In the City of Pines

We tested the car’s mettle, tested the hubby’s endurance for driving, and basically had a blast during our trip to Baguio last month. In an earlier post, I already mentioned that we started that trip paying homage to the Lady before all else. Around lunch time, we checked in here.

Ma and Dad had their honeymoon here some five decades back, and the hubby and I had one of our office’s teambuilding here. Also, we had one of our rare childhood vacations when I was 10 in this city. So it was the kids who are first timers here, and we did all the touristy stuff. For about 80% of the time, it was raining but that didn’t dampen our moods and went go, go, go! Even if Maxine caught some bug and threw up one night and had a slight fever, it was all systems go for all of us.

First of course is the obligatory stop and pose at the Lion’s Head, the icon of tourism in Baguio City, which welcomes everyone to the city.

As soon as we’ve settled our stuff, we didn’t waste time and went to our first stop: Wright Park. Mischa saw in one TV show the horses people have painted pink so it was really one of the things in her bucket list.

We didn’t have the energy or the inclination to go up the famed steps to the reflecting pool and The Mansion. So we took off for Burnham Park where we went on a boat ride (when Maxine slept the whole time!) around the man-made lake. The gardens here at also something to look at. And capping our day was a family bike ride.

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The morning of Day 2 was spent going to nearby La Trinidad to visit the strawberry farm. Unfortunately there were no strawberries to pick much to the chagrin of Ate Mischa. We just went around and bought homemade food like jams and fresh vegetables being sold by the locals.

Cafe Volante (where there was a long line) beckoned us for lunch.

Then it was Mines View Park where we had so much and which drained all our energy hehe. We had to walk a long way back because there was too much traffic and too little cabs.

Before calling it a day, we heard mass at the Baguio Cathedral.

SM Baguio was a good idea for dinner as it affords a great view of the city.

The last day was spent lying in and enjoying our beds. Maxine wasn’t feeling well that night so we just took it easy and had a late breakfast at the hotel.

Thank you Baguio, we loved you!

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Paragon Hotel and Suites

It’s been a month, I know, since our family holiday in Baguio City. And as I said in my last post, I have some sort of mental blockage that’s preventing me from writing about a devastating thing that happened last June. But ever so slowly, I am getting back in the thick of things because I truly aim to document most of our family life for the kids to read later on. Before I write about the details of our trip, I want to get this review of our hotel done with.

I booked the Paragon Hotel and Suites through booking.com. Since we were going on a long weekend, by the time we have decided to go, most of the better hotels were already fully booked. I chanced upon Paragon because it has good reviews, most especially on the location as it was a stone’s throw away from Burnham Park. Also, I was hooked on the promise of a good family room as there are 6 of us.

When we got there past noon, they were kind enough to let us check in early as it was not yet 2:00 p.m. True to its claim, it was about 300 meters away from Burnham Park. The site itself, however, was not very conducive, and kind of stressful, as it was fronting a market and a transportation terminal (jeepney, taxi and van). And during the two nights we stayed there, loud sounds coming from a videoke could be heard resonating from the area to the rooms. You could also hear all the goings-on from down there, of vehicles coming to and fro. On the whole, the rooms and the whole hotel were not sound proof.

The reception was located at the third floor of the hotel as the first and second floors were dedicated to restaurants and function rooms. Despite the seemingly unruliness on the outside, the inside was very charming and cozy. All the staff were also very pleasant and cheerful, and one could feel the homey vibe of the modern hotel.

I was also very impressed with the vastness of the Grand Suite, which we got. It has its own living room, a kitchen with ref, microwave and kettle, a dining area, the bedroom and a bathroom with a tub. We didn’t use the kitchen for much, just for washing the baby bottles, but it was good that they were there for guests who would opt to cook their own food. But roomy as it may be, the beds were narrow, so we cannot all share the room. Ma and Dad had to stay in the couch, which was comfortable enough. However, we were still charged for extra persons despite us not requesting for extra beds. We gathered that this covered breakfast, and extra pillows and blankets. It would have been really awesome if they didn’t charge this because we really liked the hotel. They even had separate TVs for the bedroom and the living room.

