City of Pines: Baguio

I have always dreamt of visiting the famous City of Pines, Baguio; be able to experience its cold breeze and foggy mornings. So my boyfriend and I embarked on an unplanned journey to Baguio taking advantage of the long weekend. It’s actually our first long trip together, away from all the hassle of the metro; finally, we were able to spend our quality time together.

As first timers in Baguio, our main goal would be to visit the famous tourist’s spots and be able to see where the clouds touch the mountains. Since its only two days before our desired travel dates, we don’t have any itinerary or hotel reservation made; we only have our bus tickets which we reserved to avoid the hassle of being a chance passenger.

November 27 (Friday) is the day! Our supposedly 11:55PM trip to Baguio was late for 40mins. So to cut the long story short, it was around 12:30AM that we are finally bound to Baguio. We arrived around 7:00AM (Nov. 28 – Sat) and we immediately reserved seats for our trip back to Manila. Since we don’t have hotel reservations for our 3 days 2 nights stay, we headed to our company dormitory located at La Trinidad, Benguet. It’s one of the perks I get from working with the government; we have company dormitory from around the Philippines which is always open to accommodate its employees at a very low price.

(I will be providing you our actual itinerary of travel together with the expenses in a separate article)

Our first day in Baguio officially started around 11:00PM when we finally feel hungry and decided to go out to look for an affordable restaurant along session road. From La Trinidad, we take the jeepney bound to Bokawkan/Rizal Plaza; fare is only P10.00 (long-trip) that is a 15-20mins ride. Don’t be afraid of getting lost because the driver will drop you off right in front of Burnham Park where all the jeepney terminals going to different Baguio tourist’s spots are located.

So we take a short stroll along the very famous Burnham Park but we did not stay that long. After taking few shots of the park we headed back to the jeepney terminal bound to Mines View Park. Fare is P10.00 (long-trip).

After a 10-15 mins ride, we finally reached our first destination. Mines View is famous for its cheap pasalubong and souvenir stalls inside, the St. Bernard Dogs that you can take a picture with for P50.00 for 2 shots, you could also wear Igorot costumes and take pictures with it, and of course their view deck where you can see how the clouds kiss the mountains and let the cool breeze touches your face. Aside from what I have mentioned, there’s nothing much to see inside the park but if you’re looking for pasalubongs and souvenirs, I recommend this place since they’re a bit chipper than in Good Shepherd. But if you’re looking for quality goods, then Good Shepherd is the place to be (a little warning: prices in Good Shepherd is times two than the prices in Mines View).

(Mine’s View Deck)

After exploring the place, we started to feel hungry so we decided to just eat lunch on one of the food stalls in Mines View Park and bought few pasalubongs thinking ahead that we might not have time to go back on the next day to buy more pasalubongs. We did not stay for long in the place since the area is starting to get crowded and a lot of people are still coming, so instead, we started our walking tour off to “The Mansion”. It’s where our president resides if he’s in a vacation. From Mines View Park walk left straight ahead to intersection and upon reaching the waiting shed, turn right and walk straight then you’ll see just right in front of you the famous “The Mansion”; it’s a good 10-15mins walk. Luckily we were able to get inside the gates, take pictures and sit for a while on the benches. Soldiers were guarding the area and visitors can only stay at a specific place designated for picture taking.

After resting we headed up to Wright Park which is just right in front of The Mansion. It’s a nice place to take pictures and rest your feet from walking around. Aside from the cool breeze that’s really relaxing, you get to enjoy the view and appreciate how blessed Baguio is.

(Wright Park)

It was around 4:00PM when we decided to head home, so we walk straight down to the terminal and ride a jeepney bound to Burnham Park, and Burnham Park back to La Trinidad. We took a little nap, relax and freshen ourselves from longs walks.

We woke up at around 7:00PM and decided to go out for dinner. We explore the famous Session Road in search for food but stores close early in Baguio so we were not able to try one, instead we head to SM City Baguio (The only SM in the Philippines that is not air-conditioned) for our dinner. After dinner we take a short stroll along Session Road familiarizing the restaurant for tomorrow’s food trip and went directly to Baguio’s famous Night Market at Harrison Road which opens at around 9:00 PM. It’s too crowded in the place but isn’t that the joy of a night market? You can find a bunch of cheap second-hand clothes from shirts, jeans, to dresses and jackets and even street foods and cold beverages.

No need to be afraid of staying out late at night in Baguio because base on what I have observe, people in Baguio are more disciplined compared to those in in the metro; and because of this, I will write a separate review for Baguio and it’s locals.

So after we enjoyed our first night in Baguio, we have decided to head home by 11:30 PM and recharged our energies for tomorrow’s adventure.

Our second day started a little late; we decided to eat lunch at Jack’s just along Session Road. The restaurant is with a cozy and homey feel that serves several Filipino foods at a very affordable price. I love there waiters and waitresses on how they greet customers and serve; it’s also a plus points for them that although its lunch time, they serve food faster than other restaurants here in Manila.

After our satisfying lunch, we decided to visit Camp John Hay (CJH). Camp John Hay is where the famous Cemetery of Negativism lies. Since the cemetery is at the farthest left side of the Camp, try exploring first the area and enjoy the pine trees (haha).

Upon entering the Cemetery of Negativism and other places, you will be asked for an entrance fee (P60.00) for the maintenance of the area. It’s like a small village that houses the cemetery, bell house, secret garden and the oval. So your P60.00 will go a long way.

(Camp John Hay)

We go right straight to the Bell House where we found John Milton Hay’s memorabilia. We were given a chance to see his life before, the design of the house and his mini library. It was nice knowing his life and experiencing a little bit of his life through his memorabilia and the house itself.

Afte enjoying the view from the house’s balcony, we decided to look for the secret garden. It wasn’t that hard to be reach, it just takes a little walking.

The Secret Garden is a nice place to take a little rest from all the walking; it has a small gazebo and some picnic tables. I would rather sit quite in this place than in any other place of Camp John Hay (CJH). But if you’re into adventures, try the tree top adventure which is also inside the vicinity of CJH.

It was around 4:00 PM that we decided to go home to freshen up and nap for our nightly stroll. That night, we stayed out a little late than yesterday. We see to it that we get the best of Harrison Road’s night market. We bought few cardigans, tried several foods and enjoyed the cool breeze of Baguio at night since it would be our last night in Baguio for this trip.

We had an early breakfast the next day (Nov. 30) since we will be leaving by 3:30 PM. It was that morning that we decided to revisit Mines View Park and Good Shepherd for additional pasalubongs. And since we really fell in love with Jack’s, we decided to eat lunch there before going back to the dormitory to packed things.

It was a well spent long-weekend indeed. For just under P7, 000.00 budget for two, we were able to enjoy Baguio in three days and two nights.  I would have never thought that my dream of visiting the City of Pines would come true this year. I am thankful for my partner for always supporting me and joining me in my craziest and weirdest ideas.

If you have some questions, fell free to comment below. And don’t forget to follow. Thank you.

-End-

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