“Summer Capital of the Philippines” that’s probably the only thing I’m sure of about Baguio City. It’s cold. It’s filled with pine trees. Tourists go there for some cool air.
I had clueless expectations before reaching Baguio City. I thought I had to wear pants for the entire duration of my trip because of how cold it would be. Turns out, it’s only that cold in the evening. Our hotel room didn’t even need air conditioning units. The whole city is one huge air conditioning unit on its own. But only in the evenings.
I also thought it’d be a chill place, like how most areas in the mountains are. I was wrong again. There was traffic, like real traffic. This took me a lot of time to sink in because I had a little bit of a dissociation on my part. Gone is the image of Bagiuo in my head as a place for retreats. It’s a city… with traffic.
Nevertheless, my trip to my country’s summer capital was as fun as a summer vacation can get. I made a list of the tourist attractions I visited and my experiences with every single one of them.
Strawberry Farm, La Trinidad
This is easily the most enjoyable part of my trip. Even though we had to wake up early and travel a little to reach La Trinidad, the experience of picking strawberries, stepping on mud, and crossing on narrow pieces of wood was definitely memorable.
The Strawberry Farm is a vast piece of land made up of different patches owned by different people. Tourists can choose which farm they’ll pick the strawberries from. It usually costs 500 pesos per kilo but this amount charged per group.
Our strawberry experience might vary. For me, we made sure we walked as far as we could so that we can explore the area and let the scenery sink in. It was just bright green everywhere with the backdrop of the mountains.
Here’s a piece of advice, though: don’t wear your favorite pair of sneakers. Because it rains almost every afternoon in Baguio, the chances are there’ll be mud everywhere. Don’t risk it. The chances of having your sneakers muddy aren’t very slim.
Camp John Hay
You’ll never run out of things to do once you’re in Camp John Hay. There’s target shooting, a nerf battle zone, and paintball which I wanted to try but it was raining pretty hard and it made navigating the park difficult. Not to mention we constantly got lost on our way to locating the places of these activities.
There’s also a butterfly garden for those who want to see how colorful nature can get (and for those who aren’t scared of caterpillars.) We didn’t go to this one despite our tour guide’s recommendations simply because we’re scared of caterpillars. And maybe even butterflies. Forgive me.
Among the many attractions in this park, I enjoyed touring the Historical Core the most. The Bell Amphitheatre felt like art on its own. I remember this place as being so symmetrical. Although I’m not entirely sure if it was, the landscaping on this one was beautiful. I think “beautiful” is an understatement. It gave me a sense of nostalgia because it was the kind of beautiful that you’d see in your grandmother’s garden. It holds that kind of warmth as if it’s caressing you and gently rocking you to sleep.
The Secret Garden was a short break from the buzz of the “real world.” It was a place that made me leave my worries at the entrance before proceeding with the tour. With the blooming flowers and the sanctuary nestled by the abundance of pine trees, this garden brought me back to nature and made me realize it was the kind of serenity I never knew I needed.
Most of all, what I enjoyed the most on the tour was the Cemetery of Negativism.
Cemetery of Negativism
When I first read the welcome sign of this area, I was creeped out. Why would there be a cemetery in the middle of a park? That’s weird. But then, when I looked closely, it was actually something very poetic.
What is buried in this cemetery is our pessimism as humans. All of our excuses and alibis are buried here. Everything that’s stopping us from succeeding and achieving our goals is found in this cemetery.
The goal is to remind us to leave our pessimism behind, bury it in the ground, leave it to rot and decay. Leave it forever and come out as a better, more optimistic man.
Mines View Park
From a wonderful view to unique and traditional items, Mines View Park offers a wide variety of gimmicks for their tourists. The main attraction of this park is the view of the mountains from their view deck. It made me want to celebrate and scream at the top of my lungs, no doubt, but I couldn’t stay there for a long time because of the crowd.
What I have to say about Mines View Park doesn’t have to do anything with the view. It’s the number of knick-knacks waiting to be bought! Woven slippers? Got it! Woven table runners and placemats? Got it! High-quality, cute, and cheap bags? Got it! Intricately carved woodwork? Hardwood chopping boards? Everything was in our basket. If only we didn’t have to think about our baggage allocation…
Our trip to Baguio City was totally worth it! I wish we could have stayed longer, but like all good things, it had to end.