One of our most memorable trips this year was our trip to Baguio City during the Papal visit last January. It took us around nine hours to get there by car, primarily because of the heavy traffic caused by the bottlenecks at the toll booths. Nevertheless, the trip was sure worth it.
We stayed near the eerie Diplomat Hotel on top of Baguio Dominican Heritage Hill and Nature Park. On the first day, we basically just rested and recharged from the long drive, while enjoying the cool climate. My son and I played a little basketball in a basketball court nearby. We also enjoyed a little sightseeing from Heritage Hill, which we were told is the highest point in Baguio.
The next day, we went to Burnham Park, a multiple hectare park at the heart of Baguio City. We spent the whole day there, playing in the playground in the morning, and biking in the afternoon. The park was teeming with people: old men playing chess outdoors, lovers in tandem bikes, friends on rowboats in the man-made lake, and families having picnics. Burnham Park reminded me a lot of of the Summer Palace in Beijing; both very busy and full of life and activity.
On our third day, we went to BenCab Museum, which is probably the best museum I have visited in the Philippines. It houses national artist Ben Cabrera’s art collection, which includes his masterpieces and other artworks by other artists. It is a four level building with a very good view of the mountain beside it. It also has a garden which is nicely landscaped with duck ponds and pathways. At the ground floor stands the famous Café Sabel but we were not able to eat there because the place was full at that time.
After the museum visit and siesta with the toddler, we went malling at SM City Baguio, an enclosed shopping near Burnham Park with al fresco sections. It is packed with restaurants and shops like the malls in Metro Manila.
On our fourth day, we went to mass at Baguio Cathedral, a historic building which has stood there since 1936. Thereafter, we went shopping the Good Sheperd Convent at Mines View Barangay, which is famous for their strawberry jams and peanut brittles.
Afterwards, we went horseback riding at Wright Park. My son and wife explored the nearby hills on horseback and we were told that the famous La Presa was five hours away by horse. This is the first time my son has ridden a horse and it was surely the highlight of the trip for us.
We left very early the following morning and returned to Manila in around four hours.
On on all our nights, we enjoyed the cool mountain breeze and relaxing warmth of bonfires. We also had our fair share of strawberries which we enjoyed eating with Nutella.
The current hot weather now really makes me dream back of going to that mountain city paradise.
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