NOT Your Ordinary Baguio and Benguet Trip! Search for Paradise! Buwis-Buhay!

It has been countless times already that I have been to Baguio and Benguet, but this time it is different, really different from previous’ experience! Continue to read and see how this memorable experience was made. Whew!

My husband is  now a motovlogger; “Motor ni Juan“. I initially planned the trip. From the time I was planning the trip, Google maps indicated that it would take us 6 hours from our location. Laban! No expressway,  only highways since our Yamaha Aerox S has 155cc displacement (not allowed in expressway). Imagine the trip? It would be exciting as I thought then.

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On the actual trip, November 2019, we left Bulacan at 3:30AM. Our journey began which was a bit different if we were in a car. The scenery looked more lively and on point. We were geared up with Benkia padded riding jacket (him), Nitro padded riding jacket (mine), Vemar knee and shin guard (him), Evo Full Face Helmet GSX 1000 (him), Evo Modular Helmet VXR 700 (mine), Full face mask (him), and SSPEC motorcycle gloves (him).

Along the way, it was cold since it was the wee hour when we left, aside from Christmas season is coming. On the road, we encountered some motorcycle accidents, which reminded us to be safe always and be more vigilant since others are KAMOTE riders (irresponsible and inconsiderate)! We got hungry for breakfast at Pangasinan area. We found Carmen’s Bulalohan and Kambingan. We spent only 150 with 3 rice, 2 ulam and 2 black coffee. Busolved!

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On our way going up, we tremendously felt very cold that our mouth had smoke. Or it is called “Breath Vapor” or “Steam”. In medical term, it is EBC or Exhaled Breath Condensate since the process is condensation. Fogs were prominent and it felt like heaven. We were like kids who seemed to saw it first time. It was so calming.

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We arrived in Baguio City at 10am+ at the accommodation we booked ahead of time. We saved a lot through Agoda. It is located near the Burnham Park. It was decent enough for the purpose of rest and safe keeping our stuff while we were on tour. We were early for 2pm check-in time. So, we started our Baguio and Benguet tour. Below are our destination and experience for each.

1. SM BAGUIO

The mall was already opened. We wanted to go to SESSION ROAD, since motorcycle is not allowed at the area, we parked our Aerox S in SM, and left our 2 EVO HELMETS at the package counter. The attendant says, it is good for 1 hour only. Ok then. We just walked down and crossed the street to reach Session Road.

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2. VIZCO’s at SESSION ROAD

Remember the movie Glorious starring Angel Aquino and Tony Labrusca in 2018? It was a story of a young man who fell in love with an older woman. At Vizcos was their first date. Kilig! They offer variety of food but their specialty is their sumptuous cakes. We had pizza, a slice of Strawberry torte, and a slice of Mango cake. Delicious as it looks and way better than others that we have tasted.

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3. UKAY-UKAY AREA IN SESSION ROAD

It was very cold, I needed pants to survive for the entirety of our stay. We found maong/jeans pants and a jacket which were so cheap for its brand. We also found wigs which was funny because of the curly short one, like the natural hair of our Baby Fifth.

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4. STARBUCKS at SM BAGUIO

We still had to kill time and wait for the check-in time. We sat down for a bit and had coffee while the wig was on. It is also the season of stickers for the most sought Starbucks Organizer. I had 2 stickers there. Then, we head to the hotel we booked for 2 nights.

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5. MT. YANGBEW at TAWANG, BENGUET

Our NOT SO ORDINARY adventure began here! It was afternoon, from our hotel, we head straight to Tawang Baranggay Hall to pay environmental fee which costs PhP 30 each tourist. It was really adventure going there because most of the roads are uphill slope. Riding in a motorcycle on such road was so thrilling. I did not look at the road most of the time as it may make me dizzy. Kuya Willy was the attendant at the time. He was friendly and accommodating.  No need for a tour guide. They say it is just easy trek. Alright easy huh? Few minutes away from the Baranggay Hall is the way up to Mt. Yangbew. There was cemented part going up. At the end of the road is where the trekking starts. We parked our motorcycle and started to walk our way up. They say it is a 30-minute walk. Well this depends on your stamina to walk uphill. This is a beginner’s hike. We qualified as beginners because it was really our first time. I had to stop a few times to rest. It was all worth it! See for yourself!

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Mt. Yangbew peak

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Mt. Yangbew peak

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Trek trail

6. BAGUIO CRAFT BREWERY

I have been to Baguio many times, but this was the first time I visited Baguio Craft Brewery. They serve different flavored beers not to mention fruit flavors. The best part was their FREE TASTE. I got to taste most of the beers they offer. They have Caramel flavor which smells really good. I ordered the Strawberry flavor beer along with our food orders for the night. Their menu are infused with beer. Try it there! Their menu starts at PhP 200 and up.

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7. VALLEY OF COLORS

The next day, going to our destination, we passed by these houses built on the mountains. It looked pleasing to the eyes because of its different colors. It is located along the road, it can be easily seen. You won’t miss it. A donation of any amount shall be given if you want to capture their community. Just that, take a picture and leave.

