August 2016: Baguio, City of Pines

I committed myself to do better on this blog but I just kept on failing. My drafts were accumulating and I’m thinking of taking this down but – all of the posts will go to waste so yes, here I am reviving this because I do like to keep an online thing… The millennial in me. Haha!

Let me resurrect this blog by posting Raymar and I’s little adventure at the City of Pines – Baguio City!

Before the actual kwento, let me just share an awesome fact about me and Raymar. As some of you may have seen, I always do a hashtag for me and Raymar which is #TeamRiRay which some find annoying and sweet. Woot! Anyway, it was coined by my super loved professor Ms. Rachelle Rodriguez, whom is with our dear creator now – Ms. Rache! I miss you… When she found out that me and Raymar was a thing, she started combining our names and called us as TeamRiRay – Riye and Raymar together and told me that I should introduce our love team as RiRay. So up until now, I use it to address me and Raymar together. Now that you know, please don’t be annoyed by the hashtag anymore…. Haha!

Raymar and I have been very eager to take a break and travel – thus we had a barkada travel to Bicol earlier this year – but you know, travel with just the two of us because its going to strengthen our relationship… Arte! So after endless dreaming of travelling together, week before or after my birthday (Can’t remember), Raymar did asked me to go either Batangas or Baguio (I suggested Baguio because it was rainy season thus Batangas won’t suit the weather) and I said yes HOWEVER, we both have to ask our parents if they’ll allows us to travel alone with each other alone… Obviously, the madaldal in me made kwento to my mommy and she immediately said yes too with one major problem “Will daddy allow me to go” At first I was hesitant because I knew he would say no but there’s no harm in trying. So Raymar asked him and he immediately replied with – “Give me 2 days to think it through” and I’m like – “What? There’s no way he’ll allow me!” With much prayers, novena and I have called all the saints for intercession, after 2 days, daddy said YES and he trusts that we’ll both be responsible enough… YAHOOO!!

Right at the time daddy said yes, I immediately drafted our itinerary! EXCITED! Our next hurdle was the weather, Raymar and I knew that if the weather will be bad, we’ll have to reschedule our trip but luckily God was so good that we had a fairly nice weather right before we left for Baguio!

Our itinerary was full and I researched all the best spots to visit in Baguio excluding those we have visited before syempre. I even asked Ms. Aine, my colleague turned tita ninang from RLC who regularly visits Baguio about her own tips and spots to visit. Needless to say, I was so prepared on the trip, I researched on spots, food trips, where to get and buy, hotels and familiarize on the map too – Is that too much? 😛

We left Antipolo at about 12AM to 1 AM of August 23, 2016 with so much excitement – Raymar even had cold feet on the way maybe he’s both excited and scared too!

We took NLEX – SCTEX -TPLEX for a better and smoother ride to Baguio. We had multiple stops as well since Raymar was the only one driving (Yes, I know, I should start knowing how to drive) thus he needs sleep and rest and I was up all the time because I need to keep him awake too unless we stop and take a little rest.

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Welcome to Benguet Province!

Since the weather was so forgiving, Raymar decided that we take Kenon Road which was what I requested too as I never had a photo with the famous Lion head – Is that a petty request but hell I care, I’m in Baguio and I’m getting a photo at that Lion Head! Hahaha!

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And so here’s the photo! Excuse the we-just-woke-up-photo-thus-were-swollen face!

Right after the Lion Head photo we head on to eat breakfast as Raymar was hungry as hell!

As it was recommended by many, we looked for Cafe by The Ruins and thanks to Kumareng Waze, we were able to locate it in no time!

 

It was such a lovely restaurant to start our Baguio Trip.  It was airy, cold and homey! I ordered myself a massive spicy bangus and Raymar got his longanissa which by the way was served with egg and their amazing rice to complete our scrumptious breakfast.

Price Range was on the high side for a breakfast. Ranging from 300 to 350 per breakfast meal but believe me, it was very sulit! Probably the best meal I ate during this trip.

Price – Steep. Taste – EXCELLENT!

After our meal, we proceed with our itinerary as planned.

We went to Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto and no, we didn’t climbed to the top because the parking was half way through already. It was super sunny so it was a perfect morning to catch the sun rays and the cold breeze of Baguio! Selfies!

