I spent a weekend in Baguio City last December. The Baguio trip was my friend, Hazel’s idea. She’d been telling us how much she wanted to go on a trip up north. But then the invite was extended to us. I’ve been to Baguio several times in the past – each time with different traveling companions – so when I was initially invited, I turned it down.
The strawberry taho – this was Hazel’s sales pitch to me when she asked me to go to join her and her daughter, Gab, in Baguio.
“Game na. Tara. Para may pic ka din with strawberry taho,” (Come on. Let’s go so you’ll have a photo with a strawberry Taho – soy pudding) she said to me over our chat in Facebook messenger. Ha! Ha!
Okay a lil’ backgrounder on that: My crush went to Baguio last year around late November I think. We found out about it through his IG story which began with a photo of a strawberry taho.
I wanted an adventure before the year 2017 ended so I said yes to Baguio. Hindi naman dahil talaga sa strawberry taho, okay! (It’s not really because of the strawberry Taho) Ha! Ha! Defensive?
The trip was an arranged group tour so we went to a lot of places in Baguio – some of which I’ve been to in the past like Mine’s View and Burnham Park – and some new ones.
First stop: The Bell Chinese Church
The place has intricate arches, bells and dragons. It also has a pagoda and a beautifully landscaped garden. This is a Buddhist temple. According to what I read, the place is flocked by foreign and Chinese locals alike on Chinese New Year and they visit the temple to pray for good fortune and health.
Second stop: Valley of Colors
This is a new attraction in La Trinidad. It’s a project by the Department of Tourism – Cordillera to promote a more sustainable tourism in the region. According to what I read, the mountain of houses used to be an eye sore so through the help of Tam-awan Village artists, the houses were painted and turned into this very Instagram-able place.
Third stop: The Strawberry Farm
It was my first time to ever eat strawberry taho. Masarap pala. We didn’t go strawberry picking since that’ll cost additional.
Fourth stop: Tam-awan Village
It’s a reconstructed place in Cordillera village where you’ll see Ifugao huts as well as some of Baguio’s arts and culture.
We witnessed this Ifugao folk dance while we were at Tam-awan.
Fifth Stop: Lourdes Grotto
I lit candles and said a prayer to Mama Mary. And yes, I climbed up the stairs that led all the way to the grotto.
Sixth Stop: The Old Diplomat Hotel
They say this place is haunted. It used to be a rest house and a seminary way back in 1911 before it was developed into a school and later on a hotel. They say numerous nuns and priests were beheaded in this place and employees and guests alike would see headless apparitions.
In this fountain area, they say babies and kids were also massacred and so it was common at night to hear strange noises like crying babies. That’s spooky alright!
But that’s not all. There was also a fire that razed the hotel many years ago wherein some guests were trapped inside and died. To add to its already dark past? There was also a nurse who committed suicide by jumping off the roof top. I got all these juicy tidbits here.
When I was there, the place just looked abandoned but not creepy. And no, I didn’t hear any strange noises nor did I see any ghosts. I guess it was still early. Not naman na naghahamon ako makakita or makaramdam! Truth is I actually don’t believe in the paranormal stuff. I give reasoning to everything! But I am intrigued by it somewhat. I like ghost stories. And a part of me is game to do ghost hunting – – part lang kasi scared din ako. Ha! Ha! I may not believe it 100% but I certainly don’t want to tempt fate in case totoo nga.
The first day of the trip was fun and super tiring! And when night time came, the temperature had dropped lower making it super cold in Baguio! So I made it through the first day of the tour and after getting some much needed rest, I woke up with enough energy for another round of tours and picture taking and patience to deal with the rest of our tour mates.
First stop: Teachers Camp
Another place in Baguio that I heard is also haunted. It used to be a training camp for American teachers in 1908. I don’t know why it’s haunted but according to stories, guests staying in the place would often hear a lady crying in one of the cottages; footsteps walking along the hallway and some say there’s a headless priest and a white lady haunting the place.
It doesn’t look haunted honestly. In fact, the place is so picture worthy! But again, perhaps it is a different story when night time comes around.
Second stop: Botanical Garden
Third stop: Wright Park
Fourth Stop: The Mansion
The Mansion is the official summer palace of the President of the Philippines. I think this is kind of like the Camp David version of US.
This ube taho is lurrrrrve! While I liked the taste of strawberry taho, this ube flavored one delighted my sweet tooth more. This was also my first time to try ube. I didn’t want to try it out initially because I’m not a fan of ube but there was an abundance of taho vendors in the area and so hot taho on a cold night plus hunger pangs resulted in me eating this ube flavored one.
Last stop: Philippine Military Academy
So finally we had just one more stop before we were set to go back to Manila! I also remember staying around the area of PMA when I was a kid. I think someone from my family had a friend there so that’s where we stayed. It was raining non stop that time and so it was really cold. Safe to say I did not have good memories of PMA after that!
But a second visit to the place years later changed that. PMA’s actually a beautiful and so peaceful. Everyone else was taking photos around the tanks displayed but who cares about war vehicles when there’s this beautiful scenery?
So that’s my Baguio weekend adventure. Question now: Would I do it again? Absolutely!
And so that wraps up my Baguio weekend adventure. Next stop: Iloilo 2018!
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