Warning: A long and photo overloaded post ahead.
:: December 21 – 24 ::
Even though we were tired from the wedding we attended the night before and felt like we’d just fallen asleep, we were forced to wake and get up at about 3 AM of December 21. The husband, together with the boys of the family, right away started preparing for the trip, checked and boarded the luggage inside the van. By 4 AM we were all dressed up and ready except for the two babies (Kylie and Asher) who were still in deep slumber. I was able to change Asher’s outfit while he’s asleep and wasn’t awakened by my prods and nudges as I clothed him. He just woke up when I carried and brought him downstairs. By the way, do notice our terno brag shirts. We set out and hit the road at 4:30 AM. We stopped over at Jollibee Baliuag to eat breakfast before continued for a long drive.
We passed via the new Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) from Dau exit along NLEX and in just a few minutes, we were already exiting at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. And just a few more hours later, we finally reached Manaoag. We intended to do a pilgrimage and pay homage to the Our Lady of Manaoag before heading to Baguio since we’d pass by it along the way anyway. We were late for the Mass so we just lighted candles, offered prayers and said our special intentions then waited for the blessing. Since it was a Sunday, we expected that people would flock inside the Church so we had to push ourselves just to get inside on the Blessing part. The husband raised Asher up in the air when the priest blessed our way so his face was wet and he seemingly took a bath when he leveled him down. We couldn’t wait for the next mass anymore since we’d run late for the trip up to Baguio. We just bought a few religious stuffs in the store then have it blessed as well as the van.
The priest had a little chitchat with MIL so he also got to bless again the two babies.
We then set out again on the road but stopped at a Chowking resto in La Union for lunch. We thought of just having our lunch in Baguio but everyone’s so hungry na so we opted to eat in La Union.
From La Union, I knew that in an hour or less, we’d already be in Baguio since we chose to pass via the steep but a shorter Kennon Road (compared to Marcos Highway). Truly and before we know it, we saw the big Lion’s head. With the cool breeze up in the mountains, we knew then that we are finally in the cool City of Pines.
We arrived at Baden Powell Inn at around 2 PM. Their tagline “your home in Baguio” was truly apt since its cozy and homey feel made our stay comfortable as if we were in our own homes. Its style may be far from that of a luxurious hotel in las vegas but the amenities of the suite we stayed at were cozy and convenient. You might remember my post about my impression some time September upon booking it and as I’ve promised, I’ll dedicate a separate entry for my review. So upon arriving and while the boys unloaded the luggage off the van, Asher and I just rested and lazed around. Remember my last minute purchase Baby Leg Warmers? Glad that I’ve bought it as they came handy and very useful to warm the legs of the little one. The cool weather when we arrived wasn’t that freezing but it’s cold enough for Manilenos like us especially to babies so I made sure to keep him feel warm all the time. Tired from the long trip, we just rested in the hotel throughout our first noon and night in Baguio.
We got up and readied early the next day. We took our free breakfast at the Ayuyang Bar. I enjoyed sipping my cup of hot chocolate with the natural cool morning breeze coming in from the veranda while taking in a view that overlooks the city. The bar speakers were blaring loud with refreshing mellow country songs.
We then set out to our first destination: Camp John Hay. Unfortunately, we were not that familiar with the branching routes inside the camp so we didn’t wander far and we just decided to hang around and play at the Mini Golf Course. We paid the entrance fee of Php 80/pax then started golfing within the 18-hole mini-course. It’s my first time ever to play golf and I could say that I’m pretty good or should I say a good “chambalera”. I didn’t get to shoot a “hole in one” but I rarely had more than 3 shots throughout the 18 holes. Partida, I couldn’t concentrate that well because in between shots, I took care and carried the little one. The skies were clear and Mr. Sun was up but the cool breeze compensated the heat it blared. Thanks to a very nice weather, Paul and I were so fascinated with the overly nice shots of Nikky. We were two giddy shutterbugs then.
At around lunchtime, we went back to the inn to eat lunch. Since the suite has a kitchen equipped with complete cooking utensils and dinnerware, MIL just cooked our meals and so we were able to save big time on food. We just rested for a while then headed to the Wright Park. Asher probably enjoyed the cool weather so much that he slept as soon as we left the inn until the time that we left the Wright Park. So all throughout and while his Ninong Kevin and cousin Miggy rented and rode horses, he was asleep in his umbroller. Wala tuloy siyang nakitang horse.
We then later went to Mines View Park at around late noon. We shopped in the souvenir stores first before we went inside the park. We bought Asher a knitted vest, 2 Baguio sandos, a picnic mat (for our Boracay trip), and a knitted beachwear that I can wear over my 2-pc swimsuit for our Bora getaway. We then ate hotdog on sticks for a little merienda then went to the viewing deck of the Mines View Park. It was definitely cold up there but the dusk scenery was perfect. Too bad we forgot the tripod (and we haven’t mastered the correct night cam settings) thus, some of the pics were blurry.
Just before darkness totally hovered us, we left and went home. Paul went to nearby SM (a 10-min walk from the inn) after dinner to withdraw some money and buy me my much coveted piece of Chona’s Delight Cake at Teahouse Cakeshop. This is the yummiest chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. Even better and way cheaper than that of local known bakeshops (costs Php 105/smallest container size). I came to know about this through a former colleague of mine. Everytime she goes to Baguio, this is the only pasalubong that we wish for and so I vowed to buy plenty when we get to Baguio. Paul went home with 5 cylinders of such to my delight.
Like Day 2, we started Day 3 early for another city tour day. After breakfast, our destination was the Grotto. We’d love to start and climb from the bottom steps but it’s overly exhausting to do so with two babies in tow. So we went straight to the top, lighted candles, and offered prayers and flowers to the Lady.
Then next, we proceeded to Bell Church (near La Trinidad). Actually it was a toss between PMA and the Bell Church but the whole family (except me and MIL) hasn’t been to the latter so there we went. It’s a Taoist Temple with beautifully designed arches and buildings adorned with flags, bells and dragons, a pagoda and landscaped gardens — a typical attractive and colorful oriental architecture. And what do you do with such beautiful and breath taking scenery…meditate and of course, picture taking.
We went home for lunch, napped a little (while hubby and his siblings went to the market to shop for pasalubongs) then spent the rest of the noon at the nearby Burnham Park. We rented two boats and sailed for an hour, I think. The little one enjoyed it so much especially if he sees his Lolo Jun (who’s aboard in the other boat) nearby or if he sees them approaching. While Miggy went biking afterwards, hubby and I engaged in a food trip. We feasted over hot and freshly cooked street foods like tukneneng (fried quail eggs wrapped with flour), squid balls, kikiam and taho.
After dinner at the inn, we were supposed to go malling and have some night city sightseeing at the top deck of SM Baguio but the little one was so sleepy already. Later on, I craved for balut so I asked the husband to accompany me and scour for such outside. MIL watched over the sleeping little one. Since we couldn’t find any along Gov. Pack Road, we just went to a nearby Computer shop to sneak in online for a few minutes. I quickly browsed my email and twitted. Since I still craved for balut, we went on searching on the other side of the road and luckily we spotted one. Went home then started packing for our trip back home the next day.
Our last day in Baguio. We just ate our breakfast, checked out at 9 AM then drove back to Manila.
The trip was a bit tiring but definitely fun and memory filled.
Next: Holiday Recap – Part 4 (Christmas Day)