After my first night in Baguio, I woke up early the following day to continue exploring the City of Pines.
There are jeepneys headed to Mines View Park at the plaza. I timed my arrival before dawn to capture great photos of the place. I may have arrived way too early as some shops are still closed but at least there are still few visitors. I passed through several shops before I got to the lagoon. Mines View Park may be Baguio’s most famous tourist attraction. Visitors can stand on the cliff while overlooking the community below and marvel at the vast mountainscape of the region. It’s nowhere near the Kiltepan experience but the view can still take one’s breath away.
Tourists started to crowd my spot so I decided to head out and check out what the shops outside have to offer. They carry different pasalubongs such as shirts, keychains, trinkets, and of course, the barrel man. There are also jams and snacks but I thought it would be best to buy them at the public market for more choices and better offers. A few blocks from Mines View Park is Good Shepherd Convent. They are best known for my ever favorite Ube Jam. Aside from ube jam, they also have jams of other fruit varieties such as santol and kundol. And oh, you better try their Braided Ube Loaf. It is divine. I had my breakfast at the convent’s cafe where they offer brewed Ifugao coffee and ube bread. I live for coffee and Ifugao coffee is one of a kind as it is sweet on its own.
I took a quick break back at the Inn and dropped off the pasalubongs that I bought. Before lunch, I went back to the plaza and took a jeepney signed Long-Long Tacay to go to Tam-Awan Village. It is one of the two museums in Baguio that I planned on visiting, the other is BenCab Museum. Visitors get the chance to see model houses of Igorot in Tam-Awan Village or the Garden in the Sky . The entrance fee to the park is P50. It was a pretty easy but long trek so I suggest wearing comfortable attire and shoes.
It was a little past 3PM when I decided to explore Camp John Hay. My memories of visiting the place were vague, given that I was still a kid then. The jeepney dropped me off at the gates and I did not know that it was going to be a long walk! I would’ve used Grab had I not told myself not to take a cab on this trip. A little cardio would be great, I thought. The cool air of Baguio and the tall pine trees made the walk fun. Besides, I was there to look for Choco-Late de Batirol. The restaurant hides at the heart of Camp John Hay in Igorot Park, under towering trees. The cafe served traditional rich hot chocolate. Do you remember your Tsokolate E and Tsokolate A from Noli Me Tangere? That is how it felt like. I had Suman sa Lihia to complement my cup of hot choco.
The Laperal White House is another haunted spot in Baguio City that I planned on visiting, but, I enjoyed my time in Choco-Late de Batirol. Since it was still too early to call it a night, I explored Session Road and checked Ukay-Ukay shops. It took me some time to find my size, but it was worth it because I found branded goods for a quarter of their store price. There are shoes, shirts, and bags to choose from!
Before I went back to my unit, I visited the public market to buy more pasalubongs. There is a whole lane at the market dedicated to these goods and it is just a matter of which shop gives the best offer. For the sake of fair competition, every store has the same price point. I got jars of strawberry jam, lengua de gato, and peanut brittle. There are some given at 4 for 100 or 5 for 100. Definitely a steal!
I am now on my final night in Baguio but the backpacking experience is still far from over. Find out on my next post how my last day in the City of Pines went and where to get (or should I say pick?) fresh produce.