• Mags Rafael-Salvador

Baguio Feels in September

Updated: Apr 29


Baguio always have a soft spot in my heart. This September, we made a lot of firsts on our escapade going north. Our youngest son Cyrus was chosen as representative for their school, and it was a good opportunity for us to bond and spend some family time. My husband Rey and I has been to Baguio countless number of times but always on a commute, this time he volunteered to drive up North. At fist I was hesitant, you see I don’t know how to drive and it might be tiring to go on driving for almost 250kms per way on his own. So, I provide company and stories of about anything and everything.

We left a little late, around 9am from Mindanao avenue exit to NLEX (North Luzon Expressway). The road was good and straight without much of a challenge until TPLEX (Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union Expressway), then onwards to Baguio. We chose to use Marcos Highway instead of Kennon Road because we learned that although Kennon Rd will take us to Baguio faster, the roads are a bit tighter and there are reported landslides along the way. So, safety first, even though it will take us additional 30 minutes through Marcos Highway we opted to take it still.

Arrived Baguio at a little after 130pm, we proceeded to the Teacher’s Camp where my son and his classmates were staying. Late lunch at Zio’s Pizzeria, food was good, though preparation took them for about 30 minutes even if we were just a handful eating there at the time. Not much bonding moments with my son and the kids as they were all busy with leadership training and competition so me and husband kept ourselves busy revisiting some interesting spots in Baguio. Weather is nice, not too cold and not too hot. Surprisingly, there were no or limited rains the entire time we’re there.

We wanted to avoid touristy stops but we were not able to do much research to learn about what’s new and what’s hot while in Baguio so in the end, we visited the Mansion House and Mines View Park.

It saddens me to see that nothing much has changed, only a lot more people visiting these areas. Mines View Park really needs a re-building program, the viewing deck is near to collapsing. The main roof badly needs repair, the view not that amazing anymore as some mountains are without much greens already. But, I love their souvenir stores. It still has the most unique wood carvings, knitted clothes and all other items the locals continue to produce to sell to tourist alike. I just hope that local tourism office in Baguio recognizes the need to implement programs for a more sustainable tourism development.

Interesting food venue, the “Sala” just in front of Teacher’s Camp. Food was superb, good cooking, hefty serving and cooked just right for my taste. Orders were on the range of Php 180 to Php 300 with some from the menu good for sharing. What’s attention-grabbing are all the artworks they hang to make up as their ceiling, very attractive and note worthy. There is also a fireplace and set up are sofa’s that makes it look homey with some board games that the millennials are actually making use of while we were there having dinner.

One Must-Do visit while in Baguio would be BenCab Musuem. A tour in the museum is on our top list, but we were only able to do this the day before we left for Manila. The museum features contemporary art of S' Benedicto Cabrera and alongside him, features other artists as well. On our visit there were artworks from Jon Petty John and Hadrian Mendoza which runs until 1st of October. Inside the museum is “Cafe Sabel” where you can have coffee or hot chocolate while overlooking an eco-trail and surrounding hills and mountains. BenCab Museum is located about 15 to 20mins away from town proper, it has museum feels, also a minimalist and there are wide spaces in between categories of exhibit. The facilities is nice and clean, there is an Entrance Fee of Php120 which I consider good value for money, truly there is love for artwork all over the place and the people were very helpful and accommodating.

The museum boasts of how talented Filipino artists are. You can tour around the four level museum which brings you impressive art work, they also do guided tours on schedule which varies so you have to ask the person in charge of reception how often it happens. The building itself is upon a cliff and far from the town proper. You can see from the verandah a good view of the mountains, the fog and rains when it happens. It would be better to hire a van going there and have them wait because of it's location, it's not frequented by public transport. We took about an hour and a half viewing the exhibit and taking pictures (allowed but no use of camera flash). There is an area for adult consumption only as it displays explicit paintings of nude photos and wood engraved woman and man in compromising positions. So if you have kids with you during the visit, let them roam around other areas instead.

Next stop, CJH. Of course a visit in Baguio is never complete without visiting Camp John Hay, this area truly depicts what Baguio should look like. Pine trees, cleanliness, fresh air, unlimited greens and a view of log cabins. There’s a mini duty free in the area where branded overruns are sold, stores with souvenir items and clothes shop available if you feel like shopping. We stayed there for overnight to get our much needed rest before heading back to Manila the next day.

Now that we’ve tried driving going there, hubby thinks we can actually do this in a yearly basis, next time hopefully with the whole fambam!


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