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8. RAINBOW CAFE at AMBONGDOLAN BARANGGAY HALL

To start another adventure, environmental fee has to be paid first. We headed to the Ambongdolan Baranggay Hall to pay for the environmental fee and tour guide plus other applicable fees. With the help of the late Ms. Gina Lopez, she managed to organize the tourism location in Ambongdolan. Some spots were created to add value in the beauty of nature. What a very lovely and inspiring woman.

There is where Rainbow Cafe is situated. They sell food and drinks there. Also, some souvenir items such as shirts, keychains, mugs and others. Ate Jennifer is the attendant at Rainbow cafe. While his husband Kuya July is in-charge of the tours. They have lots of tour guides to help you out enjoy your trip. Ours was Kuya Urbano. The ratio of tour guide to tourist is 1:4. Do the math if you are a group of more than 4.

I ordered our lunch for the day before we left going to the caves. Ate Jen took care of our food. It was served after our caving and trekking. What we did was, we ordered Filipino food, then they will have it cooked for you and ready for lunch time. Be specific with your menu and what sides you want to include. They charge affordable fees for their food. They usually buy at their COOPERATIVE nearby. They have No refrigerator or freezer yet to store food. If anyone has the capacity to donate, I am knocking on your door for them.

I would advice everyone who reads this to buy stuff from them, you will help the community in a big way. They really touched our hearts in a very simple way by letting us feel that we are a part of their family. We really felt the warmth in their hearts.

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Contact Kuya July for inquiries and reservation 0921 970 7382

9. AMBONGDOLAN CAVES + BLUE LAGOON at AMBONGDOLAN TAWANG, BENGUET

This is it!!! I could never forget this experience!!! Imagine a MAN VS NATURE tour? Hiking, trekking, rock climbing, without any experience, without any harness. What we had were flashlights and safety vest. I am not discouraging you. I am inviting you to a challenge. We did it and so will you.

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Paterno cave

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Bengaongao cave

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Blue Lagoon

You do not have any idea how Buwis buhay it was to go through all those big rocks, climbing, trekking, including slipping down a few times. I almost gave up but there is no coming back. It is now or never!

Go out of your comfort zones! Test your limits! There is no coming back! Explore the Philippines before other lands. I am proud to be a Filipino.

Please LIKE my Facebook page. Comment your experience. Ride safe! Enjoy life!

 

City of Pines: Baguio (Where Sweet Memories Remain)

It’s been years since the last time I went to Baguio City. Those days were marvelous and very memorable. I was with people who were there to listen to me and enjoy each day as we laughed and cried. We were young and free and have lots of money. I was with my cousins and close friends who were young entrepreneurs. I had a cellphone shop way back year 2003. For a college fresh graduate, earning what I used to earn was not ordinary. I was on the peak of my life style. Those days were unforgettable. How about every week in Baguio City from Metro Manila? 2-3 days of stay for no reason. Starbucks for coffee, drive anywhere, party in every bars, and others… Most of the time we were more than 4 persons to invade Baguio. Cuz, remember those days?

By the way, Baguio City is located in Northern part of Luzon. According to Wikipedia, “Baguio City was established by Americans in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village known as Kafagway. The name of the city is derived from the word bagiw in Ibaloi, the indigenous language of the Benguet Region, meaning ‘moss’. Baguio City was designated by the Philippine Commission as the Summer Capital of the Philippines on June 1, 1903. It was incorporated as a chartered city by the Philippine Assembly on September 1, 1909, as authored by former Philippines Supreme Court Justice George A. Malcolm. The City of Baguio celebrated its Centennial last September 1, 2009.”

My trip this time was with my family. It’s long been planned since it was one of my daughter Cheska’s school fun activity. My husband and I were more excited than Cheska was. It’s the first family out-of-town trip with the four of us. Though baby Fourth was sick because of vomiting and diarrhea. We were still able to enjoy the day even if we had to change his nappy once in a while.

First destination was the Strawberry Farm. There were peddlers of Taho with flavors of Strawberry and Ube. What we bought was the Strawberry Taho with the real fruit. It tasted great!

La Trinidad, Benguet

La Trinidad, Benguet

Strawberry Farm

Strawberry Farm

Strawberry Farm- actual crop

Strawberry Farm- actual crop

Strawberry flavored Taho

Strawberry flavored Taho

Strawberry flavored Taho with the fruit

Strawberry flavored Taho with the fruit

Knitted Strawberry little bags

Knitted Strawberry little bags

Next destination was Ibay’s Silver Shop. The accessories purchased there will have 10% discount. The item content is made of 92.5% silver from and made in Baguio. We toured around. Cheska bought ice cream from Mamang sorbetero inspite of the cold weather. She enjoyed it. We witnessed students practicing their Ifugao dance. It could have been better if they were wearing their costumes. It was still fun though.