Breakfast was a good enough affair. I wished they had buffet but we made do with plated meals. It was just okay tasting though. The dining room’s decor, like the rest of the hotel, was artfully and tastefully done. Five stars for all decor!

All in all, we loved our stay here. I would even recommend it for families like us. However, I’ll probably be looking for another hotel the next time we go up here. Didn’t really like the vicinity at all.

and the games began

as a follow up to a previous post on our recent teambuilding held in baguio city over the weekend, i am posting some of the 1,000++ photos in our database. pardon as most of these are of the red team where i belong.

our version of the amazing race

every year during our teambuilding activities, we hold our version of the amazing race courtesy of mamarej. i remember the last time i joined was also when we were in baguio and that was four years ago. i could run faster and my reflexes were quicker then. but i finished last then, second now. can’t figure that out but who cares 🙂 it was good that we got to tour baguio even if everything just passed by in a blur. the race started at the ating tahanan complex and we went on getting clues and completing tasks at famous landmarks like the mansion, mines view park, camp john hay, nevada square, even sm then back to the starting point when we rounded off with a question and answer portion.











the baguio trip 2010

came home around midnight last night from our weekend trip to baguio city for our annual teambuilding activities. i enjoyed the trip but i was exhausted to the bone. during the entire time we were on the road from the moment we left manila friday night, i alternately felt excited, happy yet guilty for leaving mischa. i couldn’t stop thinking about her the whole time and periodically checked with mico how she was doing. i know that my brother and the yaya will look after her but still, i couldn’t shake the feeling that i was being a mother for leaving my tiny, defenseless baby. anyway, the weekend passed by a blur and i was never so happy to see her as soon as we got to mico’s condo (we are staying for the week). it took every ounce of willpower not to get her from yaya as i have yet to change my road weary clothes. as soon as i cleaned up, i hugged and kissed as much as i could that little, soft baby. she smelled sooo nice! it was good sleeping beside her again.

anyhow, i actually had fun despite a little foreboding feeling during the couple of weeks leading to the event. there were a lot of hot heads prevailing at the office, many were forgetting that we were heading to a teambuilding. but everything ended well save for a lot of heckling, some cuts and bruises during the games, and people trying to catch their breath while trying to keep up with the physical activities. my personal realization was, age was really catching up with me. i am not as lithe nor as fast as before. this year, i joined the amazing race game after not participating in four years (i was pregnant in 2009, it was not held in 2008 and i was too drunk the night before in 2007) and i had to huff and puff to keep up with the youngish ones much to my chagrin. but i am proud to say that i was not a liability at all. i saved our teams a couple of times like that pesky DOJ trivia at the start of the tasks. we had fun going around baguio, thank god there are no pasaways in our team so we just went coolly about our business unlike other teams who had members yelling at each other. to bad we only finished second despite best efforts. we also finished second overall which ain’t bad considering we were really the underdogs. several of our original team members begged off from the trip and we were left with only 12 from the original 16, majority of which are girls, only 1 below 30. another team boasted of having the fittest, youngest and freshest blood among all so we were just pleasantly surprised when we bagged second. it was really great working and bonding with my red team from the get-go. even practicing for our team cheer was a blast, and we endured the shame of the actual presentation by gyrating our way to the tunes of careless whisper ala hayden kho, tik tok of keisha, single ladies of beyonce and bad romance of lady gaga.

several of us also went to ayuyang bar for some dancing and reggae music saturday night. cheng and i felt like caged birds whose door was left open that we clambered and flew out to explore the free world we once soared in. don’t get me wrong, we’re honorable mothers and we love our daughters to bits. but we grabbed this opportunity to dance, drink and smoke the night away, and we felt good. after that, we went home to our kids refreshed and renewed. it’s like being back to our old selves once again albeit with sore legs and bleary eyes. and we continuously said that we so so miss our dearest friends, bel and jerry.

i will post pictures soon as soon as i get hold of them.