Sunday, November 14, 2010

2008 August: Baguio, Philippines: Day 1: Quick Visit in Baguio

Thanks to the long weekend in Manila and finally I was able to visit Baguio. We reached the Victory Liner Pasay terminal by 9pm and had the ticket for the available ride at 12:30am. It has two stops, one in Tarlac and the other one is in Urdaneta, Pangasinan. By sunrise, we are already passing Marcos Highway. From the terminal, we took a cab going to Hotel Veniz. Be careful of the bystanders who are saying that Veniz is far and is fully booked.

Around 7am, we reached the hotel lobby. Since the check-in time is still 2pm, they let us leave our luggage at their small safety room. We just carry our valuables and started the Baguio adventure.

Hotel Veniz Lobby

From the hotel, you can easily reached Burnham Park by just crossing Shanum Road. Since we visited in the month of August, only few small roses are found in Rose Garden. Due to the Waste Management issue of the local government, Burnham Park is not that clean.

Locals are jogging around the lake and a few are practicing wushu. After several rounds and picture taking, we took a cab going to Pink Sisters.

Having a breakfast in 50’s Diner will give you a different experience in Baguio. I felt like I was in the set of Westlife’s “Uptown Girl” music video. The food served is also in American Size. The walls are designed with old movies and Marilyn Monroe photos.

After eating, we go straight to Pink Sisters, where nuns are praying on the half section near the altar. Public are only allowed to the half section near the back door. Picture taking are not allowed in giving respect to the nuns and the sacred place.
We took a jeepney going to Good Shepherd to buy the famous ube jam and Angel cookies.

We walked a little further to reached Mines View. Here you will find local stores selling antiques, knitted clothes, flowering plants and other local products. I have also seen a very huge dog in the likes of those in Beethoven’s movie.

From the nearby terminal, we took again a jeepney going to The Mansion.

In front of the palace, is the Wright Park.

Going a little farther, we reached St. Joseph’s Church (where Aga and Charlene were married).

Going down the street, we reached Botanical Garden, where few Igorot ladies will let you take pictures with them for a fee.

Since it started to drizzle, we decided to go back to the hotel and furnished our hotel booking.
We took a Junior Standard (Double Occupancy) for 1295php per night, it has 2 single beds without air condition and no windows. I never hoped for the best because I might be disappointed, - I’m totally a window lover so what can I say. But as we step-in to the room, I was totally amazed. Good lighting effects, clean and soft beds, television has cable channels, safety box in the dresser, a body sized mirror and two fans (which we never used since it is already cold inside).
I’m surprised with the bathroom - it was so huge! Though it has no bath tub, still everything is just so good. They provide, clean towels, toiletries and hair blower as well.
No need for bigger windows, as it has a very small one where you can actually see if the sun is shining or if it’s raining. Also the floor lobby has it’s terrace for a wider view of what’s happening around the city.

The building also has Mc Donalds, Veniz Grill, Betty’s Kitchen (fast food type), Veniz Café and Sunshine Bakeshop.

Public market is also very near. The hotel is very accessible by cab and jeep and is also very close to over pass and pedestrians. For techi people, don’t worry since hotel provides wifi service.

Per my suggestion, I hope they could also provide rugs for the bathroom and slippers as well. I’m already aware or the bad reviews about the noise of the hotel - but this is expected as the hotel is in the middle of the city and for sure that you will hear the noise of the traffic nearby.
All in all, our stay there was very good and safe. Highly recommended to all backpackers, friends and families staying in Baguio.

Before the day ends, we left the hotel again to check out the public market, walk along Session Road, stroll in SM Baguio and finally dine in Oh My Gulay, La Azotea. (too bad I did not bring my camera to the restaurant)