(by KATRINA ROSE TAMAYO, ABM -1 Student of Mangaldan National High School, Pangasinan)
Baguio City, also called City of Pines, is a mountainous place popularly known for abundant pine trees and its everyday-icebucket-challenge weather. Tourists love to visit here especially during summer because of the cold weather, mouth-watering delicacies and astonishing scenic views. Even more museums and art galleries like Bencab can be visited in Baguio portraying the richness and long historical struggle for the preservation of their identity as an ethnic tribe, Igorot.
Travelling to Baguio is challenging. Infrastructures were built on top of the mountains and so the roads are in ups and downs. It is indeed a breath-taking moment being on the edge of a road located at 500 meters above sea level. Zigzag roads are amazing with their firm structure despite of being mountainous place. While on the road we are free to have sight-seeing with the green trees and feel the cold temperature letting us appreciate more the wonders of nature. At the most, travelling also gives us the spur of moment to make some realizations in life. Some of us believe that we will never have the willpower and determination to achieve our goals and plans but in Baguio we can. We all know that clouds are very high to soar and very high to reach but in Baguio there are no barriers. As the bus keeps on moving and keeps on closing to the thick clouds we can be able to touch it and it is like reaching our goals. All we have to do is to have patience and of course go to Baguio.
Upon visiting Baguio, one of the things that a tourist must never forget is to find the delicacies and to buy pasalubongs. Generally, these can be found in Public Market especially the strawberries. Its red color, sweet and seemingly sour taste attracts costumers. Many products have been innovated using strawberries as a flavor such as jam, ice cream, taho and some other foodies. For more information, strawberries that we consume are not actually fruits but only a receptacle.
Lengua De Gato is also a popular product of Baguio. The texture and buttery taste of the cookie makes it a unique product of Baguio. With its affordable price costumers will surely buy many. We can have 8 containers of Lengua De Gato for as low as one hundred pesos.
Baguio is one of the producers of fruits and vegetables. This mountainous place is rich in cabbage, potatoes, Baguio beans, carrots, wombok, sayote and etc. For about 10 pesos price of cabbage we can make already a delicious adobo. Potatoes can be bought at 20 pesos for 1 kilo. With this affordable amount we can be able to make French fries or mashed potatoes. Wombok can be bought at a low of 10 pesos to 15 pesos, while carrots are priced from 5 pesos to 9 pesos and Sayote 8 pesos to 12 pesos. Fruits are also at a low price just like oranges, apples and lemons. We can buy 1 kilo of the following fruits for about 20-40 pesos, unlike in other places like Manila. These fruits cost 20 pesos for just one piece. Since its soil is rich in nutrients, we can live there by ourselves through planting.
Eating those foods makes our body back to its condition from the tiring travel. We need to burn the fats gained from the foods eaten while exploring Public Market. Be an explorer like Dora and be an adventurous in visiting new places.
Baguio will never be Baguio without the Burnham Park. Walking around this place is worth it. We can rent a boat and row around the man-made lake for about 60 pesos. We can also have a picnic, go biking and watch a football game around the area.
The Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral adapted the Gothic style of Renaissance Period that is why many tourists love to have and take pictures here. Our Lady of Atonement is a patronage for those sinners who wanted to have a change in life and so people from far places would go to this place despite of the long distance.
Bencab Museum is known for its different paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints made by a national artist and the master of contemporary art, Benedicto Cabrera. One of the eye- grabber in the museum is the Erotica Gallery that has many paintings, drawings, sculptures and some works of various artists with an erotic theme and subject.
Lourdes Grotto is also a beautiful place in Baguio, yet challenging. Since it is located in the Dominican hill, it is a must-climb 252 steps in order to reach the altar of Lourdes Grotto. However the hardships are worth the pain because beautiful scenic view of mountainsides is waiting. It is very fulfilling when you have done something good and when good fruits are the results of your efforts.
Panagbenga is one of the most exciting and anticipating festival of the year. It is a festival of many and different kinds of flowers. Floats from different sponsors and artists from GMA and ABS-CBN are one of their major events that is why tourists from far places love to watch live in Baguio rather than watching in their homes. Since City of Pines is popularly known for its Panagbenga, there is a place that has wide range of herbal, flowering, and decorative plants called Botanical Garden. Even some plants are not for sale, it can be visited and take pictures with a wonderful and colorful background.
Visiting Baguio is not boring. It is very interesting and exciting to know their way of living and exposing oneself to different tourist spots. For the first-timers it is good to visit in February because it is the month when Baguio is coldest and when flower festival is celebrated. Many known personalities will be riding in float parades. It is also the time where the prices of the different ‘pasalubongs’ are at low price.
Going to Baguio is more than the worth of your travel expenses because the experiences are not for sale, it is for you to take a break and prepare to sail.