Destinations Magazine

Baguio: It Does Not Matter How Slowly You Go

By Killerfillers @killrfillr
The first time I went to City of Pines was way back when I was 6 years old.  I can’t barely remember the places we went through as my mother and I have somewhat limited time to roam. We were actually there just to buy vegetables (repolyo,sayote,Baguio beans) that we would  be selling on our rundown store in the public market of Candon,Ilocos Sur.  Even with the short  period of having been there, the memories of wide open parks amidst the towering pine trees and chilly weather somewhat tells me that I should visit this place again.
Two decades later  I eventually got married, have kids of my own, went to different parts of the country and a bit of the world and still my chances of going Baguio seem solittle. Despite having relatives there and cheap round-trip tickets, I can’t seem to close off my  chances of exploring Baguio.  Then a favorable circumstance happened and a trip to Baguio push through – my in-laws were invited to attend a wedding in Baguio . As soon as I heard this I told them to tag along the whole family.
It was midweek when we drive to Baguio. The good thing of  going here on a midweek is that there weren’t many tourist while the bad thing is I already used my 3 VL early this year. We took the Kennon entry point and enjoyed scenic view plodding  the zigzag roads amidst the mountains and hills. It was my first time to see the Lions Head in the flesh. And just like most of the first timers do, I get out of the vehicle and run relentlessly to snap a picture of the iconic landmark in Baguio.
As we ply the main roads of Baguio in search of our temporary abode for the next 3 days, I was surprised how urbanized Baguio has become – it was traffic everywhere. Probably a sign of progress or the city just became too crowded.  Not familiar with the city thoroughfares we dwindled time in search of the Bloomfield Villa.  It was a nice gesture for the hotel staff to guide us and finally we’re settled for the first day.
The Next 3 Days
The first day is sort of a reunion for the in-laws, and we basically baby sit our two kids who never seem to run out of energy. Me and the wife we’re supposed to try the nightlife in Baguio but 1030PM came in and sleep doesn’t seem a vocabulary for the kids.
Early morning on our  second day, I convinced my eldest to search for the strawberry taho. He’s a 6-year old boy who has an insatiable cravings for anything sweet.  Our feet took us to Pink Sisters, hoping that we’d stumbled into a taho vendor along the way we just rest and get back in the villa to catch our breakfast. It was around 10AM when we started visiting Baguio’s notable parks. Wright Park was the first stop. What can I say it was a bit disappointing. The place is disgusting from the horses poop and urine that seemed to stick in your clothes. The place needs a major makeover and hope that whoever ‘s in charge there do something about it. If not for the Mansion and strawberry taho our second day would have been a forgetful one.
We follow up our Baguio jaunt on a short drive to Mines View Park.  My wife who happened to frequent  Baguio every summer in her younger years said to me that most of the places in Baguio has lost their charm through the years. Take the Mines View Park for instance, the place is now crowded with vendors selling overpriced souvenirs in  the whole area. I left feeling bad for the two horses whose hairs were colored with pink that were set up for photo ops. Still the view from the deck is  but lacking in safety railings. One slip and down the cliff you fall.
If it’s any consolation we went back to Bloomfield and treated to a home cooked lunch comprised of papaitanand chop suey. We we’re actually told by the relatives to attend the wedding even though we’re not invited but beg off for the reason that we didn’t prepare enough. The venue of the wedding is Baguio Cathedral. Just by looking at the facade of the Gothic-inspired architecture one would be filled with awe with its rosy pink color and two pointed belfries.
We kept on the move and trudge the busy Session Road to catch sight of Burnham Park. It was an easy  breezy walk going to the famous park. The weather was perfect. We’d love to try the boats on  the man-made lagoon but it’s undergoing renovation that time. The kids were satisfied running around the not so manicured lawns. It’s nice to see people gather around enjoying their impromptu picnics. We stayed there for an hour when a sudden drizzle came and made us go back to the Baguio Cathedral where our car is park. 
The wife got sick the rest of the day after the slight change in weather and that pretty sums up our second day.
Before we bid goodbye to the city of pines we went to  Camp John Hay savor our last day. We drive through the sprawling acres of Camp John Hay and thanks to the cool breeze of Baguio we let our windows down. I love this place. I think it’s the only place where I truly appreciate Baguio’s charm (not crowded and no traffic).
While there are things that baffled my expectations of Baguio. Heck I wouldn’t wait another decade or not even a year to go back to Baguio.

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