During a seat sale in March, I booked myself round trip tickets to Manila on the weekend of my birthday never knowing if it will push through. I just figured I needed something to look forward to.

It was a tough decision about where to go after Manila. I wasn’t exactly planning on staying in the city. I was thinking of Baler then maybe go to Baguio City but later after consulting google map, I learned it was too far and would take too long a trip when I only have 3 days to spare. Decision making was held until 10 days before the trip. After so much fuss, I made a go for Baguio City because I wanted some strawberry jam!

I boarded the 12:30 am trip to Baguio (P450) on October 4, 2015, at the Pasay terminal. There are trips scheduled every 30 minutes, you only have to buy tickets at the booth inside the terminal. Going the regular route will take 6hrs to reach Baguio. We arrived at 6:30 am Sunday and Baguio was very foggy and very cold and  I literally shivered from the cold or excitement, I can’t tell! Right at the bus stop was a tourist help desk. I had a few lists of hostel names I researched months back but when I asked, the Kuya’s said those inns are too far from the town proper. They then recommended finding me a room I just have to board a tourist van (with P50 fee). After 2 stops, I found my room at A&J Pension House and Restaurant (P900), with common T&B just because the bed cover is hot pink! I fell in love with the inn, it was an old house with paintings in the lobby and potted plants displayed outside the terrace. Right when I was inside the room, I literally jumped on the bed and said, yes I made it safe to Baguio City alone!

The inn had a restaurant located in the basement. I ordered bread and jam (P90). The strawberry jam I spread on the bread made me smile, I was reminded I was in Baguio City and I can eat all strawberry all I want! After breakfast, I walked back to the Victory Liner terminal to buy a return ticket at 10 am Monday morning P450 (Deluxe trip at P750 with shorter travel time, about 4hrs but I opted for the longer route since my flight back to Cebu will still be on Monday night.)

After I got lost in Session Road finding the Cathedral and the bookshop, I gave up and finally decided to take a cab around town. I paid P800 for 2.5 hours tour. The cab driver was an elderly man, his name is Max and you may contact him at this number 09494050147. Max was very kind to suggest we go to other tourist spots aside from the BenCab Museum, which was my only itinerary for the tour. He was a happy talker and gave me history lessons and trivia about the places and even offered to take my pictures. He said it was brave for a young girl like me to travel alone. At the end of the trip, he asked me if he was successful in giving me a great Baguio tour experience that would want me to go back and bring someone with me next time. I said, he was a great tour guide and I would love to come back someday with a companion.

I made the cab driver dropped me off at 50s Diner which is actually a short walk from the pension house.  I was there past 1 pm and the line was still very long. I overheard a conversation in Cebuano I was tempted to join their discussion but opted not to. I then went back to the pension house instead to nap for 2hrs because my feet were too tired. When I woke up, I was super hungry I went straight to 50’s Diners and ordered a club sandwich (at P140) so huge I still had it for breakfast the next morning and green mango shake (P75).

Then I went to stroll and look for Mt. Cloud which was pointed to me by the cab driver early during the tour but I got lost again. Baguio City has a lot of stairs so steep I have mistaken one for the way to where the bookstore is located. It’s me and my funny sense of direction! Anyway, I located the bookstore it was pretty and small and only sold Filipino books. I wished there were bookshops in Cebu that looked like it.

After the bookstore, I went to SM Baguio. Yes, no air conditioning but overly cold! Then I strolled to Session Road to buy pasalubong (P300) and some strawberries (P60) then went back to the hostel via taxi (P45).

Nighttime in Baguio City could be extra cold. I was hesitant to go out and see the night market because of the cold. However, I braved the cold, put on my sweatshirt and socks and I was grateful I made the right decision after all! I hailed a cab (P45) to drop me off the flea market.  The night market starts at 9 pm and ends sometime after midnight. It was just like Colon St. only less scary. But still, I held to my phone and my P400 bills just to be sure no pickpocket would pick my pocket.

Thrift finds are my favorites! I was sure I was smiling the whole time while I browsed through hangers of sweaters/ blazers. I finally stopped when I spotted 2 hoodies, a good steal for only P100 a piece! One hoodie sweater would make a comfortable climbing gear when I decide to conquer Mt. Pulag in the future.

There were boots and more shoes but I never stopped to look some more until I smell nice things grilling. There’s the food scene! I wasn’t hungry but I can’t resist the pull when a lot of people flock to the balot/ penoy stall. I don’t consider myself as a big ‘egg’ eater except when it’s mixed with milk and served in a llanera but balot that night was a good idea. I finished 2 servings and I was even game enough to feel if there were any feathers! Then I saw chicken gizzard and isaw barbecued and I just can’t help it. I downed it with coke, I was very happy and accomplished that night!

I woke up at 6 am that morning, it was my birthday! After getting ready, I walked to the church, heard mass and lighted candles. It was a Monday and I was celebrating.  What a rebel I felt I was, sitting there in the park sipping strawberry taho, not minding work. I vowed myself I’d do something like that again—solo travel and spending Monday morning not rushing for work. After church, I went back to the hostel, on foot trying not to get lost. I managed well then checked out and boarded the 10 am trip for Manila.

October 4, Sunday   
 12:30am- 6:30amPasay terminal to Baguio        455.00
 6:30 amarrival in Baguio City 
 6:30am-7:00amlook for pension house via tourist service van           50.00
 7:00am-8:00amcheck-in at A&J pension house & restaurant (checked at 7 am, Sunday- checked out 9 am Monday)        900.00
 8:00am-8:30ambreakfast at the restaurant           90.00
 8:30am-10:30amwalk around downtown           60.00
 10:30am-1pmtaxi tour around Baguio City        800.00
  BenCab Museum entrance        100.00
  nap back at the pension house                  –
 3:00- 4:00pmlate lunch at 50s Diners        140.00
 4:00pm-7:00pmwalk around downtown and buy pasalubong        360.00
 7:00pm-10:00pmrest back to the pension house                  –
 10:00pm-11:30pmnight market                  –
  taxi fare        135.00
  ukay finds        200.00
  food market           55.00
 11:30 pmlights off                  –
October 5, Monday7 amwake up                  –
 7am-9amhear mass at the cathedral; tried strawberry taho           25.00
 9:00 amchecked out 
 10:00am- 5:00pmBaguio to Pasay trip        455.00
  Lunch        100.00