Baguio City

(A 5 day 4 night Adven-tour – March 13-17, 2015)

Baguio City is one of the famous cities in the Philippines and has been celebrated as the Summer Capital of the country for the past 99 years. This second trip to Baguio of mine had all started with the team trekkers  eagerness to climb Mount Pulag in Benguet. Mount Pulag is the highest peak in Luzon (@ 2,922 MASL) and the 3rd highest peak in the country next to Mount Dulang-Dulang (2nd highest @ 2,938 MASL) in Kitanglad Mountain Ranges, Bukidnon and Mount Apo in Davao (highest @ 2,956 MASL). – info from wikipedia

Last September 2014, we booked our plane tickets for the March 2015 Travel. Lucky for us coz there was an airfare sale on that time for January 2015 – March 2015. January and February seems too cold. Besides, Panagbenga Festival is in February and there is an expected influx of tourists on that month. So we chose March as our travel month because it is the start of summer already so the temperature in the mountains is not that cold.

We had decided on the travel dates then to be March 13 -17, 2015 via Clark Airbase. The plan is to have a five day four night trip for the reason that we are going to tour around Baguio aside from our main purpose that is to reach at the summit of Mount Pulag. We then availed of the Mount Pulag Adventure package for the very purpose that our trekking activity will be convenient and enjoyable one. We availed the packages offered by “Pagnat Saka Adventour”.

Time travels very fast and its almost the day of our travel. Everyone seems excited and at the same time anxious as what to bring in Baguio esp in Mount Pulag, coz the pagnat saka advised us that the temperature in Mount Pulag may drop to a variation of 0-7 degrees Celcius at night.

Moment of Truth
Day 1

On Friday the 13th of March, around 3:30 AM, we then met at Pre-Departure Area at Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA)  for the 5AM flight. We had queued at the check-in counter at around 3:50AM and done checking in our luggage at around 4:00AM. All of us really felt sleepy coz we stayed late at the office the previous night.

Mactan Airport

After an hour and 15 minutes of air travel, we touched down Clark at around 6:15AM. The sleepy look on everyone’s faces was gone and all you can see is their smiles and excitement to reach Baguio.

Clark International Airport IMG_20150313_061536 (1)IMG_20150313_062912 (1)

After we got our luggage, we then heed out of the Diosdado Macapagal Airport. Right outside the Airport, we negotiated a Van rental going to Baguio. The rent was originally 6,000 for the van with driver but we managed to get a discount and agreed at 5,000 rent. On top of the discount, the owner offered us to use one of their new Toyota Hi-Ace vans for convenience.

Since we were 8 all in all, there is not much of a difference  on fare if we were hailing a bus. Extra bonus is the convenience and the trip would be much smoother and shorter since there will be no frequent stops to pick up commuters.

Our Van driver, “Manong Jay” seems nice and kind. He kept talking to us and tried to make us feel comfortable in our trip as it was a bit long trip indeed. He even recommended us to take our breakfast along the way and find some place for us to eat. Its somewhat early still (around 7 am), and most of the restaurants and fast food chains along the way are still closed. They usually open at 8 AM (not much of 24-hour food chains in the place).

After almost 2 hours of travel and watching the scenery along the way, sleeping for few minutes, we felt hungry already. We kept looking for any fast food chains along the way, but to no avail they are still close. Until we reached La Union area, there we found an open one , Yay! it’s breakfast time at Chowking Rosario La Union Branch.

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After breakfast, some of us stayed outside while we were still using the restrooms. They met a street vendor for “Tupig” and offered a “free taste” of it to one of our colleagues. One of our colleagues out of innocence, really thought it is free. hahaha.

Alas! it’s not. The moment my colleague ate the Tupig, the vendor wrapped the packs of tupig and gave it to her.
(7 packs for a hundred pesos and each pack contains 3 tupigs)

Out of respect, my another colleague paid the food coz he knew that its not really free. Well anyways, after that incident we used to tease her that “not all free taste” are  really free! so beware of eating those “free taste” esp from street vendors except for the “free samples” on malls coz they are really free of charge.

“By the way, Tupig is a native delicacy and pasalubong originated from Northern part of Luzon which is made out of ground glutinous rice (malagkit) and coconut strips wrapped in wilted banana leaves and cooked over live coals.”

Well the trip must go on, we had a fun ride with all the teasing and laughter inside the van with the special participation of our driver. He is indeed nice and down to earth guy and had a sense of humor too. Its seems that we knew him like for a long time.

It was past 9 in the morning and we were already in the Kenon road. It simply means Baguio is near enough. Along the Kenon road, we stopped at the famous Lion’s head to take some photos. While taking our photos, we can feel that the air is getting colder and we proceed with our journey afterwards.