On our way back to the car, we were told that we can see the diplomat hotel which was like 5 to 10 mins away from Grotto. We were also told by the Kuya selling taho that strawberry picking is not an advisable activity since it isn’t in season and that the rainy weather will mean that the farm is muddy . Raymar also told me not go anymore even if I like to do it since I don’t care getting my hands dirty as long as I pick my own strawberries. Hay!

So yeah, we went to diplomat hotel.

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Diplomat Hotel

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It was just a quick stroll since we didn’t attempt to roam inside and feel the creeps of this old hotel… We’ve heard tons of scary stories about it already but honestly it was so clean around the area and there’s a church across it too so it doesn’t look scary at all.

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Artwork Selfie!
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Bencab Museum

Next stop was supposedly the Bencab Museum but much to our surprise, it was closed… I’m sure I’ve checked their schedule couple of times before leaving however it was closed for some renovations so we took a selfie nalang pero sayang parin! 😦

Bencab Museum is fairly far from the city proper, it was easy for us since we had car and that Kumareng Waze was so accurate and helpful but for those who are commuting, taxi cabs can go the area.

Anyway, since two of the major activity was off our itinerary already – Strawberry Picking and Bencab Museum – meaning we have so much time in our hands to take other activities slowly… Heading back to city proper, we stopped at Carver’s Village first, which was few minutes away from Bencab.

I got myself some pasalubongs for mommy and may I just say that this store was perfect for your “wood” finds plus its inexpensive too. If you are looking for unusual pasalubongs you can head to Carver’s Village!

Since we got a cool and sunny weather, Raymar decided that we go straight to Tree Top Adventure even if its scheduled on our second day, we had to take advantage of the good weather.

Random Selfies during the whole course.

We took the Canopy + Funicular Ride + and the best SUPERMAN RIDE!

All those 3 for 600 pesos per head and luckily we were able to avail 10% rainy season discount!

You may checkout their website here: http://www.treetopadventureph.com/

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Whew! That was super fun! Raymar did shouted with all his lungs out! Haha! And because we exerted a lot of effort, we are hungry! I made sure we stop by at “Choco-late de Batirol” within Camp John Hay as well and few turns away from where Tree Top Adventure was.

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Raymar ordered Kaldereta and I munched on their champorado de tuyo combination with the famous Chocolate De Batirol specialty drink. We were watching the Senate’s inquiry on extra judicial killings. This was a very political moment with Raymar.  Makibaka! Wag Matakot! Haha!

Price – Reasonable. Taste – Fair. This isn’t as amazing as what we had at Cafe by The Ruins but still if you want to try, go ahead!

After our Tree Top adventure and yummy pit stop at Chocolate De Batirol, we knew we had to get ourselves a hotel, yes, we went to Baguio with no hotel reservations since we knew that booking a hotel beforehand would mean too many restrictions to our schedule and also because we were confident that we can get ourselves a good hotel as it wasn’t peak season.

Raymar, surprisingly, was picky on where we will stay. He likes that the hotel was few minutes away form Burnham Park (This was his deciding factor, btw), has an aircon as most of the hotels in Baguio doesn’t have one, and lastly, safe parking area. As for me, my concern really was the parking, if the area is not safe for Raymar’s car, I wouldn’t want to stay there as well. I’ve read that though Baguio is fairly safe for tourist still I want to secure both me and Raymar and the car in a good place for the night.

It took us about 30 to 45 mins to look where we would want to stay. Most of the hotels have the off-season discount which was half the price of the normal prices. We went to different hotels within Burnham Park area, Raymar being the picky one, was responsible to checking the hotel and rates and I just stayed in the car. After much thought, we checked in Burnham Suites, where he originally wanted to checked in anyway! Haha!

Our room was only 2,500.00 pesos which originally was like 4,500.00 to 5,000.00 since it was near the Burnham Park. We were able to request for a room facing Burnham since there were few guests in the hotel anyway. Also, the parking was super safe, with guards on the entrance 24/7 and that it was underground too so we were sure that the car will be safe for the night. The room was super comfortable, big clean bed, clean hot and cold showers, air conditioned, cable TV, hair dryer, super fast internet and big windows! LUCKY US!!!

