Thursday, January 22, 2015

Baguio 2014 - Day 2

Our 2nd day in Baguio was still pretty much the same in terms of traffic. But we were able to visit more places. Yey!

Our first stop was Mines View Park. There really wasn't much of a view because, hello tons of people!


But my family was able to get a photo as proof that they were there, and that's sort of all that matters. Hehe!

Excuse the photobomber on the left. Hahaha!

So, what else can you do while in Mines View? If you can't see the "mines" because of the hordes of people, you can just walk around the place. You'll be surprised at all the other things you'll find.







We found this little area where you can rent authentic Igorot outfits for cheap. Igorot basically means mountain people. They are the natives who live in and take care of the mountains in Luzon. The folks manning the outfit area were Igorot senior citizens and they were really sweet!

My family and I went for it and donned the outfits for a photo op.

Don't you just love all the colors?

Of course, you can also shop for pasalubong at the many shops outside of Mines View Park. Don't forget to haggle!





After going through the crowded Mines View Park, we were famished so we looked for a place in nearby Camp John Hay. We didn't bother looking around that much. As soon as we spotted Shakey's, we hunted for a parking space and hightailed it to place our order. Haha!


After we scarfed down our pizza and chicken 'n mojos, we hopped back in the car and made it to PMA (Philippine Military Academy) with 20 minutes to spare before closing. The guards at the gate were considerate enough to warn us that they close the place to tourists at 5pm and that we might not have much fun with such a limited amount of time. We said our thanks and took our chance anyway, promising to pack up and leave at exactly 5pm.

There was virtually no traffic inside the PMA compound, so we were able to hightail it to the area where the tanks were. It was really, really cold, so we were glad that we got a few cups of very hot coffee at Starbucks in Camp John Hay before heading out to PMA.



In the 20 minutes that we had, we were able to take a lot of decent photos that didn't have huge crowds included in them. Haha!

That pretty much capped our tour during our 2nd day in Baguio. We headed back to Manila the next day, so you could probably say that we weren't able to go to all of the tourist spots that Baguio had to offer. But because my brother and his wife were only in the country for 2 weeks, we were glad that we were able to squeeze in a quick trip to Baguio anyway. My sister in law's never been there. And sure, the traffic was awful, but we enjoyed the weather anyway. I mean, how often do you get to bundle up in thick clothes when living in the Philippines? Haha!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Baguio 2014 - Day 1

We were in Baguio from December 28-30 last year - along with what seemed like hundreds of thousands of other people. There were cars and people everywhere, parking was a nightmare, and it took forever to get from one place to another.

After arriving at our hotel (High Point Boutique Inn and Restaurant) and having lunch and getting some rest, we piled into the car and attempted to go to Mine's View Park or Camp John Hay or Burnham Park. We really just wanted to go to any one of the tourist spots there. Unfortunately, traffic was horrendous and there was practically no parking space anywhere. We couldn't even get into SM Baguio because their parking area was filled to the brim!

At around 5pm, we gave up and looked for a place to eat instead. We ended up in Sizzling Plate. They had parking space! Haha! 

Image courtesy of my sister in law's iPhone.

After having our fill, we left the car parked at Sizzling Plate (we left a tip with the security guard) and explored Session Road a bit. There were lots of people, so it was a good thing that it was pretty cold. The temperature made walking around with a huge bunch of other people a lot more fun.

Image courtesy of my brother's camera.

If you look closely at the photo, you'll see that all our bags are in front of us. Whenever in a crowded area, it's best to keep your bags in front of you rather than behind you. You don't want to be tempting pick pockets. *wink*

So... That was pretty much what happened during our first day in Baguio. Haha!

Lesson learned? Do not go to Baguio during the holidays. That's if you want to really enjoy the place. The Memet and I visited Baguio a couple of years ago towards the end of January (a few weeks before the Panagbenga Festival) and there was hardly any traffic at all. Also, there weren't a lot of other tourists to battle with. Haha!

I will post a summary of that Baguio vacation soon. :)

Baguio's High Point Boutique Inn & Restaurant

My Hello, 2015! post was full of my adventures in the previous month. And one of them was our quick visit to Baguio. My sister in law has never been there, so when they came home for the new year, we made sure that Baguio was one of our stops.

