a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Monday, October 24, 2011

Me-Time in Baguio

With muddied shoes and clothes drenched in a mixture of soil, sweat and rain, I hailed the first van that passed across the road back to Baguio City. I had just gone down from Mt. Timbac in Atok, Benguet where I enjoyed a solitary hike. (Post here)

Embarrassment crept through me as the door of the van closed. After 5 hours of hiking, I knew I smelled unpleasant. On the first chance I had, I poured on some  baby powder and sprayed alcohol all over myself to mask my appalling scent somehow.  :P

Though I was uncomfortable, the views around the Halsema Highway was  just as beautiful as the last time I saw it. In less than two hours, we reached La Trinidad where there was heavy traffic approaching the city proper. I didn't have any concrete plans. I just wanted to get out of my stinky clothes.  I considered going home that evening but at the last minute, I decided to stay one more day to enjoy the city.

Walking around in search of a cheap  accommodation,  brought me back to Hotel 45. It's a no-frills budget hotel at the heart of Session Road which is near good restaurants and it's also where me and some friends stayed on our last hiking trip.  After cleaning up, I crashed for the night.


The following morning,   I wandered off a few blocks from the hotel,  (after applying eye liner, hahahaha!) in search of  a good breakfast. I found Zola Bar & Restaurant,  which is open 24 hours.

I immediately grabbed an empty lounge seat  and ordered for a bacon, egg, rice and coffee. It only costs 84 Pesos. Woohoo! The food I ordered isn't that tasty but I love the well-done egg that came with it and the free coffee refills. The interiors are hip, though the colors reminded me of Halloween with its orange and black theme. (Tip: This turns in a smoky bar in the evening so go here after 6 or 7 am for a relaxing breakfast. I was told that it's an entirely different story at night. :p)



After breakfast, I visited (for the first time!), one of the most photographed landmarks in Baguio - The Lady of Atonement Cathedral or more popularly known as the Baguio Cathedral. It's   located  a few steps from Zola. The facade was gorgeous. I was particularly amused with the twin spires that distinguished it from most churches. 


Next stop was SM where I left my backpack. After strolling around the mall,  I  searched for the jeep going to BenCab Museum which is near the public market. The museum is about 7 kilometers from Baguio and the jeep that plies the Asin route passes directly in front of the museum. It's less than 30 minutes away from the city (without traffic).

The entrance fee is at 100 Pesos (there's a discounted rate for students) which is well worth it. It houses amazing artworks from carvings, sculptures and paintings in various styles.

The enormous landscaped  garden at the back of the museum has got to be my favorite part, well, aside from the food at Cafe Sabel (:P). Here, it's quiet and they have huts amidst ponds where you can relax or think. There's also an eco trail which one can inquire at the reception which I have yet to try.




Feeling refreshed  after roaming the museum, I headed back to Baguio where I met with a  friend  and had dinner at Oh My Gulay, a vegetarian restaurant located at the 5th Floor of La Azotea building along Session Road. It has relaxing, nature-inspired interiors.  There's even a mini pond inside.  Here, I also ran into another friend who I haven't seen in months. Haha, what a coincidence!



The dinner was my final quiet escapade in Baguio and I can't wait to do this again!

Travel Notes:
Expenses:
Pasay to Baguio via Victory Liner (air-con)- 455 Pesos (one way)
Fare from Public Market to BenCab Museum - 13 Pesos/way
Rates at Hotel 45

BenCab Museum Website 
Visit the Victory Liner for the  trip schedules and fares to Baguio - Website 

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