5 days before 2015 ended, I invited myself to my friend’s New Year Baguio trip (January 2 and 3) with her family. Sabit, kumbaga. Haha. I miss Baguio so much since it has already been a year and seven months since my first and only visit. I figured it was time to come back to rediscover the things I love about the place and experience more of it.
Burnham Park will always be a special place where you can be in touch with yourself, your companions, nature, and strangers. It’s amazing how much happiness you can witness in this place. Much like what Abby (my best friend) said, she will always be happy to go back to Burnham Park. I rented a bike again. I think I will always rent a bike whenever I have the chance because it brings me back to being a child.
I didn’t expect to have such a lovely time at Baguio Country Club’s Christmas Village. The area is rather small for a P100 entrance fee, but it was so worth it for the experience. There’s fake snow in the form of bubbles which is the highlight of the place. Aside from being happy with this experience myself, what I loved the most was witnessing other people happy too! We don’t have snow here in the Philippines but we always see it in movies, so you can’t blame the kids for shouting, smiling, and running around even if the snow is fake. I took pictures of those moments and I will always remember how happy the kids were. It’s unfiltered happiness, a bliss that knows no bounds. Kids are the greatest!
Mines View Park
Mines View this time was underwhelming because of the heavy crowd. Tita Elvie and Mila, Abby’s mom and aunt, were surprised at how much the place has changed. They last visited Baguio in the 1980s. They say the view back then was simply breathtaking because there were no shops and houses around the viewpoint. Kind of saddening that Baguio accommodated the influx of tourists by building different shops and unconsciously (I hope) obstructing from the wonderful view of nature and the magnificent time tourists would’ve had. I guess they had no choice because we all need to make money one way or another.
50s Diner is a must whenever you visit Baguio. Granted, the food is mediocre, but you just have to eat here! Haha. Even though it was lunchtime and crowded, I commend the service staff for being warm and accommodating. After lunch, we went to the public market before I finally went on my own because Abby and her family were going home at 4pm and me at 12mn.
Bencab was also crowded this time around, but it didn’t bother me much. I was alone and didn’t plan to take pictures of myself. Instead, I was there simply to appreciate the art, the surroundings, and watching other people interact. I loved the experience. I spent more than an hour roaming around the place and trying my best to be subtle about taking pictures of strangers.
I missed the “Erotica” section the first time I was here, so seeing that was quite a treat. Haha. Thick fog welcomed me in Bencab. It was almost zero visibility for a good half hour, which was disappointing because I was looking forward to seeing the magnificent view. However, the fog cleared up completely for 15 minutes before making the view disappear once more. In the end, it was great because I got to experience both circumstances.
After Bencab, I stopped by Burnham Park for half an hour because the jeepney passed by an area I haven’t seen yet. It was full of Christmas decors, with gingerbread houses and humongous wrapped gifts. I people-watched again, which is becoming my favourite hobby whenever I’m traveling alone. Afterwards, I tried to go to Infinitea for a cup of my favorite blueberry frappe, but it was closed, so Lusso Café suddenly came to mind. I was welcomed with an empty coffee shop and Kelly Clarkson’s Heartbeat Song playing on the radio.
I enjoyed my White Caramel Macchiato at the area where you would take off your shoes and sit on the floor. This was also the area where Abby and I hung out back in 2014. I enjoyed my solitude there for a good two hours, along with five throw pillows, a Fiber Internet connection, my pen, and a notebook.
Achievement unlocked! This was the first time I ever ate at a restaurant alone. Whenever I’m alone, I only eat at fast food chains or food courts because I find it awkward to eat at restaurants alone. Not anymore. It was actually nice to be alone when everybody else is with a friend, a lover, or their family. I spent almost two hours here, finishing my beef lasagne and lemon torte.
So yeah. I practically just ate the whole time I was alone in Baguio. Haha. After Vizco’s, I went to the famous Latagan night market, but there was just too many people so I left and went back to Session Road. I ordered my favourite Matcha green tea latte and watched some episodes of “Please Like Me” before finally going to Victory Liner to catch my bus home.
Talking About Serendipity
When I was in Lusso Café, the first thing I did was check out a few Instagram feeds of random people. I left a comment in a random girl’s photo that led to a small conversation about serendipity. At Starbucks, I had a similar online conversation with a friend, in which she said that nothing is ever a coincidence. Funny enough, while I was waiting for my bus back home to arrive, a classmate from elementary saw me. We chatted for quite a while and she introduced me to the Gerald Tipones. She mentioned my book to Gerald, and I gave them a copy each. Yes, I had two copies of my book inside my backpack and I packed it for no definite reason.
Those moments were quite simple, but they felt so magical to me. In my solitude, I found company and great conversations that made time stand still for a few seconds. At Lusso, I was near tears, bursting with gratitude, and in complete silence. I guess serendipity really is true.
That’s my story on how my second visit to Baguio went. I honestly didn’t expect a lot of things that happened to happen. My main takeaway from this trip is that there truly is joy in the simplest, most random things. You owe it to yourself to always, always look on the bright side of things.
Happy 2016! May this be a year of more discoveries, within yourself and outside the wonderful world we all live in.