Baguio | Still Charming, Time After Time
Dear Natalie & Rob,
I am writing you from the veranda of my hotel here in Baguio as I watch the fog creeping in the horizon of terraced houses & trees.
Remember when I told you that Baguio City is one of my favorite places in the Philippines? Well, I am here again! Not for work but just to bask on nothingness.
As usual, I am traveling alone—but this city never makes me feel lonely.
It has been raining here for weeks & Baguio has turned into a mirage of floating buildings, trees & people. It is so dreamy now that I don’t want to move an inch & just savor the passing of time.
Baguio is just a Victory ride away!
Having grown up in Iligan City in the south, setting foot in Baguio used to be just a dream for me. Back then, we had to sail for days to get to Manila & take the bus onwards to the Cordilleras in the north.
I was 16 when I first came here. And just like everyone else, I had my photo taken too at the Lion’s Head landmark along Kennon Road. Pictures then came in film.
Soon after, I kept coming back to this place, especially when I migrated to Manila. But today, traveling to Baguio is easier & quicker than ever.
Since the 1940s, people are used to taking Victory Liner that it almost become synonymous to Baguio road trips. They have the largest fleet of modern buses & spacious terminals in our country today.
So before your return holiday to the Philippines from Brazil, you can already book your tickets online. Bring jackets too as it can get cold inside the bus or a 5-hour snuggle would just do as fine.
Baguio is a timeless vacation destination. Even with the rise of new vacation spots in the Philippines, it remains as the quintessential choice for a breezy holiday.
It’s called the Summer Capital of the Philippines because everyone comes here for the cold weather. Right now, the temperature is 18° & I am so loving it!
With this bed weather, I am already thinking of grabbing a mug of traditional “tsokolate” & raisin bread at Camp John Hay. Hahaha!
Many people from Manila & everywhere else visit here on weekends just for food trips. Goodluck sticking to your diet as you walk past the restaurants on Session Road because just about any delicious temptations are here.
Session Road by the way is the happening street in Baguio. But around the bend is Burnham Park where you’ll find the night market along Harrison Street.
For 3 nights in a row, I was there digging in for cheap clothes, trinkets & what-have-you! Though, there are no samba feathers here, a good pair of shoes at P350 is already a steal!
I don’t know if you love street food as much I do but you gotta try it here as well. It’s yummy & maddening!
Baguio has a special place in many people’s hearts. It has played cupid to many declarations of love. But it also stands as a refuge to aching souls & armies of shattered emotions.
The strawberry fields & rose farms in La Trinidad, the lush botanical garden, the quaint cafes in Camp John Hay & the Lourdes Grotto in Dominican Hill are all mute witnesses to many episodes in the lives of many people.
Yesterday, I went to The Mansion. I roamed around its vast gardens & happy memories of my ex & I walking in the fog flashed back. But it’s over now & I think I told you about it after our trip to Pangulasian Island.
Baguio brings back so much happy memories with my family too. You see, when we all grow up we start to live our own separate lives. But a couple of years back, we traveled here as a complete family for the first time after about 10 years.
I remember my mom’s laughter as dad rocked the big swan boat across the lake in Burnham Park.
Baguio also reminds me of my dear friend Danny whom I am estranged with for about 3 years now. He’s one of the funniest friends I had but for some reasons we had a misunderstanding & never had the chance to patch things up.
Had I known that our escapades at Casa Vallejo, Café by the Ruins & those parties at the hippest clubs would be our last time to be good together, I would have held him tight to me. Sigh!
You know how much I wanted to visit your homeland Brazil. I imagine dancing the samba in Sao Paulo, running around the shorelines of Copacabana & strutting in Rio’s favelas.
But hey, there’s a favela-ish townscape here too. It’s called the Colors of Stobosa in La Trinidad. And it’s equally colorful & beautiful.
Baguio is a huge art colony! I can’t wait to show you Tam-awan Village, Bencab Museum & the workshops of silver jewelry & tapestry weaving.
But I must bring you to my newfound chow spot called Ketchup Food Community. It’s a small complex of restaurants that serves really good food.
There’s something about Baguio that I never grow tired visiting it time after time. There are always new memories to make, scenes to recreate or simply to sit in nothingness & enjoy the breeze.
Oh, the rain has already subsided & I better get dressed in my fuzzy cashmeres now & head to Le Monet for a candle-lit dinner.
Counting the days ‘til I see you again. I’m sure a welcome drink at the Baguio Craft Brewery will be just as perfect.
From Baguio with love,