Students practicing Ifugao Dance

Students practicing Ifugao Dance

Students practicing Ifugao Dance

Students practicing Ifugao Dance

Baby Pine Tree

Baby Pine Tree

Ice Cream in Baguio

Ice Cream in Baguio

Third destination was The Mansion. It is the house in Baguio of every incumbent President of the Philippines. Our kids surely had fun. They ran after each other. Fourth who was sick then seemed he forgot his condition. Us parents were happier to see them.

The Mansion

The Mansion

The Mansion

The Mansion

Our kids in front of The Mansion

Our kids in front of The Mansion

Happy Cheska

Happy Cheska

Fourth stop was Wright Park. It is just in front of The Mansion, across the street. We just let baby Fourth play around with his sister Cheska. A peddler approached us and offered a fruit she called Ifugao Orange. She said the Ifugao Orange is organic likewise healthy. We had  a free taste, it was good. I was convinced to buy a kilo of it. Then we continue to walk around. We have limited time, not enough for horse back riding. Yet, time together was precious.

Ifugao Orange

Ifugao Orange

I don't know the name plant

I don’t know the name plant

Fourth wandering around

Fourth wandering around

Bushes with flowers

Bushes with flowers

Fifth stop was Mines View Park. There were lots of stuff sold there such as blankets (printed and plain), knitted blouses, knitted bonnets, knitted cardigans, pashmina, shawl and other related items. There were lots of sweets such as peanut brittle, strawberry jam, ube jam, fresh strawberry fruit, choco flakes, chocolate crinkles, lengua de gato, honey and others. There were also souvenir items such as t-shirts (with Baguio prints), slippers made of native materials, key chains, coin purses, etc. As we enter the place, we saw a huge dog named DJ. It is a St. Bernard breed of dog. Our kids are fond of DJ. We took pictures with the huge dog; DJ. Thereafter, we found this booth where you can borrow and wear the Igorot costumes and take unlimited pictures. We really had fun.  After a few steps Cheska used a binocular to check the scenic view closer. On our way back to the bus, we bought each and every stuff we wanted. The Good Shepherd is few meters away from Mines View Park. But because we were so tired, we did not proceed there anymore.

Our family with the huge St. Bernard dog; DJ

Our family with the huge St. Bernard dog; DJ

Ifugao family

Ifugao family

Classic pose

Classic pose

The siblings

The siblings

Ate enjoying the view with binocular

Ate enjoying the view with binocular

Fourth tried it too

Fourth tried it too

Knitted items for sale

Knitted items for sale

T-Shirts for sale

T-Shirts for sale

One of the great spots

One of the great spots

Baguio sweets

Baguio sweets

After the few destinations, we had late lunch at SM Baguio City. So hungry and tired, to think it has been half day only. I took a shot of our food, for some reason it wasn’t saved. Anyway, a lot of people were there for lunch. The nearest that we preferred was KFC. Enjoyed the lunch and ready for another tour.

SM Baguio for lunch

SM Baguio for lunch

SM Baguio for lunch

SM Baguio for lunch

Second to final stop was The Philippine Military Academy. Based on it’s official website,

” For the past 100 years, the officers training school of the Armed Forces in the Philippines has made Baguio City its home.The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) boast of a long and illustrious history of preparing only the best Filipino men (and, in recent times, women) for military service.

Located at Fort Gegorio del Pilar on Loakan Road, visitors Philippine Military Academy History, Traditions & General Information to the City of Pines are welcome to explore the grounds, view the cadets performing their drills, and explore the PMA museum and walk around its manicured grounds to see vintage tanks and other historical military weapons.”

Daddy was so tired then and Cheska was sleeping, so only Fourth and I walked around the place. I carried Fourth who is so heavy. We took pictures. No cadets on uniforms were on training.

One of the PMA Halls

One of the PMA Halls

Sun Dial in front of Headquarters of PMA

Sun Dial in front of Headquarters of PMA

one of the aircrafts

one of the aircrafts

one of the aircrafts

one of the aircrafts

one of the aircrafts

one of the aircrafts

Red flowers - no name

Red flowers – no name

Tree House

Tree House

One of the PMA Halls

One of the PMA Halls

Final stop was the Burnham Park. It is also near the Baguio public market where the famous items of Baguio and delicacies can be bought at cheaper prices. We were all very tired but then I went down to buy some veggies. It is amazingly cheap to buy veggies and other Baguio products there.

Fresh and cheap veggies!

Fresh and cheap veggies!

Cheap Silver accessories

Cheap Silver accessories

Over all, the trip was excellent. It was tiring but worth it. Temperature was low, it was cold from the time we first stepped our feet on the ground until it was time to leave. We will definitely go back there.

I wanted to witness the Panagbenga Festival (Flower Festival). It is held every month of February. Here are sample images of the Panagbenga Festival.

CREDITS:fil.wikipilipinas.org

CREDITS:fil.wikipilipinas.org

See you in February then!