June 11-12, 2013: Rather spur of the moment, we rented a car, packed an overnight bag and headed to Baguio to visit Chris’ friend Steve and his family who live there. It’s a rare occurrence when Chris and Steve are both in the country at the same time with their jet-setting work schedules.
Originally we thought we’d take the bus…but what to do with Nukaat and all his stuff? He has way more baggage than the two of us put together!
It’s only about 230km, but distance and time are not correlated here. I don’t think I’d recommend this as an overnight trip. Certainly doable but it’s a long drive and there’s much to do in Baguio. All the more reason for us to go again.
The drive starts out on a toll road, and the first half took just over an hour. Then you get onto local two lane roads and you creep along through towns and villages, past school zones and busy markets, stuck behind slow moving trucks, busses and trikes. Speed drops to one third, so the whole drive ends up taking more than four hours.
Baguio is up in the mountains and cooler than Subic, but only just. I was expecting low 20’s so I packed a sweater and jeans. It was high 20’s so not needed, although the locals were all wearing jackets and sweaters and hats.
We took Kennon Road up into the mountains, a crazy, narrow, winding, hairpin filled road that was reasonably empty of traffic. Yay! Busses and big trucks have to take another route and trikes aren’t allowed, so the drive was quite pleasant. We did wonder a bit though when we came to a “weak” bridge.
But once we reached downtown Baguio traffic was a nightmare once again. We drove around the downtown area in circles a few times just trying to find a parking space, finally ending up in Burnham Lake Park. Here we enjoyed an icy beverage away from the bustle while waiting for Steve to meet us and escort us to their home. A good thing too. We wouldn’t have found it on our own, not just because we had to drive clear across the Baguio airport runway and down some alleys barely wide enough for one car. What happens if someone is going the other way?
We met Steve’s wife Eden and their son, Mael. A few relatives dropped by and we spent the evening playing music and singing. Or at least Steve and cousin Marlon did. We mostly hummed along. Although I did play a mean tambourine. Even kitty seemed to enjoy being off the boat. He spent most of the evening trying to sneak outside. Not a good idea here. Eden’s cousins kept commenting on kitty’s size and that he would be good grilled. Cover your ears kitty!
The next day, we ventured out for a whirlwind tour of some of the sights. Minus the Philippine Military Academy which wouldn’t let us inside wearing flip flops. We went to Mine’s View where we dressed up as indigenous Ifugao warriors and maidens. Pretty convincing, don’t you think? Then off to lunch at Gerry’s Grill. It was Philippine Independence Day, so there were flags and parades and celebrations everywhere.
After lunch our next stop was the Tam-Awan Village to see some traditional Ifugao huts that had been relocated from around the area for preservation and education. Our guide, Cassandra, gave an excellent tour.
All too soon, it was time to pack up kitty once again and head back to the lowlands and return to Subic. Guess we’ll just have to go back to Baguio another day! Thanks to Steve and Eden and Mael for welcoming us into their home! We had a great time!!!