Holiday Park Hotel was already fully booked when I was looking for accommodations for our two-night stay but after some diligent searching, I found High Point Boutique Inn and Restaurant and booked them through Agoda. (I love Agoda's book now, pay later option. Hehe!)

We headed up to Baguio on the 28th of December. Traffic wasn't so bad going up, but we did see a ton of cars heading down. We thought it was a good thing, but apparently, traffic was still seriously congested in Baguio City even with the huge volume of vehicles leaving the city. Luckily, High Point is right along Kennon Road (a few hundred meters before the Welcome to Baguio City arch), so we didn't have to endure through too much traffic. We drove right in and parked our car, because we wanted to have a meal and get some rest before we officially started our adventure. We didn't really get a lot of sleep prior to the trip.

As we were famished and we still had time before the "official" check in time, we decided to try out High Point's lunch fare. We ordered the following:







Now, don't hate me, but I'm not that much into Filipino food. I don't know what's wrong with my taste buds. The only Filipino dishes I really, really like are the silog ones and the grilled stuff. Haha!

But my family loves Filipino food, and so we ordered the stuff in the pictures above. After the meal, we all agreed that the viands weren't all that tasty. Yep. They were all mostly bland. We spent approximately P200-P400 per head during that lunch.

By the time we finished eating, our room was ready and we were allowed to head up.




The room I picked out for my family was a Triple Deluxe. There were six of us and there were three double beds, so we had ample room to sleep comfortably. The photo below is the only one I was able to take when we got to the room because as soon as we were all inside, my family was all over the place. Haha! I tried to take a photo of the bathroom, but it was occupied at the time and I completely forgot about it.


Because of Baguio's weather, the room had a kind of musty smell to it. But then again, we only noticed because we all have very sensitive noses.

The bathroom was spacious enough and could fit two folks at a time. The only thing was that the sink wouldn't drain properly. It took forever for the water to seep through the drain and it was dripping underneath, so one of the staff had to put a trash bin under the sink to catch all the drip, drip, drip. We just had to remember to throw the dirty water in the toilet so that it didn't overflow onto the bathroom floor. It was a task that nobody looked forward to. Haha!

There was hot water in the shower (yey!), but there were no rugs inside the bathroom, so we tended to track wetness all over the bathroom floor. It wasn't entirely sanitary, because whenever someone wearing shoes entered the wet bathroom, the place always ended up muddy. It's a good thing I had tons of wet wipes with me, so I always cleaned up after somebody's been in the bathroom.

There was one roll of (free) tissue in the bathroom, but if you used it up and wanted more, you'd have to pay for a new roll. If you wanted to use a hair dryer, you had to pay for it too. And they charged per day. It's a good thing we brought our own. As for the tissue, we just bought our own stash. It was cheaper that way.

If you're going to stay at High Point, it would be best if you bring all your essentials with you. Oh, wait. They did, however, have towels for all of us. I'm just not sure if there's an extra charge if you asked for fresh towels after a day or two.

Anyway, after the forgettable lunch experience that we had, I was sincerely looking forward to what kind of breakfast we would be served the next day. I'm a breakfast person. Compared to the lunch that we had, Breakfast wasn't so bad. We ordered two of each of the following dishes:




The portions were a bit on the small side. But I'm glad it tasted okay. The boys liked the bangus the best. We ended up ordering the same things during our two breakfasts there. Haha!

Overall, I'd say our stay was okay at best. It wasn't entirely terrible and it wasn't great. The hotel staff weren't terrible, and they weren't great either. Some of them were nice, but some of them weren't all that pleasant to deal with. Would I stay there again in the future? Probably not. Sure, the six of us paid less than 7k for our two-night stay there (not including our bill for lunch), but I guess I was kind of expecting more than an "okay" experience. I was looking for more warmth in the staff's service. Hehe! And a small thing like bathroom rugs could've made a huge difference.

We did, however, enjoy the complimentary WIFI and the comfortable beds. The six of us really fit nicely in our Triple Deluxe bedroom.



___________________________________
High Point Boutique Inn and Restaurant
Kennon Rd. Cor. Amistad St., Camp 7
Baguio City, Philippines 2600
[63] 908.891.8765
http://highpoint.com.ph/

Thursday, January 08, 2015

New Visit the Philippines 2015 Video

The Philippines' Department of Tourism (DOT) recently launched a campaign video to encourage people to travel to the Philippines in 2015. I loved it the first time I watched it and I'm sure you will too.


