(Updated) It was a random Deal Grocer purchase that I thought would last until when we could really use it, but too bad, I only had until June 15.
So my family, including my friend who just came home from a trip abroad, and my hungover brother, piled into our Mazda CX5 for an overnight trip to the Philippines’ summer capital. I would have preferred a last minute still-not-over-summer beach trip, but I must say, the company was particularly good to make up for it. We were just missing my brother’s girlfriend and it would have been Team Korea 2.0!
My daughter already had the itinerary all planned out. She wanted to see the dinosaurs and go on a horseback ride. Anything else beside those, we’d be lucky to do them if we can manage to do them!
Baguio, December 2015
The thing is, we were here in Baguio, just 6 months ago. It was our first time to spend Christmas somewhere else other than home, and it was something else to experience that kind of cold in the Philippines.
Here’s a quick recap of that trip last December in photos:
Aside from the company, this Baguio trip is for the books because it’s our first time to take the car out for a long road trip. It’s fairly new, but since the trip, we love it even more. Just to put it on record, we think the CX5 is an awesome family car.
This was also J’s first time to go on a long drive, at around 6 hours. It was made even more challenging by the infamous zigzagging turns of Kennon Road. We arrived at our hotel just in time for lunch after hitting the road at around 6AM.
It was a few minutes past 12, but we were all very hungry, so before we lose more time or tempers on deciding where to eat, I decided for the group to eat at Mario’s.
Old school visitors to Baguio like me would be familiar with this restaurant. It’s one of the oldest establishments along Tomas Morato in Quezon City, but the original branch is found here, along Upper Session Road beside another famous Baguio resto that I have yet to try, Cafe by the Ruins.
See, the thing is when we had dinner here last December, we had such a memorable experience – attentive service in spite of a full house, and filling, good food – which is why I was confident in going back, but for some sad reason our experience wasn’t at par this time.
This is my first time to check them out in TripAdvisor, and based on the comment thread, people’s experiences have been pretty inconsistent, too. But hey, maybe it’s just us, or a case of not-ordering-the-bestseller. Macon has a habit of prioritizing marked bestsellers on menus or asking the waiters, while I tend to go more with what I crave. She and my brother seemed satisfied with their food.
At least, there’s the Caesar’s Salad to make everything right. Mario’s is the only place I know where the Caesar’s Salad is king.
The first time I learned of Dinosaurs Island was through a road trip article my colleague in Rappler wrote for Ford (read it here: Hit the road: 4 destinations for your family and barkada). I’ve never been there or heard of it before, but when we were in Baguio last December, it seemed my mother already knew of it and took us there.
Entering the beginning of the trail entails a steep climb that can be punishing for some (just a friendly reminder), but that’s it. The rest of the walk is manageable. If you can manage, bring a bottle of water with you, that always helps 🙂
By the way, we arrived at the park exactly just an hour before closing time at 6PM, and it’s most definitely okay. There is sufficient time to go through the tour (yes, there is a tour guide) at a comfortable pace. It might have even worked better for us because we got the place all to ourselves, and it was so cool up!
It’s a varied collection of dinosaurs, as well as some actual dinosaur bone fossils, but the highlight is the T-rex, of course. Aki was so scared of it the first time, but this time, it was unfortunately out of order. With a ladder resting on its huge gaping mouth, and with no sound effects, we had to tell her the poor dinosaur needed a check up from eating too much chocolates.
The final stop leads to a small stage. Since there were no other visitors, I wasn’t expecting a performance anymore, but a dinosaur mascot still came out and gave us one heck of a show!
Dinosaurs Island is a great family destination in Baguio, and I recommend a visit for those who haven’t been there before. It’s an extra special treat for dinosaur loving kiddos like ours. Where else in the country can you see giant, moving dinosaurs nestled among ferns and vegetation with the fog descending? It’s the closest thing we will ever get to Jurassic Park!
Continued in ‘Dinos and horses: Day 2 in Baguio!‘