Sunday, November 18, 2012

Baguio, The Mountain's Heart

Probably my favorite picture of the series. It just sums up Baguio perfectly. 

I was only given one life on this Earth, and I intend to make the most out of it.

What most of us don't realize about life is that time is fleeting. What was once today, can quickly become yesterday with the bat of an eyelash. Just like that, the day becomes a thing of the past where the only place you can relive it is in memory.

When it comes to my own quirky way of thinking, there is nothing I hate more than an unproductive day. Although I can't help it, sometimes the lures and snares of television, the internet and laziness keep me jailed indoors. Here's an example: What usually starts off as one hour of idle 'Facebooking' usually turns into two; then three; then four and so on. Before I realize it, the day is gone and the night finds me the same person I was in the morning.

One of my personal mottos in life is to let no day go by without learning something new. I recently realized that one of the best ways to learn new things is by travelling. Who would have thought that you'd discover so so much by first losing yourself on a journey? The thrill of exploring the unknown is captivating; and the promise of adventure is addicting.

My most recent adventure took me all the way up to the land of misty mountains and endless pine trees. My journey to Baguio started a little after midnight where I boarded the 1:15 AM bus to the mountain city. People say that Victory Liner buses are the best to use when taking the back-packers way up to Baguio. I guess they were right. Having experienced using the Farinas bus for going to La Union awhile back, I'd have to say that Victory Liner has safer terminals, newer & cleaner buses and better service. So I ended up paying 450 pesos for the Aircon bus on what was supposed to be a 7 hour trip. The drive up ended up being 5 hours long instead since no one was on the road.

Driving through the cordilleras that early in the morning allowed me a glimpse of the sun as it made it's way over the horizon and bathed the sloping mountains in fresh golden light. I couldn't take a picture though because my hands were permanently stuck to the insides of my second jacket pocket (I was wearing two). It was pretty damn cold!

I arrived in Baguio at around 6 A.M. to a sunny yet chilly morning. The sun was just rising over the mountains but the moon was still out. It made for quite a scene. I had a couple of hours of fresh morning light left so I made my way around the city center to take a few pictures. Found the Baguio Cathedral to be a good place to start.

Headed to The Manor in Camp John Hay next for lunch with Gia. Liked how the architecture of the place reminded me of a cabin in the woods with its roaring fire places and lodge like carpentry.

The Manor, Camp John Hay

Tiger Prawn Pasta
Lamb Shank.

Decided to get lost in the woods next. Perfect weather for a little exploring - chilly enough not to break a sweat, yet sunny enough for the light to filter down through the trees.

I really liked how you can just strike off the path almost anywhere in Baguio and just take a walk in the woods. The tall fir trees, the fresh mountain air and the rolling hills make for a pretty good afternoon. Almost seems like you're not in the Philippines anymore. Who needs to go to a foreign country when Baguio is just a bus ride away?

I still don't know why she doesn't like this shot haha
Explored Gia's old school next. Brent Baguio had an eerie glow about it since students were on break. Couple that with the ghost stories that I heard about the place and I should've been scared. But it struck me as more of a peaceful place with it's tidy white and green buildings and tall trees scattered around everywhere.

Brent dude. 
I couldn't leave Baguio without experiencing the horse trails. I used to ride horse-back (and carabao-back :) ) a lot when I was back in Bacolod but that stopped when I moved to Manila. My friend Monqiue in the picture down there knows the Baguio trails like the back of her hand and since her horse (Blaze) just came back from being filmed in an Emilio Aguinaldo movie (naks) I galloped off to experience Baguio via saddle.

Mah horseh. I think his name was 'Mindanao'?

We rented the other horses for around 300 pesos per hour (if you get a guide you have to add 350) and galloped through the main roads of Baguio city to make our way to the roads least taken which were on the mountain sides. I had a blast galloping past cars on the roads and appreciating the different side of Baguio on the forest trails.

Spent the cold nights of Baguio playing beer pong at Dugout. The crowd was very chill and friendly. The beer sure warmed us up through the night.

Ended one particular night in a kick-ass (albeit a little inebriated) manner by heading to a bar called Concoctions where a live band was playing. Some of the guys (Yeah, that's you Raymond & Luis) even got the band to hand over their instruments so that they could play a few tunes. Nice.

All in all, it was an amazing adventure to the heart of the mountains. If going to Baguio wasn't that hard, where to next?

No comments: