August 2015

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Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
"We've explored the city under time pressure yet we were awed by these destinations that are truly timeless."

[BAGUIO, BENGUET, PHILIPPINES] ▬ It's been a long while universe. Recently, changes in my work schedule wasn't friendly. I have to adjust, hence, updating my blog was a struggle. I am still figuring out how will I allot my time to the different things I love doing. It's nice to be back, anyway, blogosphere!

[BAGUIO] ▬ CAUGHT IN ACTION: THE AMAZING RACE HAS STARTED.


▬ The Baguio Amazing Race Experience ▬

WELL, I THOUGHT BAGUIO WOULD ALWAYS BE the same, like, yeah, that charming cool city with a lot of stressful things that will come your way. The same things to do. The same places to go + the crowd, traffic and air pollution.

With this Amazing Race for bloggers I joined organized by Azalea Residences, I swear I was wrong. I started to appreciate Baguio even more than the first time I saw the city. I realized I haven't explored Baguio that much. The admiration I felt was the result of the stories behind these places I visited. It's more than the pine trees, the chill and its timeless tourist attractions. I started to get hooked with its history.

[BAGUIO] ▬ THE ASSEMBLY HAPPENED IN MELVIN JONES GRAND STAND.

[BAGUIO] ▬ MY TEAMMATES: CAROL, CHELLE, JEMAN, THERESE


We called ourselves the #TeamAzaleaBloggers. Not so creative though but thanks to hash tag for creating the trendy appeal. The instructions of the game were revealed in Melvin Jones grand stand and we were divided into 5 groups with 4-5 members each.  

We received pieces of white paper where the clue is written. We have to figure out what those descriptions are telling and once we learn about it, we have to visit the place and take a groufie. Fun right? 

Our first stop is the Burnham Lake as described by the clue to have swans all around—definitely it was. Then we have to look for this park described as a place where such flower festival starts. We weren't sure about it so what we did is to take a groufie to all the parks we saw along the way. Anyway, we found out later that the right place is Panagbenga Park.

Then it's time to visit the pink structure on a hill. Of course it was, after all, the Baguio Cathedral. This consumed our time. We used the long stair leading you up to the hill (Mt Mary). In fact, we could have just walked to the main entrance and have our photos taken from the road and make everything easy but we were tricked by the stair we saw along the way thinking it was the easiest access.

[BAGUIO] ▬ CLIMBING THIS STAIR WITH HUNDREDS OF STEPS WASN'T EASY.

[BAGUIO] ▬ THIS CATHEDRAL IS AN ICONIC LANDMARK IN THE CITY.


Tired and breathing deep and fast, we reached Baguio cathedral right on top of the hill. It is here where we asked random people on how to go to our next stop. Some were helpful, some weren't.

With a limited fixed budget given by the organizers, we have to visit all the places described in our list. Riding a jeep to cut the expenses was never an option because it will consume much of our time.

[BAGUIO] ▬ WE'RE ASKING FOR DIRECTIONS.

[BAGUIO] ▬ SO WE HIRED A CAB.

[BAGUIO] ▬ I WAS SEATING BESIDE THE DRIVER.


So the idea of hiring a cab popped out from nowhere. We were able to haggle down the price from the original 300/hour rate. The driver was the one who arranged the itinerary to make it faster. But what happened next was alarming...

[BAGUIO] ▬ WHOAH! THE TRAFFIC JAM!.


And the traffic jam consumed much of our time. We are heading to Mines View Park by the way to get a picture wearing the Igorot dress. 

We spent about 1 hour just queuing our way to the park. We wanted to just walk to make it faster but we were thinking of our cab, like, how's the deal and on where to see it after we reach our destination since it can't stay in one place. The cab also needs to move. For convenience sake, we chose to queue. So ironic.

[BAGUIO] ▬ TSK! WE'RE TRAPPED.


Anyway, to ease the pressure we are feeling then, we were rationalizing that this thing is also happening to the other groups—that they're stuck in the middle of the traffic jam and we were really hoping it is happening to them. Bad panda.

Eventually we reached Mines View Park.

[BAGUIO] ▬ ON OUR WAY TO THE COSTUME PICTORIAL.

[BAGUIO] ▬ WE MADE IT!

[BAGUIO] ▬ NOW THE OBLIGATORY GROUFIE WHILE WEARING THE COSTUME. (PHOTO FROM ORANGEMAGAZINE.PH)

[BAGUIO] ▬ RIDING A PINK PONY IS ONE OF OUR ASSIGNMENTS.


We're down to our next assignment—take groufie with the pink ponies of Wright Park. We have to walk just before we reach the destination to defy the traffic jam.

[BAGUIO] ▬ THE PINK PONIES OF WRIGHT PARK: I DON'T HAVE THE GROUFIE WITH ME THOUGH.


So we had a groufie with the pink ponies in Wright Park. Our next destination is the Botanical Garden where we have to take a groufie with the Igorots there.

[BAGUIO] ▬ RACING TO THE BOTANICAL GARDEN.

[BAGUIO] ▬ THE IGOROTS OF BOTANICAL GARDEN.


After surviving the traffic jam and all those chasing of ponies and Igorots for a groufie, we also need to visit The Mansion until we finally reached Panagbenga Park.

We had a quick time there as we needed to be quick to reach our next destination: the Lourdes grotto and the abandoned allegedly haunted Diplomat Hotel.

[BAGUIO] ▬ THE PANAGBENGA PARK WE ALMOST MISSED.

