Saturday, September 24, 2016

Baguio for a night with the Nadas and the Perezes

My mom sent me a text message on a Friday informing me that we'll go to Baguio early the next day.

That's how we roll, and we're a bunch of commuters!

The group was made up of myself, Mama, Papa, my husband and our son. My sister and her boyfriend were supposed to come, but she had last minute work.

I just have to say that I like taking care of the itinerary, but my mom insisted they don't want to make reservations with the bus and accommodation.

Wrong decision! But it was an all-expense paid trip, so I didn't bother them about it. I can try to fix things, anyhow, when it fails. And it did.

We were at the Victory Liner terminal in Cubao at 4am. They were fully-booked. I have foreseen this, actually. Being the official human Waze of the family, I brought them to the other side of EDSA where Genesis was located. They were willing to pay Joy Bus seats for the four of us (because the 5th will sit on my lap), but there were no available seats, too.

We were directed to Dagupan Bus Lines, Genesis' sister company, which was again, on the other side of EDSA where Victory Liner was. They have a first come, first serve basis. Luckily, when we got there, there were still seats available. We weren't seated together. So we had to keep passing Popy around. Thank goodness, the guy beside me exchanged seats with my husband.

I love NLEX. Growing up and driving on SLEX all my life, I just can't help but admire the northern counterpart. The lush green fields were enveloped with fog an hour or so before sunrise. The Perezes enjoyed the view and the calm away from the hustle and bustle of the metro.

It was a smooth journey except when we reached La Union. There was construction going on that caused heavy traffic. I think, I slept on the most part, anyhow.

It's Popy's first time to go to Baguio, and Gab's somewhat first time. He has a vague memory of going to Baguio with his maternal grandmother back when he was a child. As for me, I've been to Baguio twice. First, with my aunt during an outing with her colleagues; and second, during a college trip last 2008, but I have the memory of an elephant, so my memories were as vibrant as HD TV.

We arrived around 11AM. We had lunch at the food court of SM Baguio because we were too hungry to decide where to eat. My parents insisted on staying at the former pension inn they checked in at last year called Callalily.


And our hungry tummies :) Popy took the photo. Kidding. :) Gab's wearing him.
This, again, because they won't let me book anything, was fully-booked.

Fortunately, beside the pension inn, in the corner of Sandico and Tecson was Megatower. It was a typical condominium where units are rented out by a broker, and they had one for us!

Sorry, puro sofa yung photos. Lol. But I swear, the room was nice.

There's a thing about me and maps and how much I love reading them. I once reached Caliraya, Laguna for the first time just by looking at Google Maps. So here's a round-up by the human Waze on its proximity to the places we visited while we were there:

1. 500m away from SM Baguio.
2. 300m from Baguio Cathedral and Porta Vaga Mall
3. 450m to the bus terminal (excluding Victory because they have their own)
4. Less than a kilometer to Burnham Park
5. A little over 4km to Minesview

Tip #1: If you want a lower rate, speak to the broker. We met a security of Megatower who overheard our predicament and offered a room for PhP 3000. When we said that's too expensive, he directed us to the broker's office and we got the room for PhP 2500. Not to ruin the business or anything, but if you're feeling generous, you can take the recommendation of the staff, so they can get a commission, but if you want to save up a few bucks, then go direct. Details of the broker is below, in case you're planning a trip.

The unit was nice. It was a studio complete with a microwave, fridge, television, a bed, a large sofa set and a terrace. It had hot and cold shower which was great and which I believe is a staple in Baguio given the weather. It also has an extra mattress; and they gave us toiletries and extra pillows and blankets, to add.

A con, though, since this isn't an endorsement and I'd like to be honest, there was a point during the night when it smelled like sewage. So, Tip #2, get a unit on a higher floor.

The main reason for going to Baguio was to visit a long-time family friend who's fighting breast cancer. She was confined in Baguio General Hospital. My parents went there and just allowed my family to roam around Baguio since we can't bring our son to the hospital.

The three of us walked around the area and reached Baguio Cathedral. There was a wedding going on when we peeked in.

Beside the Cathedral was Porta Vaga Mall. This was a funny discovery. Pardon our ignorance. :) There was a sign outside that said mall entrance. From the way it looked outside, it looked like a fenced parking space to us with stalls on the sides. We went in a shop handled by nuns that sold fresh, organic produce. It was love at first sight. I'm telling you, if we had more shopping money, we would have bought so much more. And everything was so affordable! We came back the next day to get bunches of Italian Parsley, Pako (fern), cherry tomatoes, blueberries and more. The cherry tomatoes were the best. They were the size of a marble and they were so juicy they, literally, pop when you bite it or prick it with a fork.

