Sunday, May 6, 2012

Turns out, an unplanned trip on what felt like the ends of the earth while sitting on a moving vehicle for 8 whole hours was just what I needed to cap off an unbelievably boring vacation month of April. Welcome to Baguio City! Known to be the City of Pines (which SM is hell-bent on destroying) and City of 24-Hour Air-conditioning.

It was the middle of summer yet we were in our jackets. This. Is. So. Cool. Literally.

So hours (and 2,000 php worth of gas) later, after traversing the whole of NCLEX and SCTEX, the never ending one-lane roads of Tarlac (I get a mini-heart attack whenever we're about to overtake a slow moving vehicle) and going up the winding roads to the city proper of Baguio, we finally got our first whiff of fresh cool air.

We were tourists in every sense of the word, asking for directions at every encountered intersection. We went to all the touristy places and bought touristy Baguio key chains. Here's the experience told in the most mocking way possible (a.k.a. the way I normally write everything).

The Mansion / Wright Park

Pretty. There it is, the summer getaway palace of the president, demurely introduced to all by that inconspicuous sign in the middle of a lawn telling you that you are indeed outside "THE MANSION". What a joy for dyslexics. 

Some clicking of the camera. Okay, there's nothing really left to do. Let's move on.

Wright Park, on the same hand, feels completely, well, the same. Oh look, there's a tree, some flowers... oh joy, a shrub! I think you've noticed by now that I'm not a huge fan of plants. I mean, I appreciate their role in the ecosystem but to gaze at them with awe and admiration is something you would not catch me doing. 

Oh, and the fountain water looks funky.

Mine's View Park

I didn't know what to expect when we were finding our way to the famed park. I just knew there was going to be some spectacular view ala that Tagaytay picnic ground area I forgot the name of. Anyway, there were plenty to look at, alright.

Bags, sandals, endless key chains and ethnic-looking figurines. Flavored corn on a cup worth 30 freakin' pesosPink horses everywhere and a couple of huge St. Bernards in sunglasses. Adorable! Must find a way to smuggle that dog inside the car. Oh, and there's a "viewing deck" filled with people with cameras. Us included. Okay, it doesn't matter that people can die from the tumultuous trek down to the area if they can witness this kind of scenic view... a view so... so foggy you can almost feel like a goddess in the clouds looking down serenely at those foolish mortals in the metropolis baking under the heat of the sun and relentless humidity.

Camp John Hay / Butterfly Farm

Finally, a place in the City of Pines with actual unadulterated pine trees. The place is gorgeous but it lacks the excitement of more populated tourist destinations in the city. Aside from posh-looking conyo kids having overpriced coffee at Starbucks, there are only golfers in white looking all rich and mighty. I almost expected to see Chief Justice Renato Corona taking a swing or Pacquiao training in the distance.

The Butterfly Farm is another story. Nestled in the middle of a seemingly barren piece of wilderness, you have to brace yourself and pray for courage because it looks like a homeless person's house (if that makes sense to you).

You will be greeted by an enthusiastic caretaker/tour guide which will share nice-to-know facts about butterflies in an amusing accent and act as a professional photographer afterwards, putting butterflies in your hair and face for useful Facebook primary photo shots. Honestly, that man will single-handedly save the experience from being a boring 10-step tour around a greenhouse searching desperately for shivering butterflies hiding in corners (butterflies thrive in warm weather, so we're told).

Strawberry Farm, La Trinidad, Benguet

What would a trip to Baguio be without strawberries? So we went straight to the source of all the berry hype in La Trinidad, Benguet, half an hour ride away from Baguio town proper.

It was the most fun I've had surrounded by plants in a long time. This time, I didn't mind the endless strawberry stalls around the farm proper (vast fields of nothingness scares me). Young sister got to pick our own berries from kilometers of strawberry plants and I got to snap numerous shots of fields and of myself looking like a blue-blooded haciendera with over-sized sunglasses on worth 50 php straight from a mall stall and a designer umbrella. Notice the irony. be continued.

Part II:


Titus said...

Sarap mag Baguio ulit.... ang init na kasi!!!

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