Thursday, February 28, 2008

baguio and beyond

i had a great time this past weekend. despite work hassles, my officemates and i were able to leave the office at around 12 mn to start a 7 hour drive to Baguio. i didn't actually think we'll push through with the trip due to so many issues at work but we won't be stopped. we wanted to go to Bagiuo, then off we go to Baguio!

first stop: NLEX!!! hahaha! =D

well...i am allowed to be excited ya'know! it's my first time in NLEX and there's this Shell gas station that looked a lot like the airport. so we had fun poking around and looking at treats available in the area. we got some water and some food then we're on the road again. from the get go, the journey was already very exciting because not one of us knows how to get to Baguio. we just followed the bright neon signs from our friendly "DPC Yellow Pages" signages and we didn't get lost. we just took a really loooooong alternate route to Baguio hehe.

next stop: Caltex station (I don't exactly know where). here we changed drivers from Irvin to Mico. much of this part i can't remember since it was already 4 am and i kept on sleeping during the ride hehe.

finally: Baguio!!! we were just in time for the first parade where participants wore flower costumes and did some street dances. a good thing about this trip is that we really didn't mean to be there for the Panagbenga Festival. it just so happened that there was a long weekend and we really wanted to go out of town. since we were already there...we might as well enjoy! below are some pics from the flower parade:

since we have to walk back to our parked car after the parade, we took the opportunity to get some pictures (Filipinos!). below are some pics of a park near UP Baguio as well as some flower floats that are still under construction.

first order for dinner...STEAK!!! we went to SM Pines and we got stuck in traffic for about an hour in what's supposed to be just a 10 mins drive from our place. nevertheless, it was worth going since SM Pines is one of the malls in Philippines that doesn't use aircon. every molecule of air you breathe is fresh. Back to the steak, Irvin has been craving for some steak ever since we arrived at Baguio but looks like i got a bigger serving than he did. look at that smile!

after dinner we went for coffee at Camp John Hay Starbucks. again, we really did not have any plans of going for coffee. we just got so starstruck by a different Starbucks layout, very appealing and cozy in its log house look. we're like magnets that can't help but be lured into Starbucks's poles! when we got inside...we fooled around a lot and started ordering our coffee using dummy names. guess which cup is mine?

afterwards, we went into a bar to spend the rest of the night with other friends who were in Baguio too. we partied all night long and i saw some moves that i've never seen before, a'yt Mico? =D we still weren't satisfied after partying. we went back to our place and played cards till 6:00 am. Mico and I won two free dinners from our losing friends whohooo! (note to self, call on this debt). now...thanks to this all nighter, we were not able to wake up early enough to watch the flower floats parade. it's like missing the essence of Panagbenga but no regrets because we weren't there for Panagbenga festival in the first place remember? (yeah right! i still wanted to watch it though. i'm just too sleepy to wake up).

so we woke up around past lunch (yeah...we went to Baguio to sleep most of the day off haha!) and the first order of the day, food! so off we go again to Camp John Hay, our favorite place in Baguio now that I think of it, and dined at Mile Hi Diner. the sights and sounds, background painting, jukebox, and menu contributed to the overall feel of being in a real diner. but regardless of the menu, steak is all we have in mind. Look at me and Irvin feasting again on another plate of steak tsk! and another evidence of me committing another crime with conspirator Mico as we splurge on a huge glass of milkshake...there goes my diet!

after getting our stomachs filled, we're ready to go again. we snooped around Camp John Hay and took more pictures around the area. then off we went to PMA but before we got there, we stopped by an airstrip. it was really a pleasant find since it's not everyday that you can stop by a runway and take pictures (i really do not love pictures =D). when we arrived at PMA, we pose some more with the war tankers and even with the marching cadets.

afterwards, we went back to Camp John Hay Manor to spend our evening listening to Bossanova music. the manor's singers were really good and entertaining as they sang songs that got the audience grooving. it turned out to be a fun and relaxing night. we went again to another diner for dinner. it's called the "50's Diner" but Irvin kept on referring to it as "50 cents Diner" which eventually stuck on me so i found myself calling it such.

the following day, we readied ourselves for a half day more of tours and shopping before heading home. we went to "The Mansion", the famous President's residence in Baguio. we also went to Mines View Park which Irvin conveniently renamed as "Mine's Peak". we did some shopping there for strawberries and brooms (Baguio is famous for their durable brooms) then took some more pictures with Baguio's surviving ethnic tribe called "Igorots". hmm...and i really think the Igorot costume becomes me hehe.

as they say, all good things must come to an end. we have to leave Baguio and head back to Manila. but! but! but! the adveture is not yet over for us. on the way back, we made our way to the famous shrine of "Our Lady of Manaoag". we said our prayers and thanked the Lord and Mother for the blessed journey we had. and finally, as a good climatic ending to our Baguio adventure, we made an impromptu stop in what turned out to be a beatifully structured floating restaurant in Tarlac called "Isdaan". we were agog with all the sights to see, pictures to take, and food to taste. from the humongous monkeys, to the bigger than life Buddhas, and all too fresh seafoods.

the stop was really worth the ending we sought for this amazing trip.