Baguio City, as well as La Trinidad, Benguet, has never been part of my itinerary for my first ever solo trip (which eventually became unsuccessful). I was actually planning to explore Alaminos, Bolinao and some parts of La Union. But because Mean had to visit Baguio for her job interview, I decided to just tag along. And besides, I have never been to Baguio and La Trinidad.
From Dagupan City, it took us two and a half hours before reaching the summer capital of the Philippines.
Here are some of my collected thoughts after visiting the City of Pines.
1) Weather Mayweather. We arrived at Baguio City at around eight in the morning. The sun was shining and there were no clouds. The moment I opened the door, the cold air literally blasted in front of me and it caught me off guard! I initially thought that the cold air might be coming from an aircon unit inside the van terminal, but I didn't see even one. I was wearing shorts, a shirt, my trusty flip flops and a cardigan. It seemed that I needed more layers of clothes that time... or so I thought.
After eating a hearty breakfast at McDonalds, Josh and I went to Burnham Park. I can still feel the cold wind and it was surprisingly not humid! As minutes went by, more and more people started to appear (parang Pokemon lang) and traffic started to build up as well in the already congested and narrow Session Road. I was so surprised to see a LOT of people in Baguio. Worse, the air started to get 'hot' and 'heavy' due to the exhaust coming from the cars. That was the time when I started to sweat profusely.
2) We Cut It All For You! Since it was almost 10 in the morning, we decided to explore SM City Baguio. During that time, the mall was facing a very big issue about cutting a hundred and seventy-two pine trees just to give way to their planned expansion. More so, the issue had even infiltrated various social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter! SM City Baguio defended their side putting up large tarpaulins at the ground floor. The tarps contained detailed explanations about their future plans, sustainable development, ek-ek-ek-so-forth-and-so-on.
Anyway, the mall is not airconditioned due to Baguio's climate. Duh, Renz. DUH!
3) More and more people! Because I miss riding bicycles, we went back to Burnham Park and rented a bike for only Php 40/hour! And just what I have expected, there were so many people in the park.
Naging bata ulit ako! Thanks for that wonderful biking experience!
4) Strawberry Fields Forever. I really thought that La Trinidad, Benguet is an hour away from Baguio. I was wrong; La Trinidad is only 20 minutes away from Baguio City. After Mean's exam, we went to La Trinidad and ate lunch at a local coffee shop. Food was cheap and the place was comfy. Everything went well until a St. Bernard dog entered the shop, prolly asking for food. At first I thought I saw a bear! The dog was so huge talaga! But after the store clerks shooed the poor creature, I almost cried. I just have a soft spot for dogs. That's all, thank you.
Anyway, we visited the huuuuuuge strawberry-cabbage farm of La Trinidad! One word: Whoaaaaaaaaaa.
It makes me cringe whenever I see the sight of the buildings alongside the mountain and the traffic jam along Session Road. During my short stay in Baguio, I was honestly appalled to see those. Maybe I was expecting a LOT.
But then again, I saw kids happily frolicking in the park, a father riding a rented pedicab with his daughter, a mother buying strawberry taho for her son, and teens talking and laughing with their peers. It was just one of the ordinary scenes of everyday life but for me, it was extraordinary.
Baguio may have evolved through the years but still, people from different points of the country still visit Baguio. It is still the undisputed number one summer destination of the country. This particular trip made me realize that I shouldn't just focus on one side. I should always look on the brighter side. Despite the traffic and congestion within the city, I still love Baguio because of its 'happy' atmosphere.
Truly, Baguio is imperfectly beautiful.
Yes, imperfectly beautiful.
By the way, here's a video I made. All clips were taken during my Baguio-La Trinidad trip. Enjoy!