Thursday, June 20, 2013

itinerary: baguio city, philippines

Pine Trees in PMA, Baguio

city of pines. the summer capital of the philippines. panagbenga festival (flower festival). and the other less spoken descriptions that one can dreamily think of, when baguio comes to mind. while the low lands experience the torturous heat during summer, this city nestled in the cordillera mountains, retain its cool.

so, before summer has bade adieu, my family trooped to the mountains last month, enduring an hour flight from cebu and sequentially, hopped on an excruciating 7-hour bus ride from manila to baguio. my mother's query which sounded like "are we there yet?" echoes up until now. of course, i endured the longest travel time, starting my journey at the wee hours of the morning from singapore and taking the lead with my pack of four until we settled finally at our hotel at 6 in the evening. the idea of bed was as alien as the other living things in another planets. go figure.

even if the "getting there" part is a lot to digest to the normal people, here are the activities that we were able to cramp within our 2 full days, equally shared by both sunshine and the mountain rain. i excluded the other 2 days because those consisted mainly of commuting.

Day 1: 24-May, Friday
The prodigal daughter (me)
01:30   SIN to MNL - Cebu Pacific's 5J 808
05:00   MNL - NAIA Terminal 3
            long lines at the immigration and terrible lines at the customs (only 2 officers were present :( )
Meanwhile, my family
05:05   CEB to MNL - Cebu Pacific's 5J 554
06:15   MNL - NAIA Terminal 3
            Reunion! Yay!
07:00   Breakfast at the airport
07:30   Take two yellow cabs taxis from the airport to Victory Liner Bus Terminal in Pasay
            My parents and my brother had a good driver that they arrived ahead of us.
            While my sister and I were accidentally toured by our driver in EDSA 
            as he tried to find the correct exit. Fail.
08:30   Victory Liner Bus Terminal, Pasay
09:00    Pasay to Baguio
            2 Stop-overs (including lunch)
16:00    Baguio with afternoon rains!!
             Take a taxi from Victory Liner Bus Terminal  to hotel (5 of us cramped in one taxi!)
17:30    Check-in at Hotel Veniz
             My parents decided to stay in the room for the rest of the day err night.
 18:00   A bit of shopping for shoes and jacket (We were not prepared at all. lol)
             Session Road
             SM Baguio
             Yellow Cab dinner
             Chowking take-out for my parents
21:30    Sleep. (Bed, I missed you!)

Day 2: 25-May, Saturday
06:00    Wake up (For my sister, the rest of us were already up much earlier.)
07:30    Breakfast at the hotel
08:30    Head to PMA by jeepney from Burnham Park
             Philippine Military Academy
12:30    Head back to the city for lunch
             Lunch at Sizzling Plate along Session Road
14:00    Head to Mines View Park by jeepney near Session Road
             Mines View Park
             Shower under the mountain rain
             Souvenir Shopping
             Street Food Galore
16:30    Return to Hotel
             Rest a bit
             My parents again decided to rest because they were already too tired to go out.
19:00    Head out for dinner (only my siblings and I)
             Cafe by the Ruins (accidental find)
             Baliwag meal take-out for my parents
21:30    Sleep

Day 3: 26-May, Sunday
06:00    Wake up
07:30    Breakfast at the hotel
09:00    Walk from hotel to Baguio's Cathedral
             Shoe shine for my father
             Take silly photos for us
10:00    Hear mass at Baguio's Cathedral
11:00    Walk to SM Baguio (Can't remember why)
12:00    Quite a walk from SM for our lunch
             Cafe by the Ruins again (for my brother's birthday lunch)
13:30     Baguio City Hall (caught by the rain again!)
              Burnham Park
              SM Baguio (The rain was unforgiving. We had to take shelter all the time.)
17:30     Beans Talk Cafe (Coffee please.)
              Baguio Market for souvenirs
19:00     Dinner at the hotel
21:30    Sleep

Day 4: 27-May, Monday
04:00    Wake up
             Prepare things for check out
07:00    Breakfast at the hotel
07:30    Check out
             Take a taxi to Victory Liner Bus Terminal
09:00    Baguio to Pasay
            2 Stop-overs (including lunch)
16:00    Manila with a little rain!
             Hire a car from the bus terminal to NAIA Terminal 3
16:30    Early dinner at Jollibee
17:00    Flight check in
             Last minute bonding with family
19:30    MNL to CEBU for my family with Cebu Pacific's 5J 557

20:30    MNL to SIN for me with Cebu Pacific's 5J 803

Day 5: 28-May, Tuesday
01:00   SIN (late because my flight was delayed)
02:00   Home
            Work hours later

here comes again another confession part. i never made an itinerary for this trip. yes, again. i know. i should better rename this series into something like a snapshot, a list or an outline because this post represents more like that than it is being an itinerary. itinerary is supposed to be something you plan ahead but who cares anyway? itinerary is not the end goal but it is sort of like an optional? (in many cases) preparation when embarking on a journey -- far or even not too far from the comfort zone. this is another manifestation of my defensive mode which would elicit a grimace from me when i read this post again.

okay. i'm done with the face contortion part. moving on.

this 4-day family trip began with a couple of misfortunes and one even involved a huge amount of moolah. all of these, i have already gotten over by the way.

  • initial travel dates. i plotted the dates with a major consideration on my brother's work schedule and because i already became clueless with the philippine holidays that i booked our flights right on the weekend before election day. yes friends, booked! let me rewrite that in case it doesn't give such impact. booked! booked with budget airlines where re-booking is as good as buying an entirely new ticket. well, eureka! skip the election day perhaps? but there's no way that my father would agree to that suggestion. if i'm stubborn as rock, then he is of different kind - maybe a diamond. to cut the story short, i re-booked my flights while i bought new tickets for my family while reassuring myself the entire time that it was nothing but a bad dream.

  • flight reschedules. i booked the first flight out of cebu to manila for my family and that flight supposed to leave at 4AM. but i received emails about the rescheduling on both of their flights (in and out of cebu). i'm seriously beginning to believe that i'm very susceptible to this kind of rescheduling dilemma. the new timings were forgivable except the ATR flight back to cebu. uhm, like seriously? the original one hour flight was added with 40 minutes.

at some point, these were close to disheartening and these somehow prompted the reason why i hadn't gathered myself to draft a good plan that i delegated the task to my sister, who in one instance complained to me. she got more confused on what we would exactly do after reading plenty of to do's in baguio. the big sister that i am, i listed the things to do and interesting places in my phone at the last minute. and thankfully, i got a good and complying pack to take care of. sure was, we had the time of our lives as a family that even rain wasn't able to dampen our spirits! we even had to go about by the "pambansang public transport ng pilipinas", the jeepney! and as my father had assessed, he enjoyed it so, that's already one major feat! yay!

PMA Baguio
Aren't they adorable? (Yes, they complied to this extent and my brother's stance at the back was purely intentional.)


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