My husband and I are homecooks. It's a happy household. Wink wink.
And we appreciate shops like this.

See that?! 30 Pesos! Only 30 for these lovely tomatoes!
The Italian Parsley we got was around 15 a bunch.
Then we found a La Paz Batchoy stall because we were hungry again. Without a high chair, my husband and I take turns in eating and carrying Popy. It was my turn to eat first. Popy and Gab approached a guard and asked if the area we were at was already "the mall" and he was told it was six floors down.

Before I go to that, let me just mention what a lovely thing the La Paz Batchoy was. It claims authenticity, but, you know, with the weather, a hot soup was very much welcomed, and they refill your soup, too.

Look at that beauty!
So going back to Gab and Popy's adventure in "the mall", they went back up after two floors because he kept using the stairs and got tired. We, later on, discovered the escalators on the other side. The mall is Porta Vaga, by the way.

The thing about being in Baguio for the first time is that you always think you're on street level. We were at Baguio Cathedral, see? And we thought we were on street level. So we went down the mall and expect to be 6 floors deep underground, and came out on street level again. The unit we rented out was at the upper basement or the lower ground floor (sorry, anesthesia effect hihi); but when we entered the room, we found a terrace and discovered that we were 2-storeys up. It was fun, like we were being tricked all the time.

While we were eating, Mama called and said they were leaving the hospital with Tita's (family friend) two sons and daughter-in-law. I grew up with the two boys back in Oman. We even stayed with them on a vacation in their house in Abra, and that was the first time again, in years, that I saw them.

Mama said they'll meet us at Good Taste. Yes, we were eating again. I said we'll walk, but they insisted that we grab a taxi. I like their taxis. They gave change no matter how small; and we all felt like we drove a long distance already and meter was still below PhP 100.

There were so much talk about Good Taste Restaurant. When we came, it was packed. My childhood friends were grown men and didn't speak a lot. The wife of the elder was bubbly and did all the entertaining.

Again, another honest opinion, it lacked the wow factor on the food that I had high expectations for. Maybe we should try other dishes next time, but the ones we had weren't as memorable as we thought it would be.

Our three friends went ahead of us after dinner. The family went to Burnham Park.

And I...

Looked for strawberry taho! Because this was were I bought it back in 2008.

That night, we booked our tickets already for the bus the next day. We got seats from Victory Liner after Mama and Papa lined up for an hour or so, while me and the boys looked for other options.

The next day, we heard mass at Baguio Cathedral.

Then we went to Minesview Park, so Popy can see Doglas. I have to mention the boys there were such rip offs. They said PhP 50 for 2 shots. THEY continued clicking till 4 shots and you don't know about it till they give your phone back, only to find out that the 2 weren't even good photos. It was either blurred or the guy who put sunnies on Doglas was covering everyone.

Popsie adores Popy so much. :)

Well, someone seems to like the view.
We got pasalubongs. My parents have the knack of buying souvenir shirts everywhere they go. They got Popy two shirts and one for each member of the family including my sister and her boyfriend. They're thoughtful that way.

We went back to our unit, had a quick lunch and checked out, and we were on our way back to Manila by lunch.

Ok, this is the part where I would like to commend the broker who got us our room. On our way to Manila, I felt cold in the bus and searched my bag for my pashmina. That was the orange one I was wearing in every photo.

It wasn't there.

So, I sent a message to Ms. Chan and asked if they have found it, and they did. I have arranged for courier services and told her I'd pay the shipping. The pashmina is special to me because 1) orange is my favorite color, and 2) Mama gave it to me.

The parcel came a few days after. I have informed Ms. Chan that my item arrived already, and she hasn't given me her bank details yet. She declined and told me that there was no need to.

Thank you for the honesty and the thought. I really appreciated it. :)

If you need rooms in Baguio, please do contact Ms. Anna Liza Chan on this number: 09178800017.


  1. Naku true yan mommmy. I can't imagine my life without any prior booking going places like Baguio. Pero diba you're family survived :) Looks like your little one, Popy had fun as well. We went there last summer and of course photo taken with the St. Bernard. Will keep Ms.Anna in mind. Thanks ♥

    1. I couldn't too. Hahaha. Buti we survived. :)

  2. When I was in College, we always go to Baguio every summer. We make sure that we have reserved bus ticket, punuan kasi lagi, good thing you we able to find available seats.

  3. Wow, I cant imagine an out of town without ensuring transfers and accommodations are pre-arranged. Joy trips could be very difficult and stressful if you are travelling with kids.

