Baguio oh Baguio. Who's never been to Baguio? Well I know some. I even told them that they have to kiss the land once they set foot on the Summer capital of our country. I've been to the city a few times with the family and/or friends and we all end up doing the same thing in same order. All generic trips.
My favorite part of the trips would be the ukay-ukay hunt in Hilltop wherein the vendors would only go there during sunrise and sunset - it serves as a street market at daytime. I also love to stay at the Manor Hotel (c/o the aunties and uncles) and feast on their breads - especially the very heavy raisin bread. I love the Strawberry sundae from McDonald's in the city.
I also love the sunflowers. I used to paint loads of that when I was younger when I still dunno that it was called then. I love how the cab drivers would give you your change up to the last centavo and they would even refuse to get a tip. Ang galing lang talaga. I love how establishments would dare not install any airconditioning units - even the SM mall. That's what stuck in me when I go to Baguio. It becomes automatic. The spots. The activities. Routine. Same stuff all the time. Still, I look forward in our family trips to Baguio.
And then marx invited me to go to the city on a long weekend. I first met him on our fun beach trip at Burot this year. I didn't have plans for that dates so I agreed. He solely planned about this trip. I kinda knew what we were going to do but I didn't take the time to "research". That's what I love most about traveling with bloggers, I feel like I am paying them to do the "research" stuff. Tamad lang.
We met at Victory Liner Terminal and waited for our 2 a.m. trip on a Friday. I previously purchased tickets for us, 450 pesos for the 7-hour trip. I tried to avail of the student discount on buses but failed.
We arrived at around 8:20 a.m. and went straight to Azalea Residences (check rates) via cab for 50 pesos. I was so happy to see a mini kitchen inside the room. The water heater for my coffee and tea was divine. The bed was nice but I don't really like the duvet (in general) so I requested for normal sheets to be used as a blanket and left the heavy duvet to marx which he really loved.
|the azalea flowers|
Azalea Residences is located on a street just across the Teacher's Camp. Jeepneys are available to get to the downtown. The minimum jeepney fare is 8.50 pesos. At around 9:30 a.m. we went out for breakfast and looked for the jeepney terminal for the Balatoc-bound jeep. We were set to go to the Balatoc Mines (in Itogon, Benguet) to experience first hand how it is to be a miner (hi-ho, hi-ho).
To get to the jeepney terminal you need to go to Harrison/SSS and at the Petron station across it is the terminal for the Acupan-Balatoc jeepneys. We paid 25 pesos for the ride and it took us around 40 minutes to get to the site. You need to ask the driver to drop you off at Balatoc mines 'coz there is no signage on the area. We were told to alight on this steep stairway and we needed to get down to reach the gates of the Balatoc Mines.
We were asked by the guards on our purpose and we said that we were there for the tour. They then showed us on how to go to the museum/registration area for the mining tour. I never had any prior experience on the said activity so I don't have any expectations. We were greeted by the museum guides and they let us register.
We paid 250 pesos each and they handed us a chapa as our "ticket"/souvenir. Apparently, the chapa is used as your id when you go inside the caves. For the miners, they need to drop it in a certain box and get it everytime they go out of the cave. This ensures everyone's safety. We were also given a hard hat and boots. They have at least 50 pairs so choosing the one that fits perfectly was easy. And off we go to the tour.
|go down here|
|5 1/2 for me|
|names of the old engineers|
|my own chapa|
They showed us how they drill each hole for the dynamites. And without any warning they just started to drill. The sound and the feeling of vibration of the drill shocked even the most sleepy nerve we had. And they even let us try to drill our own holes. Imagine our terror on holding the huge device. But the best part for me is the dynamite-blasting. After they showed us how to put the dynamites on the holes they told us that they would blast a single one (you needed a lot in a real setting). Our guide told us that it was time for them to blast it. We were kinda thinking that she was just bluffing but after she walked faster we believed her. And then it blasted without a warning! That one single BOOM sound echoed the whole cave. It felt like we were in a top-of-the-line dolby digital cinema thing. It was the bomb! Literally!
We went back to the museum/registration area still in shock of what we just experienced. We might paid a hefty amount for the tour but I tell you, it's worth the price. They gave us certificates and showed us how the real miners remove their own boots without touching it - of course they have a device for it.
|pa-picture na lang, sira eh|
|it really shocked my whole being after I tried drilling|
|ate guide showing us how to put dynamites on the holes|
|Kuya Dynamite after the blasting. |
Parang zombie lang ang peg
|photo by marx|
removing the boots without even touching it
We went to Session Road for our super late lunch at around 1:30 p.m. We were looking for this clandestine restaurant - Oh My Gulay! I've never heard of that (I told you, my Baguio trips are generic). It is located on the top floor of the La Azotea Building. We had a hard time looking for it because marketing and promotion are foreign to them. Up until we reached the top floor we asked a server of the reason, the owner (Kidlat Tahimik a renowned independent film maker/director) just wanted the place to be that way - a secret place.
First look. It felt like I was inside a gallery/museum. The aesthetic appeal, the music, and the food are all connected with each other. All the bits and pieces inside it are truly a work of art. There are also some pieces that were for sale at that time. Some announcements on shows, events, performances, exhibits and other artsy stuff were posted on one corner.
We were famished so we ordered right away and realized that it is a vegetarian restaurant. We had Oh My Gulay Rice (140 pesos), Anak ng Putanesca (130 pesos), Limonada (75 pesos) and Dayap Iced Tea (75 pesos).
The servings were huge. You can smell and taste the freshness of the herbs and all the ingredients. I get to taste everything and I loved the lemonade. The food are nice but not that remarkable. Actually I forgot how it tasted. It just felt that it tasted all the same. You are actually paying for the experience. And it was such a nice place to chill - literally.
|blogger with a broken chinelas|
|Limonada (75 pesos)|
|Dayap Iced Tea (75 pesos)|
|Anak ng Putanesca (130 pesos)|
|Oh my Gulay Rice (140 pesos)|
|crazy cut tiles|
|shows, events, performances|
|havaianas vs. rambo|
Afterwards, we went to Volante restaurant. Again, it was my first time here. Pizza and Baguio for me and my family was always at Don Henrico's. It is located along Session Road. I've seen it before but never had the chance to try it. We had 6" 4 Cheese pizza (88 pesos), French fries (60 pesos) and a Platter of grilled chicken, pasta, french fries and a pizza (it comes with a free drink and I think it's about 150 ++ pesos). I love their pizza and chicken. I love the bistro feel of the resto. It felt nostalgic. We looked for a bar afterwards and boozed the night away. We went back to hotel at around 2 a.m.
|6" 4 cheese pizza (88 pesos)|
|Grilled chicken platter (150 ++ ata, not sure)|
|French fries (60 pesos)|