Ever since I discovered Sagada and the surrounding areas in the Cordilleras, Baguio has meant nothing more than a stop to refuel a grumbling stomach, buy some stuff for the people back in Manila, or a transport hub. Sad because in my childhood we always looked forward to Baguio for its cool climes, greenery, and delicious pasalubong.
Through the years, Baguio has turned from greenish highland retreat to greyish concrete jungle. There are still no real high-rsies (god forbid!) but the surrounding hills seem to be cloaked more and more by houses rather than grass. Pollution from public transportation choke your lungs. Session Road is no longer the bohemian place to be. Gone are the bars that nurtured a whole generation of local bands and singers. In its place are fast-food chains and clothes shops competing space with ukay-ukay.
The last time I was in Baguio for a short break and actually stayed and slept there was during Lent a couple of years ago. It was utterly horrible! The streets are crowded with people and vehicular traffic and it was just so hot! Never ever again!
I was in Baguio from Tue-Wed this week for a short Christmas outing with the company head office. There were no crowds and there was a more local feel to the place. Even at the Baguio Country Club where we stayed, there weren’t much people. By the way, the buffet breakfast was delicious!
If you’ve been to Baguio once, you’ve been to it forever. There really wasn’t anything new to see nor do except to just stroll around and eat. Burnham Park was surprisingly quiet with only a few people having a picnicking or boating. We did go to Camp John Hay but only as far as The Manor and the px shops as we just walked from the club. On the way out, we had to wait several minutes as some golfers were teeing-off. I wonder how it feels to have a golf ball slam on your face. Must be really painful.
Lunch was at Rose Bowl which had since transferred to Gen. Luna st. We had hototay, fried chicken, lechon kawali, pansit canton, lumpiang shanghai, and ampalaya with beef. For Chinese food, it was quite bland. Disappointing.
Tragic best sums up Mines View Park. At least as recent as a couple of years ago, there was still a view to be had. But the souvenir and photo stalls seems to have taken-over the place. As you make yourself down to the viewing platform your are then regaled with magnificent views of the countryside overrun by houses. You can even see the road. It’s no different from the view you get at SM. We did have fun at one of the photo stalls where you can get dressed in Cordillera garb and have your photo taken. Others had theirs with one of the St. Bernards.
We dropped by Good Shepherd for the mandatory foodies to bring home. I skipped all the bottled stuff and bought some torta, ensaymada, and potato bread. Nothing fantastic. I remember the torta to be really good and soft when I first tried it way back. It was buttery soft and really yummy. It was still tasty but the texture was dry like an old monay.
Really delicious is the cassave cake at Everything Nice a small bakeshop-cafe near the entrance of John Hay. Soft, smooth, and milky—it’s the best cassava cake I’ve ever tasted 🙂