IMG_20150313_094748 (1)Thanks for taking this Pic Tats 🙂

20 minutes past 10 AM, we were finally at Baguio city and our drop off point is at the Victory Liner Terminal. Upon reaching Victory Liner Terminal, everyone is excited unloading their stuffs. Our driver is kind enough to offer us to fetch us back to Clark Airbase from Baguio after our tour and he gave us his phone number.

Baguio City it is!

We decided not to pre-book our accommodation to add thrill and excitement to our adventure. Immediately, we went to the tourist information kiosk just across the Terminal to inquire for accommodation options. Two of our companions ask someone in the kiosk (Tourism Frontliners) and they offered us options.

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After a short discussion with the group, we agreed to stay in a transient house owned by one of the Tourism Frontliners Mario “Jhong” Marzan Jr located at 116 Sta. Escolastica Village, Baguio City around 10-15 minute ride from city proper.

Kuya Jhong offered us also a van transport going to his transient house for just a fee of 100 for the eight of us. It is reasonable enough since a taxi fare going there would be around 50-60 pesos (considering were 8 in total, we need to hail 2 cabs) . We then buy some stuffs and ingredients on the nearby store for our meals. After, we went straight to the transient house to secure our stuffs, have a quick rest and cook our meal.

Our Baguio adventure continues and I will be posting separately the places we’ve been to. Stay tuned!

Our itinerary is below:

Day 1 (Friday)
03:30 – 03:45 AM Meeting time (pre-departure area @ MCIA)
03:45 – 04:15 AM Check in Time
05:00 – 06:15 AM Cebu – Clark Airbase
06:15 – 06:45 AM Luggage pickup, look for a Van transport
06:50 – 08:30 AM Airport to Rosario La Union (hired Van)
08:30 – 09:00 AM Breakfast @ Chowking (Rosario La Union)
09:00 – 09:40 AM Resume trip – Lion’s Head along Kenon Road
09:40 – 09:50 AM Picture Taking @Lion’s head
09:50 – 10:20 AM Resume trip – Arrival @ Victory Liner Terminal
10:20 – 10:45 AM Inquire at Tourist Information for accomodation
Buy ingredients for Lunch
10:45 – 10:50 AM Terminal to Transient House
11:00 – 12:00 PM Prepare / cook lunch
12:00 – 01:00 PM Lunch
01:00 – 03:00 PM Quick Rest / Power nap / etc
03:00 – 07:00 PM Burnham Park
Meeting the Mount Pulag guide
SM City Baguio – Buy something??
07:30 – 08:30 PM Dinner @ Session Road
08:30 – 09: 30 PM Back to Transient house
Pack up for Mount Pulag Trek
09:30 – Onwards Dreamland
Day 2 (Saturday)
03:00 – 04:00 AM Final Preparation for Pulag trek
4:00 AM Meetup at 7eleven across Victory Liner terminal
5:00 AM – Onwards Pulag Trip
Day 3 (Sunday)
Trek to Mount Pulag
Sunrise at Pulag
Jangjang hanging bridge
Ambuklao Dam
Sulfur Lake ( not visited – shortage of time)
Back to baguio
Day 4 (Monday) (Tour package offered by Kuya Jhong) Rate: 2,500 whole day tour
La Presa + 500 (not included in the tour package)
Lourdes Grotto
Tam-Awan Village
Marosan’s ViewDeck Café
Strawberry Farm
Chinese Temple
Mines View Park
The Mansion
Wright Park
Buy Pasalubong
(were not able to visit all the places – we are running out of time again :))
Day 5 (Tuesday)
06:00 AM – 11:00 AM Prepare/Eat Breakfast / pack up things / settle bills / etc
11:00 AM ~ 11:15 AM Meetup at Gasoline Station with the Hired Van
11:15:00 AM ~ Trip going back to Clark Pampanga
Kennon Road Viewing Pavillion
2:00 PM Late Lunch@Isdaan (Gerona, Tarlac)
5:00 PM Dinosaurs island
6:00 PM Chil at the Airport pre-departure Area while waiting for Check-in time
07:30 – 08:00 PM Check IN Time
08:30 – 08:45 PM Boarding Time
09:00 – 10:25 PM Clark – Cebu (Home sweet Home)

Note:

The place that we have stayed is suggested for travelers who want to save extra. Not much savings on the accommodation itself as it was almost the same as the rates of some descent inns along the session road (where we stayed on our first visit) but the savings would be for the food plus you have the freedom to cook what you want to eat for each meal plus the convenience and peace of mind that your belongings will be safe (not that other places are not safe, but the ease of mind that no one enters your room to clean things up – housekeeping).

Accommodation inclusions: (Rate: 2,800 per night)

1 room with 1 double deck bed = (good for 4 pax)
1 room with queen size bed + extra foam, pillows, blankets = (good for 4 pax)
Toilet and bath (hot shower)
living room / dining room
Refrigerator
kitchen with gas range
Kitchen utensils
Free wifi

Kuya Jhong’s contact number is below.

Jhong

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