September 20-23, 2017
My boyfriend and I decided we’d go on vacation to celebrate our anniversary, hence, this travel post. This is the second time we’ve done this and we’re enjoying it so far. 🙂 Last year was our first and we went to El Nido, Palawan. I blogged about it here.
This year, we went to Baguio City, the Summer Capital of the Philippines.
QUICK TRIVIA: The mall (SM Baguio) and cabs don’t have airconditioners (they don’t need that, anyway). 🙂
BUS TICKETS: We booked tickets online via Victory Liner (2 months ahead). It’s a hassle-free option in booking bus tickets but not practical. There’s an additional 50 pesos ($0.97) convenience fee but you’d still have to queue to get the voucher exchanged to the actual bus ticket. If it’s not peak season, save your 50 pesos ($0.97) and buy tickets from the ticket booth.
HOTEL ACCOMODATION: It took me time to decide which hotel we’d book. I’ve found tons of them within our budget range but we wanted one that’s near the city. We initially chose Hotel Veniz but they didn’t have an available room for our first night so we went to our second option, which was Paladin Hotel. We were very happy the way they’ve assisted us. My boyfriend secretly asked for a room decoration (petals on the floor) and they did it without an additional fee. However, if you can spend 1500 pesos ($29.25) to surprise your loved one, you’d already get petal decorations, cake, and balloons. It’s worth every penny because they’ll make sure the decoration is at its best. My boyfriend only wanted petals on the floor but they took a step up by forming the letters I U and a <3 in the middle for that sweeter touch. <3 Plus, the staff are very accomodating, too. They’re always smiling no matter what time we see them. The room was well prepared as well. The sheets are fresh and crisp. The washroom was spotless.
FOOD: We had a free breakfast every morning in the hotel so we only had to worry about lunch and dinner. We didn’t eat at a restaurant, only at fastfood chains, night market, and stalls in the mall.
We arrived at 2:45 in the afternoon after a 7-hour travel from Pasay, Manila. It was kind of drizzling since it’s rainy season. We rested for a few minutes and decided to go to SM Baguio to each lunch. The rain poured just when we were walking back to the hotel so we weren’t able to do much on our first day. We just visited the Night Market at 9 PM.
This was the first day we’re finally able to do anything after we’ve arrived. Our itinerary for this day was to go to Mines View Park, The Wright Park, The Mansion, Botanical Garden, The Laperal White House, The Pink Sisters Convent, Baguio Cathedral, and of course, Night Market come 9 PM.
MINES VIEW PARK
We took a cab from the hotel to Mines View Park. It only cost us less than a hundred pesos.
From the Mines View Park, we rode a jeepney just outside the gate. The fare was 8 pesos ($0.15) (I think!)
THE WRIGHT PARK
Right in front of The Mansion is the Wright Park. It’s a small park with surrounding trees. It also has a pond in the middle but you won’t be able to see the fishes since the water is blurry.
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN
A few kilometers from the Wright Park is the Botanical Garden. You can walk but it’s not within proximity so you have to be patient. 🙂 Otherwise, jeepneys pass by and the fare is probably 7 to 8 pesos ($0.13 – $0.15) only.
LAPERAL WHITE HOUSE
Now, this. We went here on foot from the Botanical Garden. Boy, that was so wrong. We almost got lost! Well, we saw this on our way to The Mines View park but we’re not able to deduce how far it is from there. Also, the people we came across didn’t even know this house! And here it is, one of the most ‘haunted’ places to visit. I’d suggest that if you want to go here, just ride a jeepney. It’ll only cost you 7 or 8 pesos ($0.13 – $0.15). And maybe the driver knows this house. Here are a few documentaries about this house.
THE PINK SISTERS CONVENT
Again, we walked from the Laperal White House going to The Pink Sisters Convent. Alas, we weren’t able to get in because we weren’t wearing the proper attire. (I originally thought I was the only one who has an improper attire but seeing the code, both of us were.) It’s one of those churches that observe proper dress codes. There’s one in Tagaytay too but I haven’t been in on both. Not sure if the nuns wear pink too but I’ve seen photos of such.
Before moving on to the Baguio Cathedral, we went to eat lunch at SM Baguio. The church is near the mall and the cathedral. Here, there’s no dresscode so we were able to get in and pray a bit.
