, but at the 2nd ‘wiwi-break’ bus stop in Pangasinan at 6AM, the weather was freakishly cold! and when we reached the terminal, baguio was so cool (and dry) even at 8 in the morning! it was actually quite pleasant to feel the sun on your face!

fast forward to last night, i heard news of how disappointed people were who went up to baguio for the long weekend. they complained of the not-so-cool weather and how they couldn’t be so ‘fashown’ and wear jackets and boots. with the fur! ๐Ÿ˜‰ but the wifey and i did. except the boots.

being the evil person that i was, i had my Schadenfreude moment when i heard that report.ย  ๐Ÿ˜€

that trip, not as spontaneous as my other ‘biglaang lakad’ is now, in hindsight, one of the most fulfilling trips i’ve had. because we didn’t really plan as well as we did. because we seized the moment in a regular weekend and not wait for a longer weekend. and we decided to stay longer, which made our trip a little more expensive but worth the comfort and the time spent there. and we got the cool weather we wanted just in the nick of time. ๐Ÿ™‚

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