BLISSFULLY BAGUIO: THE MORNING AFTER
The morning after saw me through with raccoon eyes thanks to partying at Nevada Square with Jeff and Josh the night before, or should I say a few hours before sunrise. I didn’t sleep well, I always have difficulty sleeping whether at home or a creepy camp. Screw sleep! I guess I could say the same as with the rest of the pack. I was told that during the evening get together, ghost stories were narrated by one of the team members. Well for those who have not gone and stayed in Teachers Camp, ghost story telling and ghost hunting are actually the main attractions of the camp teehee! Suprising enough during our brief stay at the camp, no ghost appeared to me 😐 And even if there were, I’m not gonna be afraid of them. It would even be a thrilling experience for me in fact. Anyways each of us found ourselves hustling for the bathrooms everytime someone is done taking a bath as the water supply was almost…gone! It was a concerted effort by me and Al to fetch warm water from the basement to the 1st floor whew! But everything turned out well in the end, water was enough to bathe us all for the morning’s actions.
Strawberry Fields Are Forever
One activity that is highly recommended is strawberry picking at the Strawberry Farm in the nearby La Trinidad, Benguet. It’s actually a unique experience most especially in groups or families because you get to pick fresh strawberries — right alongside the Ibaloi farmers — to bring home or consume while on vacation in the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Located just 30 minutes from Baguio City, Strawberry Fields opens it doors for the activity from November to May every year. The rates for strawberry picking vary. In general, it costs twice the market price to pick your own strawberries, which I find rather strange, especially when it’s already “free labor.” But the thrill of it is incomparable to a fee of P300 per kilo. Strange as it may seem, strawberry picking “Baguio style” is an experience well worth it as it is the stuff that warm childhood memories are made of — priceless even!
Just across the street from the strawberry fields by the way are different shops that sell all kinds of Baguio and Benguet products. There are handwoven bags, purses, colorful walis tambo, and other pasalubong items. And so, after drowning ourselves with all sorts of strawberry-flavored foodies, we have decided to hit the road for some late lunch at Baguio City. And you would be able to guess where we headed to.
Team Eric Lunchin’ 50’s Style
One of the highlights of this team building was our successful (take note, after 3 attempts) dining experience 50’s style at Glen’s 50’s Diner. Think of the movie “Grease” and you’d know what one will see when one steps into this one-of-a-kind restaurant at the heart of Baguio City. I myself have fond memories of 50’s Diner years ago, this is one of the reasons why I always came back to Baguio. 50’s Diner serves American menu at very affordable price range unlike any other establishments in Baguio. Hungry people can have a hearty meal for an amazingly low price of P90. The fruit shakes are good too! No wonder there were so many people lining up to be seated.
It was also a good thing the owner retained the 50’s ambiance: the jukebox, the posters of celebrities who dominated that decade, and of course, 50’s music all day and night. It was almost like a 50’s feel if only the restaurant would install a jukebox that is fully functional. That would be a great rendition of that popular decade and of course, a treat to children of today who can’t imagine how such a machine operates.
If you’re visting Baguio, I’d highly recommend paying 50′s Diner a visit. Just expect a heavy crowd, specially at lunch and dinner. Most likely you will wait to be seated, but in my opinion it’s worth the wait. Try to be early if you can, around 11am for lunch or 6pm for dinner, to avoid the hassle. The best way to get there is on a cab, as I’m pretty sure the cab drivers know the place. It would save you time looking for it and would free you of parking hassles, as parking space is very limited. Just to be realistic and fair, do not expect T.G.I.Friday’s caliber of food. But I assure you of a tasty, hearty and satisfying meal at value for money. What’s more, 50′s Diner is a “Baguio only” experience and surely beats going to SM Baguio and dining at tired and boring “Manila usual” restaurants.
Afternoon In A Rush
Baguio’s climate is generally 10 degrees cooler than the climate in the lowlands, like Metro Manila. But that afternoon seemed like it reached to its boiling point 🙂 thanks to a vehicular hassle we encountered on our way to Mines View Park. At any rate, it was a good thing it was resolved in no time at all otherwise I’m afraid we might spend the entire afternoon at the police station.
Having had a few hours left from our Baguio sojourn, from the police station we trudged the way hurriedly to The Mansion/Wright Park, then a few minutes at the Mines View Park (where we bought Josh’s favorite, the Sunflower Brittle), some time at Good Shepherd (where I bought a couple of ube jam’s) then made our way through Session Road where we’re supposed to meet the rest of gang. It was an adrenaline-rushing experience with the Magpale’s that I will never ever forget.
“Goodbye only means, I’ll miss you until we meet again.” A popular line by Astroboy, a line that I would have uttered upon parting ways with Baguio City. In other words, I had a hard time saying goodbye, even though I do it so regularly throughout my life. Then again, reality bites. We really need to leave as we have our families, friends and most importantly our jobs, back in Manila. And so unwillingly, I bid farewell to my paradise 😐 and headed towards Kennon Road which would be our gateway back.
Kennon Road is one of the three major access roads that lead up to Baguio City from Manila and the provinces in the central and western parts of Luzon. There is a need though to be extra cautious when driving through Kennon Road since you will encounter sharp hairpin turns and blind curves. In spite of numerous accidents along Kennon Road, we still pass through it to be able to see the breathtaking scenery that unfolds at each bend of the road. There are beautiful and scenic sites along Kennon Road but we’re actually eager for photo opportunities at the sculptured limestone lion’s head. There are also some small stores along the road where we have a last minute shop for an assortment of native handicraft, vegetables, brooms, and locally made delicacies. Kennon Road is, without doubt, the most scenic highway to Baguio. There are plans to declare the highway a national heritage park, to preserve it for posterity in recognition of its being part in the nation’s historical and cultural heritage.