Dinos and horses: Day 1 in Baguio!

(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!

Last night out in Seoul, November 2014. Missing @frannanigans !

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:

At The Manor, one of Baguio City’s premier accommodations; a tourist spot in itself! No, we were not checked in here, although my mother wished we were.
Picking pale-looking strawberries at Strawberry Fields, La Trinidad. At 11 am, the shrubs were already picked clean by busloads of tourists, so there were hardly any ripe ones left. We were offered to pick lettuce instead, but where’s the fun in that?
Baguio in cups, take your pick. Strawberry sorbetes or strawberry tahoIf you ask me, go for the taho.
One of the weirdest and saddest display trails I have ever come across, Holy Land. It takes you along a chronological tour of major biblical events through department store mannequin tableaus. If this were executed better, it would make a unique tourist attraction.
Rawr! Good thing Holy Land is beside Dinosaurs Island! Nevermind the random odd sound effects or the fact that there’s no island in sight, this is more interesting and is a big hit with kids.
Horseback riding in Wright Park. This is where it all started, my daughter’s love for riding horses. Not bad for first timers (to Baguio or to riding horses), but for this, I’d much rather go to Camp John Hay.
At Hanbi Mansions, our home for three days in Baguio, booked through Airbnb. The orange ribbons are from Christmas presents that Akira ripped opened.

Day 1

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 6 am.


It was only a few minutes past 12, but we were all very hungry, so before wasting more time or losing 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.

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 chef’s recommendations or bestsellers, while I tend to go more with what I crave for at the moment. 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.

Mario’s Caesar Salad. You’d be surprised at how happy a plate of leaves can make you.

Dinosaurs Island

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.

Going trough Dinosaurs Island begins with a trail that begins with a steep climb (potentially punishing), and then the rest is a breeze. Do 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 6 pm, and it’s most definitely okay to go ahead with the visit. 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 nice and cool up!

With our guide. I forgot his name, I’m so sorry, but he’s really good, he has his spiels down pat! He also shared that when there’s a huge number of visitors, sometimes they go on the trail up to 10 times in a day.

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!

Mario’s is in Upper Session Road, Baguio City

Call them at +63905 297 3384

Like them on Facebook, follow them on Instagram

Dinosaur’s Island is along Marcos Highway, Tuba, Benguet 

Directions from Baguio:
Drive down Marcos Highway and turn left after the bridge before the tunnel.

Directions from Manila via Marcos Highway:
Take first right after the tunnel before the flyover.

Operating Hours:
Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm ; 8 am to 6 pm on weekends

Call them at +63921 480 9586 or +63915 223 9586

Like them on Facebook

Continued in ‘Dinos and horses: Day 2 in Baguio!

13 thoughts on “Dinos and horses: Day 1 in Baguio!

  1. Great share Mrs. H.O.T! So happy that you get to write about the things you enjoy doing 🙂 Sama ako La Copa, please 🙂


  2. Congrats Mrs. H! Finally got to read your blog 😀 You certainly are enjoying motherhood. Hey, we want to be famous too, sama naman kami sa adventures nyo haha


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