We alighted from the bus, our battered bodies still hung over from the dizzying Marcos Highway sprint (where Lia almost puked on me). In between Agoo and that Victory Liner Terminal in Utility Road, the anticipation over Baguio somehow dissipated particularly due to Lia’s incessant and extravagant displays of autonomy. Truly, there is nothing more harrowing than Baguio’s ghostly houses than a toddler throwing temper tantrums on the bus for nearly five hours!
|Marcos Highway on the way home. That is one awesome mountain river.
The giddiness once again took over as the cab cruised toward Casa Vallejo, and we were welcomed with Baguio’s balmy breeze from the open car windows. In Baguio, air conditioning is a peculiar idea. I’ve yet to encounter a hotel or a cab that used one – even when it’s drizzling. For the first time since visiting Tagaytay last December, my pores were taut and I’ll never have to worry about baskil.
Despite it being my fifth time in the city, She still surprised me. The hills explicitly exposed to their bones, cradling rows of houses and inns; the streets strictures lost among vehicles and boards boasting a myriad of city attractions.Traffic is an everyday reality – Lower Session Road, Abanao Street and the way to La Trinidad being the worst. Even Session Road did not look the same as it did ten years ago. Back in the day, we bought bonsais from natives from the piney street across Rose Bowl. Infrastructure has replaced those pines.
The number of Baguio’s coveted pine trees were significantly fewer. On mornings I would crave the scent-sational fragrance of pine needles as I sipped my P5-coffee outside the hotel, its faint smell guised under that of gas.
Over the next three days, we were blessed with the charming sight of greens and rustic houses amid foggy,wet mountains; frigorific weather; dirt-cheap and yummy native cuisine; and generous servings of fresh produce. But above all, we were spoiled to bits by warm locals. They are Baguio’s true gem.
|Foggy all the way through in and out.
People here are extremely friendly and courteous. Taxi drivers charge strictly by the meter. They don’t trick passengers into pre-arrangements. They always have change and really give it back even if it’s just a peso. On our second day, I spoke in front of 40 fourth year college students at the University of Baguio about blogging and online writing and have formed a newfound respect for Baguio students. They were hip and well-versed like Manila’s youth, but delightfully attentive and polite even if I started out a bit shy and jittery (this being my first ever teaching gig). All throughout the 2 1/2 hour-seminar, there was no indistinct chatter in the room.
…Which kind of made me feel guilty I missed out saying a couple of points because of that darn first-time nervousness (Dear student, if you are reading this, please expect a thank you e-mail from me stating those important points I missed out on).
|At the creepy Diplomat Hotel
Despite its now commercial face, the fewer pine trees and terrible traffic, Baguio stirs the soul. It possesses, even in sporadic amounts, that old world charm, and wonderful, receptive people who’ll enrich your journey. I send my hefty thank you’s to the city and to my dear students for offering me an opportunity to discover other sides: that of other worlds and of teaching. I pray that you took home something as meaningful with you too.
Read the rest of the Baguio trip series:
Baguio’s Charm and A First Teaching Engagement
Review: Casa Vallejo Hotel, Baguio City
Mt. Cloud Bookshop, North Haven Spa and Cinematheque at Casa Vallejo, Baguio City
Baguio’s Famous Haunts: The Diplomat Hotel, Laperal House and Casa Vallejo Hotel
Baguio’s Tam-Awan Village: Nature and Art Haven
Trinidad, Benguet Side Trip: Bell Church and Strawberry Fields
Hill Station, Baguio City: Fine Dining Without Frills
Baguio City Tour: Lourdes Grotto, Good Shepherd, The Mansion, Wright Park and Mines View Park
SM Baguio’s Pretty Skyline, Baguio Cathedral, and A Little Known Bulalohan