[BAGUIO] ▬ WE'RE RUSHING BACK TO THE CAB.


On our way to Lourdes grotto, the other group is already posting photos on social media that they're already done. But we were still rationalizing that they did not finish all the places thereby disqualifying them for the win. Yes, that's our thinking. We thought that they are just posting those to take down our fighting spirit and discourage us. For us, the race must go on.

[BAGUIO] ▬ WE REACHED LOURDES GROTTO WITH HIGH HOPES.

[BAGUIO] ▬ LOURDES GROTTO


Finally we reached the Lourdes grotto and we're still fighting to win this time. However, it was already confirmed that the other group has finished.

Well, we continued the race and still we completed the places on the list and just enjoyed the day.

[BAGUIO] ▬ DIPLOMAT HOTEL


Our last stop is the Diplomat Hotel in the Dominican Hill. It was very nice though to see this piece of history. We finished the race fulfilled.

We went back to our base (Azalea Residences) and we were welcomed with great food. We were so tired but it was a great experience we will never get tired of reminiscing.

[BAGUIO] ▬ ONE OF THE DISHES SERVED AFTER THE RACE

[BAGUIO] ▬ OUR TEAM LEADER, JEMAN, REPORTING ABOUT OUR GROUP

[BAGUIO] ▬ #TEAM|AZALEA|BLOGGERS


We landed on third place. Applause! We all believed that our price was better than the winner though. So, no regrets.


▬ Conclusion ▬

WHAT A GREAT WAY TO EXPLORE BAGUIO! Some of the places we've visited are my first time to see. I learned how diverse and historical Baguio is. We've explored the city under time pressure yet we were awed by these destinations that are truly timeless.

I think I've loved Baguio more. The experience was just memorable. ▬ to be continued...

INDEX: INSIDE THIS BLOG SERIES

AZALEA RESIDENCES HOTEL BAGUIO

[UP NEXT] ▬ IT WAS A GOOD NIGHT, BACK TO THE 90'S!


► BLOG SERIES: AZALEA SUMMER GETAWAY

Up Next: It was a spring in the desert. The boredom of the night fled away. The music of the 90's was the real music we missed. 90's kids celebrate! This is night life without getting nasty, drunk and high—clubbing the wholesome way with the nostalgia of 90's vibe, some great food and a little bit of beer without getting wasted which is exactly what I love and advocate.

Part 1

[BAGUIO] ▬ VIP Treatment Vacation the Azalea Way


TEASER ► Inside the room, I felt like I'm a VIP again. This is probably one of the best rooms in Azalea. I felt privileged. This staycation kicks ass.

| Part 2

[BAGUIO] ▬ Ilocano Food Reigns at Kalapaw Restaurant


TEASER ► This restaurant highlights the Ilocos heritage and culture in spite of the fact that it's located in Baguio City.

| Part 3

[BAGUIO] ▬ Night Market at Harrison Road: What to See and Expect?


TEASER ► The foot traffic is huge. Merchants shout to encourage passersby to purchase their products. But some are just hawkers.

| Part 4

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ 5 Interdependent Worlds in Strawberry Farm


TEASERI know they need something that's why they need to do something. You see great hope in their eyes.

| Part 5

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Bahong Flower Farm: Rose Capital of the Philippines


TEASER ► ...they will transform into beautiful, fully-bloomed flowers and that will be the end of their life because they will be cut and head straight to the flower shop.

| Part 6

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Jewel Igorot Restaurant: Non-Igorots Should Eat Here!


TEASER ► Say anything you want to say and this cool restaurant along the main road in La Trinidad will still find its way to become superior.

| Part 7

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Jewel Igorot Museum and the Maid-to-Millionaire Story


TEASER ► Greatness does not only come from huge quantities and fat funds. My conviction is something is already great when you are able to put up that something from scratch with a purpose to educate and inspire.

| Part 8 | Part 9

[BAGUIO] ▬ 2600 Gastropub: When Zip Code Turns Into Night Life


TEASER ► Then, the playlist went on and it made me wild, almost shedding tears, remembering the good old days in favor of nostalgia.

| Part 10

[TUBA] ▬ BenCab Museum: History, Arts and Culture


TEASER ► ...everywhere is a learning realm. Everywhere is an answer if you have questions. Everywhere is a definition if you look for meanings.

| Part 11

[BAGUIO] ▬ Tam-awan Village: Old-School Igorot Living of Today


TEASER ► The present has almost erased all the things of the past but some individuals have always been interested in bringing the old back to present.

| Part 12

[BAGUIO] ▬ Tree Top Adventure: What to Expect? + Things You Must Know


TEASER ► The facilities are well-engineered—truly a work of the experts. Pine trees are part of the activities and they claim that no tree was harmed.

| Part 13

[BAGUIO] ► Azalea Residences Hotel Review: My Experiences in Details


TEASER ▬ The room where I stayed is even bigger than our house—complete with a kitchen, a dining area, a sala (with a couch and a twin bed) and another two rooms within the room. Swanky!



► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] This post is filed under the category "Experiences." This category is a collection of stories about the new experiences and encounters while I'm on travel. To see more posts from this category, scroll down and check the "More Posts..." section below.

[2] This experience was made possible through Azalea Residences Hotel in Baguio City. I was invited to experience the Azalea hospitality.

[3] All maps I used on this post are the works of Eugene Alvin Villar and Mike Gonzalez published on Wikipedia. Source: 1 | 2

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Map Showing the Location of #Baguio


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EDMARATION #TownExplorer


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