Thursday, December 2, 2010


...not so Brrr-guio any more!

My insecure teenage self (one hundred years ago) vowed to never set foot in Baguio city ng walang ka-holding hands. You couldn’t blame my insecure teenage self. After all, the ex-puppy love (the first one at that) found his dream girl in this romantic city of pines and that ended my role in his life. Breakups, whether relationships are worth saving or not at all, are indescribably devastating. Even to an insecure teenage girl. Especially if it’s her first. Aside from the hindi-babalik-ng-walang-ka-holding-hands vow, I promised that when I get myself an extremely Derek Ramsey/Ryan Reynolds-hot husband, we shall make Baguio City one of our honeymoon stop-over’s. Get that? One of the. Kasi marami kaming honeymoon destinations. In your face.

Ang loser ko talaga. Haha!=)

But the vow, like my many many vows, never got fulfilled. Because 4 years ago, I had to be in Baguio for an academic research. And last week, I had to be in Baguio because my sister bullied me into going there. Both occasions, walang ka-holding hands status still. The company multiplied to cousins, friends of cousins, classmates of cousins and other friends. Exciting. The more the merrier.

But I think Baguio City is determined to eternally break my heart.

Heart-break Point #1: A friend of mine who I know is a very seasoned traveler tagged along at the thought that we’re going to Baler. It’s a very long story but the point is I couldn’t bear the thought of ruining somebody else’s very precious long weekend. I, for one, am very madamot of my free time just because working in the corporate gives one so little of it. So, I am pretty certain how disappointed he must have felt and I joked about carrying the guilt of dragging him to the mountains when he could have an easily relaxing time at the beach until the day I die. The joke, like most jokes is more than half-meant. It’s three-fourth’s meant. Or 98% meant. Or close to truth. But to close this chapter, to you my dear friend, I am really sorry.

Heart-break Point #2: We did not have an itinerary. We’re adventurous souls and we go with the flow. But you see, planning is part of common-sense travel and we were researching at the same time exploring the place. It’s nice because I like surprises. It’s not nice because surprises are most of the time stressful. So we missed the PMA silent drill. So we did not see strawberries in the strawberry farm because it was not strawberry picking-season. So we failed the plan to stroll along session road at night because we had no idea where to go and what to do. But at the end of the day I think, these epic fail events made my Baguio story more interesting. The next day, we broke up into different groups, each group doing his own version of making the most of our last day in Baguio.

Heart-break Point #3: As a backgrounder, our group was a mix of rowdy college kids and carefree in-their-late-20’s yuppies. So I was sort of in-between. Not so college. Not so late 20’s. The kids had their own thing. The yuppies had their own plan. The in-between me had a different trip, so on the last day of our stay in Baguio, I went around the city solo. Alone. So much for may ka-holding hands na dapat vow.

After eating lunch at Burnham Park with the yuppies, they proceeded to Mines View Park while I stayed for a while to observe Session Road (Baguio’s most famous avenue) and take pictures of the Pink Chapel (see, I even forgot the name and I’m so lazy to even google it). I got myself a free map of Baguio City courtesy of some government institution right across the Pink Church and hailed a taxi to Bencab Museum. Baguio’s salvation is its taxi drivers whose honesty and goodness I bow down to.

I am a failure at putting into words the description of places and my experiences in being at those places, so I am posting pictures so you’ll appreciate them more.=) After Bencab, I proceeded to Casa Vallejo to attend an “Author’s talk” in Mt. Cloud Bookshop, by far my most favorite Baguio find. I found out about the bookstore in a poster in Cafe by the Ruins where we had a great dinner the night before. Robin Lim, the author of the Butterfly People was there to talk about her book and I was feeling all artsy and smart so I found myself a corner where I can listen to her. Even if I do not have any idea who she was. Or what her book is all about. But I am always in awe of people who gets published, so I am in awe of her. She’s an American based in Indonesia but has roots in Baguio and is an advocate of water birthing. But since writing about her makes me feel like writing a college term paper, please do your share of research nalang, all I can say is, I have her to thank for my fulfilling Baguio trip. She misspelled my name when she signed my book but it’s alright, I loved her message: “For Christina, Thank you for coming and for being a shining light of beauty. Love, Ibu Rehlim” (her Indonesian name, I guess).

My first Baguio kilig moment. Even if I know, she has written that same message on every book she signed on that day.

Heart-break Point #4: Our last day was a Sunday – the first Sunday of Advent. I thought to make my Christmas more meaningful by celebrating mass in Baguio City. Since we were billeted in an apartelle near Sta. Catalina, I thought of making it my last stopover. So 3 hours before our trip back to Manila, I prepared myself for a Baguio-encounter with God, and went over to Sta. Catalina, only to find out that it is a convent and not a church. Is this a sign, Lord? Kaya ba ako walang ka-holding hands kasi magma-madre pala ako? Please do not confuse me. Peace. =)

Heart-break Point #5: Before heading back to Manila (the college kids extended their stay until the next day while the yuppies and me left Sunday night), we decided to eat dinner together as a group. We went to Good Taste, a long drive away from our apartelle, but the place was jampacked so we had to look for another one. My cousin read about this cozy place with fireplace called Forest Grill but we were told to wait for at least an hour. So we scratched that one out since our trip was only two hours away. We tried another restaurant and they were so willing to accommodate us, only our budget can not accommodate them. This restaurant-hopping happened while 4 of us were camped at the back of the FX taxi with all the luggages pinning us down - we were seated on the floor as there were no seats in the back. The taxi driver was kind enough to let us all 10 in his cab and won't accept a tip when we finally settled on a restaurant. I love Baguio taxi drivers!=) We wnded up in Barrio Fiesta and I think that was the only time our group bonded. I had a great time having dinner with the kids and the yuppies so much so that I was tempted to suggest to extend our stay. Better late bonding time than never.

Baguio, you have given me so much heart aches.
But at least you have given me a story.
Please, the next time I visit you, make your strawberry farm bear strawberries.
You may dislike me, but boy, when I think about my stay, I had a really great time.


You're still going to be one of our (my Derek Ramsey/Ryan Reynolds-hot husband and I) honeymoon stop-over's. Get that? One of the. Kasi mga one million honeymoon destinations yan.

In your face.=)


Yummy dinner at Cafe by the Ruins
Me: Manong, sa UP Baguio po.
Taxi Driver: Ne, isa lang UP dito.
Ang sweet ni kuya. grrr.=)
The College Kids, the Yuppies and the In-between!=)

Mt. Cloud Bookshop with Robin Lim's note!=)

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