  4. Looks like you all had a wonderful time there. I suddenly missed Baguio and the strawberry taho! :)

  5. AH, Baguio! I miss this place already. I was first here during our honeymoon, next visit was with our firstborn. 3rd trip? I'm not sure, maybe when our 2nd child is here? lol!

  6. It has been a long time since I've been to Baguio, right after college graduation in fact. I should plan a trip just like yours with my family soon.

  7. Wow! Commuting in the Philippines is such work and to do that with a toddler to Baguio pa! Grabe kayo, bow down!

    1. My goodness. He pooped while we were on our way back to Manila. That was the only difficult experience. Hahaha!

  8. I love planning trips so a biglaan trip like this will make me go crazy! Great to hear though that you had fun. Wishing to spend some time there by next year perhaps. :)

  9. Parang it was such an impulsive trip but you're family is always ready-on-the-go ha? Ang galing. Sa family namin lalo on my side, kailangan magplano muna kasi tamad sila magsipag-byahe. Even the planning phase of our family outing last April gave us so much stress hahaha! Outing pa lang yun and sa Laguna lang. Anyway, I cannot remember the last time we went up to Baguio. How I wish my husband and I, together with our son of course, can commute to Baguio maybe before the year ends. Not now kasi I'm on my first trimester pa lang of my pregnancy with our 2nd child hihi. Pero sa December or January siguro because that's our Anniversary month! Hihi. Commuter lang din ang peg namin kaya dapat handa kami sa pagod haha! I'll bookmark your post para I can go back to this kapag planning phase na ako hihi

    1. I personally prefer an itinerary. My parents won't believe me when I said we needed to book! Di ba we could have spent a nice walk around the city the whole time we were lined up for tickets? Hahaha. I think they learned on this trip naman. Hopefully. :)

  10. Now I miss being a tourist at Baguio! But I regret not knowing about that organic veggie store. Grrr! Hahaha thanks for the tip about that

  11. I haven't been to Baguio and would really really really love to go there someday. Hopefully next year! I don't think I can handle long road trips though lalo na when there's no assurance with accommodations. Good thing though that you had fun.

  12. Wow, I too would usually book everything first before going anywhere out of town. I'm OC that way, especially if I'm bringing my kids. Good to know you had a pretty nice trip though. :) I miss strawberry taho!

  13. YUng mabilisang yayaan talaga ang natutuloy. I wish I'll be able to bring my family back here soon.

  14. I have to agree, it's very stressful to go somewhere without anything booked in advance lalo na when you have kids with you. Buti na lang you were able to find an affordable and nice place to stay mommy :) And also, Baguio veggies are the freshest talaga.

  15. Wow! You sure looks like you had loads of fun.

  16. Oh wow! Impromptu Baguio trip - commuting! The OC in me will not be able to handle this, but it looked like you all had a good time! 😉

  17. I admire you for being your family's "Waze" for your great knowledge on directions. And, I'm quite amazed how you manage to go on trip without reservations.

  18. An early book is truly important when traveling out of town.. by next year we're planning for a vacay and Baguio is in the itinerary...

  19. What an adventurous family you have. Just one call, and go! Galing! It was a good thing that you guys were able to get transpo and lodging even without prior bookings. :) My husband would surely have a fit if that happened to us. Haha. Great family fun is always a blessing!

  20. Oh I miss Bagiou. I really should come back but this time, with my little one. He will surelh enjoy there. And it looks like your baby enjoyed too. He is very adorable.

  21. Touring Baguio with the family is love. You get to eat roam and walk together. Love the honesty of Mrs Chan. More than customer service, it is perhaps her values that I admire the most.

  22. Does the unit have internet? There's this one memorable hotel in Bagiuo that I fell in love with. It was called Burnham hotel, it was a small, cottage type Inn. But when we went back years later, hotel na talaga ang Burnham hotel and looked nothing like the cottage I was in love with.

  23. We love Baguio. On the other hand, it is really best to book a bus reservation in advance or if you're lucky, there are shuttle vans that go directly to Baguio. I think it's P500/head :)

  24. We've never been to Baguio. Good thing you got the bus ride even without reservation. And also the accommodation. That trip must be on your side!

  25. Wow P30 for tomatoes! Sana meron din dito. XD

  26. My family went to Baguio also recently. I was happy too that we got to go to Mass at the cathedral again before we went home.

  27. Oh gosh! I miss Baguio! I hope we can go back there soon with our little Twinkle.

  28. I miss strawberry taho! Grabe, ang galing nyo for surviving the trip with a baby! :)

  29. Wierd but I've never been to Bagiou. But I'm planning to go there maybe not now but soon. I'll take your advise to go directly to the broker.