The taxi driver/guide I hired for the day, Kuya Sherwin, suggested that we go to the Philippine Military Academy first to avoid the awful traffic.
According to Kuya Sherwin, wearing of slippers or sandals are not allowed inside the premises so he made sure I was wearing shoes. He also asked me if I brought an ID to which I said I did not (speaking of which, I lost my TIN ID so I’m now left with one almost useless ID. I need to get passport!). Luckily, the guards didn’t ask for any identification. Kuya Sherwin would have shown his if they did ask.
I was amazed with the vintage artillery and war machinery displayed around.
A friend suggested that I watch the drill but I never saw any uniformed cadets there or maybe I just didn’t notice. I bought a PMA hoodie and a nice bag from the souvenir shop.
After PMA, we went to the Lourdes Grotto. On our way, we passed by the Baguio Airport. Kuya Sherwin said only rich people use this now. There are no more commercial flights using this. Considering the number of tourists visiting Baguio, I hope the authorities would look into creating flight routes to Baguio.
The Lourdes Grotto was just a statue of the Virgin Mary on top of a tall staircase. It was very crowded there, just like most other places in Baguio.
Kuya Sherwin then took me Tam-awan Village. I was happy about this because I read somewhere that this was not a usual attraction, but it looked to me when I got there that many people have gotten wind of the place. Of all the places I went to, this was probably the least crowded.
There was an entrance fee of P50. The main activity was a small hike around the village. I was wearing a hoodie during the hike and it was sunny so I was sweating a lot inside. There was a view deck to see the sunset (I think) but the sun was still high up in the sky at 3pm.
There were traditional huts scattered around the area. While I was reviewing my pictures, I noticed that one of the huts was labeled Luccong, which is very similar to the name of a village I visited in Kalinga, so both might be related.
Kuya Sherwin then drove me to The Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet. It was after 4pm and the wind was blowing moderately, so this was a great weather to visit the farm because if we visited say at high noon, according to Kuya Sherwin, it would be really hot there.
I had never eaten fresh strawberries before this so I was a bit excited. The actual strawberries were smaller than what I imagined they were.
I wanted to taste those freshly picked strawberries which they were selling for a minimum of one kilo. I only wanted to taste them but I thought a kilo was a lot. I bought anyway. They charge P500 if I pick the strawberries myself or P300 if the farmers would pick it. Without any hesitation, I went for the P300 package. Why would I pay more to get myself worked out? I guess you’re paying for the experience but I didn’t fall for it.
I offered to share half of what I bought to Kuya Sherwin but he didn’t want any of it. He said he had enough of strawberries being a native of Baguio. So I had strawberries for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. Maybe if I live in Baguio long enough, I might puke at the sight of a strawberry. I’m kidding. The fresh strawberries were delicious and, uhm, fresh.
While I was munching on my fresh strawberries, Kuya Sherwin drove us back to Baguio. Our next destination was The Mansion and Wright Park which were just next to each other. It was already dark when we got there. The Mansion was already closed and I was only to take pictures from outside. Since I don’t know how to use my camera in the dark, I didn’t have any good picture of The Mansion.
We then strolled down Wright Park to the area where the horses were gathered. There were a lot of men offering a ride of their horses for a fee. It was still the early part of my 12-day long trip and I was scared to spend anything outside of my budget, so I didn’t take any offer. Besides, I only brought enough with me and left the rest of my money in my hotel room (I know, not safe!).
The next place we went to see was The Mines View Park. As Kuya Sherwin explained, it was called such because there was a spot in the park where can see the mines of Itogo town below. Since it was already nighttime, we didn’t get to see the mines but only saw the lights of the town. Again, I didn’t know how to set my camera to take night shots so I didn’t have any good picture of the view but I got a picture of the Welcome sign…
Supposedly, our last stop was the Botanical Garden but it was already closed by the time we reached it so I only got to take a picture of the signage outside.
We finished the day at 7:30pm. I could have gone to more places if not for the heavy traffic in Baguio. It was a good thing Kuya Sherwin suggested we go to places farther from the downtown area first to avoid other vehicles. The traffic in major roads were really bad and it was already the day after Christmas. Kuya Sherwin said that in the past years, traffic wasn’t that bad on December 26. He was worried about what would happen during Panagbenga in February and March. If ever you have issues finding a taxi in Baguio, you may contact Kuya Sherwin at 09468138318.