Look closely while you watch it and you'll see a lot of the places that The Memet and I have already been to. I hope y'all would also explore the Philippines because our country has so many beautiful locations. It's like a one stop shop! :)

Here's the video. Don't forget to share!



For more information, visit visitph2015.com.

Hello, 2015!

Wow. It's already been a week since the year transitioned into a new one. I feel like time's flying! Did you notice the lack of blog posts for the past couple of weeks? I hope you did, because that would mean that you're waiting for my posts. Hehe!

Anyway, December, for me, is always family month. I have such a big family and being married doubled it. Married folks know how hard it can get to give both sides of the family equal amounts of time during the holidays. And Lord knows The Memet and I try to be fair every year.

So with that thought, you can probably imagine how hectic our December was.

This post is going to be what I consider a quick rundown of some of the most exciting things that we did well into January 1st. I'll leave out the unexciting ones. Haha!

December 2 - Wedding

This wedding took place in QC. The wedding reception was at Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman. I absolutely loved the church's architecture, but I'm not sure if I can post them here, so I'll share with you these two photos instead.

I just had to share this with y'all because I love the light in this photo.

I'm wearing a dress from sesura.com :)

December 14 - Photographer Duties

Believe it or not, I'm sort of our locale congregation's official photographer now. Haha! It's an honor, but it's hard work too! See the frazzled look in my eyes? LOL!

I'm wearing a Sophie Martin dress that I've had for a couple of years now.

December 15 - Year-End Get Together

Every year, the secretariat department at our church's locale congregation has a year-end get together. We have awarding ceremonies, games, and of course, we eat lots of food. It's always a nice way to bond with each other without forms, pens, staplers, etc. Haha!

There were lots more outside, Those of us wearing pink just sneaked inside for a photo op. Haha!

December 21 - Year-End Thanksgiving

It's still our church's centennial year, and I think that's one of the reasons that our Thanksgiving was all the more special. I can't post our photos from inside the church, so here's one from the outside instaed. Too bad The Memet already shed his uniform.


December 22 - Year-End Party at One Arena

This was a last minute thing. I didn't even know that The Memet planned on bringing me to the munisipyo's Year-End Party until a couple of hours before the party itself. The party's highlight was the contest that they had wherein the many different departments created music videos. The videos were hilarious, especially the one from The Memet's department! And wouldn't you know it? The Memet and his gang won first place! (Proud wifey here. Haha!)

Image courtesy of Aries dela Vega.

December 28-30 - Baguio Trip with the Family

My parents already knew about this trip as early as the 2nd quarter of this year. What they didn't know was that my brother and his wife (they live in Singapore) were coming home to go on the trip with us and that they'd be here for the New Year! We pulled off the surprise quite well and had a lot of fun in Baguio. The traffic was horrible though. It was also really cold (the temperature dropped to 11 degrees while we were there) and so most of us came home with a bad cold. Haha!


Image courtesy of my brother.

Image courtesy of my sister in law's iPhone.


Sorry. Can't remember whose phone we used for this photo. Haha!


December 31 - Countdown to 2015 at the Philippine Arena

The Memet and I spent New Year's Eve with his family at Ciudad de Victoria where the Philippine Arena's at. Sure, Chris Brown didn't make it to have his concert there, but it didn't dampen our spirits. Bamboo more than made up for his absence (for me anyway). Hehe!

Lucky shot. Haha! I love my camera.


Love that fountain!



January 1 - New Year's at Candaba, Pampanga

We slept at one of the houses in the Ciudad de Victoria complex and the next day (January 1st), The Memet and I drove to Candaba, Pampanga where we met up with my family and my mom's side of the family. We have a huge family there and that more than ensured that our day was filled with lots of laughter.




That pretty much made up my holiday vacation. It was pretty jam-packed if you include all the shopping, the dates with friends and The Memet, all the other church activities, and everything else in between. The main reason I didn't blog as soon as 2015 said hello was that I wanted to rest. I was tired to the bone. Haha! Despite all that, I'm happy. My 2014 ended on an extremely happy note and I can't be thankful enough.

So. How was the end of your year? I hope y'all had as much fun with your family and loved ones as I did. :)

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