The park is very near the hotel so we didn’t have difficulty visiting it. It was our last stop from our walkathon for day 1. We just strolled a bit. There were kids biking (you can rent bikes and sidecars), you can ride a swan boat and paddle like there’s no tomorrow. There are a few types of boats you can choose from. We were no longer in the mood to try any of these so we went home after and rest.
We finished our second day at the Night Market (of course). We ate dinner here and bought a few goodies! It’s just a walking distance from the hotel so we didn’t miss it. Also, it’s one of the reasons why we wanted to visit Baguio. They sell goods here for a cheaper price compared to those in Manila.
Okay. This day is worse than the previous one (in terms of walking). The plan is to go to the Lourdes Grotto, The Diplomat Hotel, BenCab Museum, Tam-Awan Village, and Bell Church. It’s difficult because these places are far from each other. You can’t walk from one place to another. But we thought we could. 🙁
THE LOURDES GROTTO
The grotto is very steep with 252 steps. It’s tiring to get to the top but worth it. You can pray there and offer flowers to the Lourdes statue.
THE DIPLOMAT HOTEL (DOMINICAN HILL)
Going down the steps of the Lourdes Grotto, we saw this sign that points to where the Diplomat Hotel is. Jackpot! Because that was our next stop. We decided to follow the sign and saw a parking lot. We asked the man who looked like he’s in charge of the parking and asked where’s the way to the Diplomat Hotel. He just pointed straight and told us to turn right. So we did. We didn’t know that it’s a very looooong walk from there. We’re both sweating when we reached the ruins. I’d suggest to just get off the grotto and ride a jeepney or a cab instead.
This hotel is an old abandoned hotel known to be haunted. Visitors are allowed only until 4 or 5 PM. Guards patrol the ruins to make sure no one’s sneeking. Who would dare, in the dark? There are a few documentaries and reports of sightings here, too. See here. And oh, I didn’t know that it has a movie of its own.
We went here via jeepney (we’re wise now!). After the trip to The Diplomat Hotel, we rode a jeepney back to the City Market where the jeepney terminals are. From the Diplomat Hotel, you’d be able to catch a jeep down the road where it forks. It’s not that far from the hotel. Since the hotel is far up the hill, they’re only able to drop off passengers at the lower part of the road.
From the City Market, we rode a jeepney bound to Asin and told the driver to drop us off the BenCab Museum. Turns out, it’s the last stop. After getting off the jeep, we still needed to walk a few kilometers to get to the Museum (the road is under construction).
Unfortunately, our battery ran low and died. It was also raining outside so we decided to call it a day and went home, missing Tam-Awan Village and Bell Church. Of course, we didn’t finish the day without going to the Night Market (yes, you got that right!)
MORE OF NIGHT MARKET
Last day. One more place to visit. Well, we didn’t really ‘visit’, because we bought pasalubongs for our family and friends here.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
This place is well-known as the best place to get pasalubongs. If you came from Baguio, it almost became mandatory that you go here. It’s a convent and a grocery store in one. Nuns and children make the delish desserts they sell here. These are very popular amongst the visitors and the residents alike.
We went here via cab hailed after we took our last lunch at The Good Taste, another well-known establishment in Baguio. This restaurant has big servings, delicious food, but budget friendly. What more can you ask for?
We departed from the Victory Liner Terminal Baguio at 5 PM and arrived at approximately 12 AM in Manila. The ride was long and tiring but everything’s worth it.
Here are a few more snapshots (of us!) Can you tell that he enjoyed taking stolen photos of me?! :p
Your budget will really depend on how much you spend on food, visiting places, and goodies. We had a budget of 15,000 (inclusive of the tickets and accomodation) and we zeroed it out. 😂
TICKETS: 2,020.00 pesos ($39.41) – 2 pax, vice versa
HOTEL: 5,578.00 pesos ($108.84)
There are tons of transient rooms there, too. You can save lots of money if you book them instead. You also don’t have to eat at a posh restaurant – karinderyas are everywhere! The only time we splurged was when we bought pasalubongs and goodies from the Night Market. If not for those, we could’ve saved thousand of pesos. 🙂
Thanks for the time, guys! Hope to see you on our next travel! <3