It was during the Christmas holidays a couple of years ago when I and my family had a vacation in Baguio City for almost a week. I think this is the very first family vacation I had that’s more than 3 hours-drive away from home. Haha. .
My dad used to be too lazy to travel during my younger years and he used to complain when we wanted to go somewhere far. . I guess he hated both long drives and long sitting as a passenger, we got no choice. hehe. . Now that we’re grown ups (with jobs!), and all of his daughters are really into travelling, he’s the one who didn’t had a choice. . Haha. . I used to say that his daughters, including myself of course, seems having our asses salted (inaasinan ang pwet!) if asked to stay home on long weekends and holidays. . We just feel so restless! hehe. .
Since we were travelling with the oldies, I prepared an itinerary that’s not too exhausting for mom and dad and not too boring for my 2 younger sisters. We stayed at Hotel Veniz in downtown which, I must say, is in a very good location. Enumerated below are what we’ve done to enjoy the Summer Capital of the Philippines! We forgot our cameras though (urgh!) so we just used our phones to take shots.
1. Strawberry Picking and trying strawberry Taho. One can pick unlimited strawberries but must buy it before exiting the farm. At the exit gate, someone is waiting to weigh all the strawberries you picked and you’ll pay there. I think mom really enjoyed this since she’s the one who loved fruits. To her delight, she even ate the strawberries without washing it first, she just can’t wait (i know it can be disgusting). . haha. . Taho, warm soft soya with sweet syrup and sago pearls, is a Filipino delicacy that is usually enjoyed in the morning. Taho with preserved strawberries in the syrup is what makes it unique in Baguio City. You should try it too. . Yum yum!
2. Make your mom enjoy the flowers and plants in Botanical Gardens. Again, this one is for moms. . Hehe, she wished it was our backyard. I bet if our backyard was as sumptuous as that, she’ll get tired maintaining it and complain that nobody helps her in the house chores. . haha, I love you mom!
3. Row a boat and ride a bicycle in Burnham Park. This is the point where you test your dad’s strength at his 50’s. I’m sorry dad, you had no son to help you, and all your daughters are physically weak (and soooooo prima donna) to row the boat. He still got it though (like Rambo, hihi) but I guess I will not let him do that next time. hehe. . Riding a bike brought me back to my younger years when I still enjoy playing with my sisters on the streets. Mama never learned to bike even she tried many times before so she can only sit at the sidecar.
4. Take pictures at The Mansion and Wright Park Riding Circle. Who doesn’t want to ride a pony with pink hair at the Wright Park?! Me!! haha. . But my youngest sister loved it to the moon and back. 🙂 The Mansion House is an official home for the President of the Philippines that’s located just across the Wright Park.
5. Rappel at Camp John Hay. I let mom and dad be kids again! They enjoyed the zip line and the rappelling. Camp John Hay is a base built during the American regime for the American soldiers to rest. The bombing of this reserve by the Japanese forces was said to have fired up the start of the World War II. At present, Camp John Hay serves as a luxurious (if I may say) recreational area but is now open for all. . 🙂
6. Find your courageous relatives’ (if you have) pictures at the Philippine Military Academy. I think daddy dreamed of becoming a soldier when he was younger so he was very enthusiastic to visit PMA. We went to see a small museum and saw pictures of our uncles on daddy’s side at the hall of graduates. We enjoyed the wideness of the institution but with the absence of the students (because it was Christmas holidays). I think it would be better if we saw the students doing military exercises in the field, hehe. . Dad and my sisters loved the hollow army tanks, it was my dad’s playground. . hehe. .
7. Explore the night market at Session Road. Bazaar Bazaar. . Bazaar and night markets have been a Filipino custom during feasts and holidays specially during Christmas season. People don’t mind to dive unto the swarm of people just to get the best bargains while it lasts. Night markets in Baguio are set up at the popular Session Road.
8. Learning at Tam-awan Village. This attraction showcases the artistry of the native people of Cordillera. Not sure whether the artworks there were authentically made by the ethnic group or just an interpretation of city people on how the mountain locals live. Whatever it is, I think it is the best place in Baguio where one can have a deeper understanding of the lifestyle and craftsmanship of these indigenous people.
9. Be amazed by Filipino works of art at BenCab Museum. BenCab Museum, approximately an hour from Hotel Veniz, houses the paintings and sculptures of the Filipino artist Benedicto Cabrera, hence the name. I have not been to a lot of art museums but I must say that BenCab is really really talented. It’s just difficult for me though to depict what is actually portrayed in the painting. I guess i have no skill for that. hehe. . I love how this 4-storey establishment is surrounded by lush green environment. The location is just so awesome – away from the crowded busy downtown with the view of the mountains on your way.
10. Wear an ethnic attire at Mines View. If you wanna get the best view of the highlands and mountain rolls and have this chill (literally) when the cold wind blows, I think Mines View is the best spot. It also has a lot of souvenir shops. We got the chance to wear Igorot (ethnic group in mountainous region of the northern part of the Philippines) attire for souvenir photos too. Say cheese!
13. the stairway to heaven – Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. Panata. . Need I say more? You’ll need to climb up ~250 stair steps to reach to the grotto and offer Our Lady of Lourdes flowers and lit candles up and pray up there. Roman Catholics will not miss the opportunity to drop by the grotto when visiting Baguio City.
I’m so grateful I had the opportunity and resources to take my family out-of-town for vacation. I pledge to bring them to tourist spots every year and shoulder most if not all of the expenses so they could also understand the subtle pleasure I get when I travel. . They should take advantage of me while I’m still single. . haha. .