You can check out Burnham Suites here: http://www.burnhamsuitesbaguio.com/

We checked in around 2PM and Raymar decided to rest and sleep for a while then it is…

…dinner time! We went to SM Baguio to take our dinner and catch the sunset too.

We ate from a random Chinese restaurant and roam around the mall, there were a lot of people in the mall considering that was a weekday. That night, we were also set to get Raymar’s broom/sweeper/ walis tambo – nagtry pa kong ienglish eh! As you know, we can’t take away that this Mister is a businessman so we had to get something he can sell at their store. We walked towards Baguio’s wet market, most of the stalls were closed already but our persistent spirit did not lose hope and just right before an Ate close her store, we found her walis palace! Haha! We got about 5 bundles of walis that’s about 15 pieces for only 1100 in total. Praise my haggling skills please!

Since we were “mission accomplished” for the night, we headed back to the hotel where we watched a movie and then Raymar immediately went to sleep. He was such a sleeper!

Quick insert: This was our view during the night and I enjoyed it – A LOOOOT!

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Fog Everywhere!
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Fog = Cold Breeze = Happy Me!

So yeah, As for me, that wasn’t the case. I can’t barely sleep, namamahay! Raymar immediately went to sleep since he commits to wake up early and enjoy jogging at Burnham Park which fast forwarding to our next day…

HE DIDN’T! He was so earnest to book a place near Burnham Park for his morning jogging obsession but HE DID NOT! He woke up around 7AM or 8AM? I was expecting that he’ll be up by 5AM to start his jogging sesh but no, humihilik pa siya ng 5AM. Haha! He’ll kill me for including this here! Peace Yow!

Before we start our day, we need to fuel up. We drove to Burnham to see if there’s a restaurant that’s open during that early morning and luckily there was Ganza Restaurant which I’ve heard serves yummy barbecue too!

Ganza Restaurant’s photo above was grabbed from OpenRice’s website. I forgot to take a photo of the resto’s facade… So, we ordered Batchoy to match the cold weather. Then Raymar got his favorite: TOCINO! He likes tocino a lot! As for me, I settled for Breakfast Tapa and a cup of Coffee! Such a hearty breakfast!

PRICE – Affordable. Taste – Reasonable for the Price! Very nice resto too!

Since we have so much to do, we hit the road! First stop was Good Shepherd – We need to get ourselves the yummy treats from this famous famous famous pasalubong center! Syempre, Kumareng Waze to the rescue, it was so helpful and accurate. We arrived to our destination with no hassle at all! So yun na nga, ang daldal ko talaga, Good Shepherd it is. There was no Ube Jam, so heartbreaking, but our favorite Lengua and Peanut Brittle were present! Bonus was when we were ordering at the counter, Eugene Domingo was next to us and she was making kulit with all the Ate’s at the counter and even told me and Raymar to run with the goods we had without paying for it – “Go umalis na kayo habang distracted sila. Hahaha!” We didn’t have a photo with her because the Ate’s were very maligalig and she just left immediately pero super funny niya. So yun na nga, bumili na kami! Daming kwento!

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Also, right at the area of Good Shepherd’s vicinity was a lot of pasalubong stalls so Raymar was able to buy tees as pasalubong too.

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Since Mines View Park was just around corner, we also went ahead and visited the park.

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Sinabing hindi pa ako ready!
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Pak Ganern! ANGLE!

After the shopping, we headed back to the hotel to packed our bags and checked out! Bye Bye Room! But before that, Raymar got his pokemon…. MEH…

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Dito pa talaga sa Baguio naglaro ng Pokemon! JUSMIYO DIOS POR SANTO! Haha!

And since we so much time to spare, we continued our adventure. We can’t miss biking around Burnham of course!

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Fast and Furious raw kunwari. 😛
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“I Belong”

Sobrang tawa tawa ako nung nag pose siyang ganyan kasi naman black na black out OOTD niya!

I think what people don’t really know is that Raymar is very makulit, madaldal at magaling mag-joke (minsan). Ang mahirap kasi may phobia ata siya kapag marami ng tao, biglang tumatahimik, ang hirap tuloy i-prove na sobrang kulit niyan!

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“We Both Belong” (Lovin’ my herr overderr)
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Strawberry Taho!

