Before falling for the Cozy Baguio Stay for 3 in a Deluxe Suite with Breakfast headline, there was Laiya’s Idyllic Seaside Escape with Full Board Meals for 2. I’m a happy Deal Grocer customer.
The Laiya deal was for my kid’s first encounter with the sea. She super loved her first swimming experience in a swimming pool, we thought she was ready for more. Here are some photos from that long-ago time when Akira was only 8 months old:
Wala pa siyang ngipin (She still had no teeth)! Hay. Baby pictures can really get me sentimental.
And now, a Deal Grocer purchase takes us from Acuaverde in Batangas to C Boutique Hotel in Baguio!
Okay lang at C Boutique Hotel
It was a good thing that we were out for the most part, and it was just an overnight trip because C Boutique Hotel floats in the ‘okay’ range.
Its location is relatively easy to find, and it is near popular attractions like Wright Park and Mines View Park. Mines View is actually within walking distance.
Checking in was simple and fast. The rooms were nothing spectacular though, and while everything looked orderly, I know others like myself who tend to get extra picky with cleanliness would find themselves a tad disappointed. The bathroom counter top hasn’t been wiped (or not efficiently), and the closet glass door still had fingerprints on them.
C Boutique Hotel is around 3 years old, and for me, I think they could do better in terms of maintenance. Click here for an entry from Our Awesome Planet when he was there in 2013. The pictures are still accurate, but I got sad when I saw that the toiletries then were from Zenutrients and the breakfast food was more impressive.
So while Anton Diaz got to use complimentary organic toiletries and had fancier breakfast, our meals were just okay. There’s no buffet, but the waitress that took care of us was awesome. I had waffles and fresh fruit, J, Nico and the kid had omelettes, while Macon tried Baguio longganisa (local sausage).
Surprise! Macon ordered the best breakfast item because it turns out that Baguio longganisa is good! For reference, the kind of longganisa we prefer are like the Vigan and Lucban varieties. My personal favorite is the Tuguegarao kind. No to sweet longganisa! 😀
Horseback riding at Camp John Hay
To those who have always gone to Wright Park for horseback riding, going to Camp John Hay is a revelation. Personally, I don’t think I’ll be going back to Wright Park again (except to try the restaurants across the street – they’re always busy!) But for an even better experience, try to arrive at the site before 10AM to beat the crowds.
J was apprehensive at first that we went for the one-hour trail, thinking it was too long, but by the end, he also agreed that it was worth it.
This is the quintessential Baguio experience – horseback riding in the middle of a pine forest. Here, you can still catch and take a lung-full of that now-elusive crisp, pine air. Here, there are no horses with pink manes and tails. It is wonderful.
A one-hour trail begins at the back of the horses’ holding area and goes on a winding, sometimes steep path along a sloping mountainside forest. At this time, there’s no ‘tourist traffic’ yet, and it is still quiet and peaceful.
You’d still spot a few litter around though – glaring eye sores in such a wonderful, natural setting. The morning sun is filtered by the pine trees, so it doesn’t feel hot, and the scenery is just beautiful.
When we get back to the start point, more groups of people begin to arrive.
Paintings and more at BenCab Museum
It’s a good thing that the BenCab Museum has it’s own café, otherwise we would have skipped it and gone on to hit the road back to Manila.
It was all our first time to visit, and we’re glad to have come. For one, the BenCab Museum is not your typical museum.
The building’s facade makes you think the place is exactly that, just a small building, but once inside, you’d see it is a huge and sprawling property. It is three stories high, with several galleries and exhibit areas, including one dedicated to BenCab’s collection of indigenous Ifugao artwork and artifacts, two galleries on contemporary Filipino art, an exhibit on Erotica and a gallery purely for the artist’s own works, among others.
Beyond the building, there’s a farm and garden that features a mini rice paddy, a big koi pond, and a vegetable garden. The mountain across is also part of the Museum property, where guests can go on an eco trail hike with a guide. That’s for next time.
Finally, it was time for some food. It’s pay-as-you-order but service is pretty quick. I loved their mountain rice take on risotto, very filling.
Our little girl loved their pesto pasta, too!
And with that, it was time to head home.
There will always be some moaning and groaning about the present state of Baguio, especially from people like us who have visited years before as children and young adults, and have such wonderful memories of it. There will be aspects of the city’s ‘progress’ and urbanization that will always seem too fast and too much.
If you lament the fact that Baguio is losing its pine trees, its distinct pine smell, or the pretty flowers that used to line its roads, then don’t be one of the many visitors that go there and does whatever he wants without a care.
Please don’t let the children eat their potato chips while horseback riding and let them just throw the packaging away anywhere. Please don’t flush wet wipes down the toilet. Please don’t be afraid to ask for a different horse if you think they’re giving you a horse that looks exhausted or injured.
Now that a drive to Baguio is no longer as dreadfully long, and we have such easy access to accommodations and activities that we like, the key to a happy Baguio trip these days is to be a responsible visitor, and to seek out the new and different. That goes for destinations and company.
Try something new, visit something different. Travel with new companions.
That’s what we did, and now I have new Baguio memories, on top of what I experienced in childhood.