Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year in the City of Pines (Baguio 2014)

The cold weather in Baguio has lured us to visit this mountain city for New Year.  Last December 30, me together with my parter and a group of friends drove the 6 hour trip taking the newly opened TPLEX route.  TPLEX is an extension of SCTEX that will let you exit at Paniqui Tarlac instead of Tarlac City.

We left at 5am and after  a few stops, arrived just in time for lunch.   Since we were extremely hungry from the long drive, we decided to eat at the Turo-turo establishments at Burnham Park.  Because of the holiday season, the more popular restaurants are packed with people and we don't want to wait in line.  Here, instantly we were guaranteed of a seat and the meals are served as soon as you made your choice from their display stand and pots.

After the meal, we settled to the house we were renting for the next 3 days.  We got the 4 bedroom house that can accommodate 15 persons for only 3,000 pesos a night.  The house comes with a functioning kitchen, a living room, a dining area, a veranda, a picnic hut and grill area and the toilets are equipped with hot water.  What's also good about the house is its proximity to Burnham Park.  You can just walk your way to major spots and is just right across the tennis court along Kisad Rd.

Our house on the hill.  Nanay Flor the caretaker usually relies from referrals instead of advertising.  Post comments for their contact details.  They only rent out the lower unit as the owner stays above.
One of the four bedrooms
The outdoor shade with grilling station.
The veranda that overlooks Kisad Rd. and Burnham Park
The Living, Dining and Kitchen area

After settling our things, we went out for dinner at Hill Station near SM City Baguio, and proceeded to Starbucks at Camp John Hay for coffee.  The temperature then was 12.2 degrees, just what we came for.  Our original plan was to sample the night life of the city, but since my partner was not feeling well from the fatigue of the travel and lack of sleep, we decided to just stay for the night.

The next day, we went to Cafe by the Ruins for late Breakfast.  We have visited the city a couple of times and want to forego the usual destinations.

The most expensive Champorado I ever had!

After eating, we went to visit BenCab's Museum along Asin Road.  Going there is a bit of a challenge with winding steep roads.  The museum showcases the work of Ben Cabrera, as well as other local artists and local handicrafts.  If I remember it right, they have four level of galleries and a coffee shop at the bottom level that opens to the pond.  The entrance fee to gallery is only 100 pesos.  They also have an eco-trail that will let you explore the valley beside it.  The view from all levels is breathtaking.  I admire how they bring the beauty of the outdoor scenery inside to blend with the art pieces with picture windows and open balconies.

After the Museum, we drove the steep road back to the city and decided to just cook our dinner since its new years eve.  We went to the public market to get our ingredients.  We even bought lechon, since we felt no celebration would be complete without it.  On our menu was Pansit Canton, Korean Style Barbecue Pork, Fried Chicken, and of course the Lechon which we stewed with vinegar after the late lunch because it's loosing its crunch.

On our menu was Pansit Canton, Korean Style Barbecue Pork, Fried Chicken, and of course the Lechon which we stewed with vinegar after the late lunch because it's loosing its crunch.

We finished cooking around 9pm just in time for a really late dinner.  At 10pm, we were driving around the city in search of a place for the countdown.   We were surprised that in spite of the number of tourist who flocked the city, very few establishments were open.  The Manor package was too costly at 1200 pesos.  We were close to giving up and just return to the house we were renting when we heard of the countdown package at Forest Lodge, just behind the manor.

We arrived just a few minutes past 11.  With the ticket costing us 300 pesos each, we have a complimentary drink, a paper trumpet as giveaway and view of the fireworks display.  We didn't even have to order because they were serving sparkling red and whites a few minutes before the countdown.   We positioned ourselves on one of the cocktail tables in the balcony.  As soon as the clock strikes 12, fireworks display both from the neighboring hotels and the one at Forest Lodge lit up the city.  The excitement mellowed a few minutes later.  We decided to go back to the house and feast on our leftover from dinner.

We woke up late the next morning.  After packing our things, we bid goodbye to the caretaker and went to eat at Good Taste Restaurant for lunch.  We made a quick stop at Good Shepherd for their Ube Jam, but was disappointed since it went out of stock and just settled on the ones being sold at the market.

It was almost 3pm when we left the city, taking Kennon Road to La Union.  After a quick toilet stop in Sison in Pangasinan, I was asked to drive the automatic vehicle for the first time.  I started out slow, but got the hang of the pressure on the breaks after a few kilometers.  We made a stop in San Fernando, Pampanga hopefully to catch the Giant Lantern Festival, but was an hour short.  We just ate at one of the restaurants at the Gas station along JAS Ave. near Dolores Intersection and arrived home just before midnight.


  1. Nice blog.. can we.get the.contact.details.of.nanay flor po pls. Thanks


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