After our Burnham Park adventure, we head on to Fashion Rack Designer Outlets within Camp John Hay, Mile Hi Center which we already saw during our Tree Top adventure. Raymar do like shopping, he got himself a lakas-maka-tatay belt bag which actually suits him ah! Naks! As for me, I was talking to clients while he goes shopping. Still on work mode. Baliktad nuh? Haha!

Took a pass on Wright Park as we won’t ride horses anyway but stopped at Pizza Volante, a note-worthy restaurant recommend by Ms. Aine, and munched on their pizza, pesto pasta and Pumpkin Soup. It was already raining but we still chose to sit outside as we were making sulit of the malamig weather. Raymar gave me his jacket even though I was wearing one already, ang lamig kasi!

Ambiance was very nice, I like it when it rains rin kasi, lakas maka-emote eh! Staff were not too attentive though. Price – Affordable. Taste – Average. Must try was really the pizza and they have a huge selection btw so everyone can enjoy their own solo-sized one.

We knew we had to leave Baguio on an early afternoon since it will be difficult for Raymar to drive on long hours and at night but… we were still looking for more pasalubong and accidentally, Vizco’s Strawberry Shortcake (recommended by Ms. Aine again) popped into my head and yes, we went on to get ourselves this sweet treat!

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Price – Reasonable. Taste – YUMMMMEH!! Slice – 95. 6 inches – 430. 8 inches – 685. 10 inches (MTO) – 1235. See, I was able to save the prices for this one. They also have Mango, Black Forest, Chocolate, Cheesecakes and etc but we got to take the best seller of course! 🙂

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So this is good bye… It was to difficult to say bye bye to this lovely place but we got to leave. We decided to head back to reality at around 4 in the afternoon.

Good bye… 😦

Little did we know, we were on for a treat with…

…SUCH A MAJESTIC VIEW!

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Heading home, we took the Marcos Highway Road since it was raining and that it was much safer and yes, we were treated with such a picturesque view. Raymar and I were glad that we got to experience this super cool foggy weather. Hihihi!

What a way to end our super fun and adventurous Baguio Trip.

Spotify on, Road Trip playlist and we were driving back home…

So here’s another kwento, Raymar did slept for about 2 hours when we were on the last pit stop of NLEX before our exit. He told me na iidlip lang siya pero 2 hours siyang tulog at ayaw niyang magising although I have no plans of waking him up naman since pagod siya, pero grabe, ang lalim niya matulog at bigla siyang nagigising tapos titingin sa paligid tapos matutulog ulit… Yung totoo! Tawa ako ng tawa. Pero buti nalang natulog siya para safe kami while on the road. Hahaha!

Notes:

1. Best companion for road trippers just like us is si Kumareng Waze. Literal na mawawala kami sa Baguio kung wala kaming waze. It was very easy to navigate through and through since it was accurate and that the places were Waze-able – if there’s such a word.

2. Fast internet connection – Our hotel had a fast connection that we were able to watch a movie with no lag and that my data used for Kumareng Waze was really fast too even on a 3G! Clap clap!

3. Raymar entrusted me to safe keep our travel money which at first I was hesitant. I don’t like to be responsible on someone else’s money but I guess, I did it with flying colors. Naks! Haha! Raymar ended up getting broke because of me because we was shopping waaaaayyy too much! Hahaha!

4. Best to take Kenon Road on a sunny bright day as it get slippery and dangerous on a rainy weather. UPDATE: I think, as of writing, Kenon Road is closed due to road rehabilitation. Take the Marcos Highway instead. For the mabilis mahilo peeps, Marcos Highway is the way. 🙂

5. It isn’t too bad to visit Baguio on an off-peak season/rainy season this is because of all the rainy season discount we got to avail – Hotel and Tree Top. Plus, there’s no siksikan and long queue on restaurants, famous spots and traffic too.

6. Be vigilant. Be aware and keep your valuables safe. Just a little reminder most specially for those tourists out there who likes to be on their phone all the time. I’m adding this because me and Raymar were shocked when a guy came to us and told us that he’s selling a Samsung S7 and he was secretly doing this, showing us the phone under his jacket. I really wanted to go to the police and report him but I don’t want to get involved. Be very vigilant and aware nalang para hindi mangyari ito sainyo.

I can’t thank you enough for reading all the way here. You will be blessed and loved. Hihi.

Till next time!

Agyamanak la unay, Baguio!

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