We all have our childhood memories of Baguio: horseback riding in Wright Park, cycling and boating in Burnham Park, and eating Igorot’s “kulangot” (booger), which disappointingly turned out to be just molasses dried in small coconut shells. Then just like an old pair of socks that used to be your favorite, Baguio got placed at the bottom of the drawer and became the forgotten summer capital of the Philippines replaced by the air-conditioned malls. Sure, you still go up the mountain for the occasional conference or company outing but not like in the good old days when everyone was there during summer and Christmas season.
But lately I’ve found new reasons to visit this city of pines. I attribute this rekindling expedition to being a father looking for affordable out of town destinations for my wife and kids, but I also give credit to these three things:
Whether it’s rainy season or hot season, Baguio has always been several degrees colder than muggy Metro Manila and most cities in Luzon. Even with global warming, this ube-making town has managed to stay chill. Maybe it’s the trees or some kind of witchcraft going on, Baguio is cool like its people, restaurants, and artsy museums, especially the BenCab museum. I love it when it rains in Baguio, it gives me an excuse to cuddle my wife (I hope she’s reading this to get some brownie points).
An abbreviation for Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, TPLEX has abbreviated the travel time to about half. You no longer need to deal with slow tricycles, rice drying on the road, and running over naked little kids whose parents will kill you on the spot if you bump them (let’s not go there). And the good news is, TPLEX isn’t even completely done yet. Expect more tourism boost and ube jam sales once it is finished.
Baguio Craft Brewery.
I’m not a big beer drinker, unless I’m in Europe or with my high school buddies giving in to peer pressure to blend in, but this brewery made me fall in love with beer. With flavors like strawberry and kiwi, this microbrewery might as well be called Willy Wonka’s Booze Factory. The crowd here is very hip and happening too, I mean that with a handlebar mustache. If you’re a young single dude or gal, this is the place to hang out. I can’t wait til they make the ube flavor beer.
I’m glad I am able to share new Baguio experiences with my wife and kids. I’m sure the more times we go the more I will add to this list. In the meantime, three’s good enough.