24+ Hours in Baguio with my Girlfriend

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

baguio narrative

We’d left for Baguio long before the sun has risen, during which I was still a little irked with Kaye for almost not pushing through with the trip. On the bus, I was pointedly trying to act not at all amused, but she was being extra sweet and funny so that was short-lived. We slept for most of the trip, sharing a sleeping bag-turned-blanket because the A/C was cranked way up. Upon arriving at the Victory Liner terminal, we immediately hailed a cab and headed out to our accommodation: Venus Parkview Hotel.
where to stay in baguio
The hotel's lobby is decorated with exquisite chandeliers
where to stay in baguio
Mandatory mirror selfie
We deposited our things in our room, freshened up, and went on a quick hotel tour with the Venus Parkview staff. After which, we had a very late breakfast with the hotel’s General Manager Gerry. We asked him for suggestions on where to go, but I did already have places in mind. So after finishing our meal, Kaye and I made arrangements with a cab driver to chauffeur us for the day.
where to stay in baguio

where to stay in baguio

Our first stop was STOBOSA (an amalgamation of Stonehill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap – communities in Barangay Balili, La Trinidad), the colorful larger-than-life artwork with a cluster of houses as the canvas. Situated on a roadside hill, STOBOSA used to be an eyesore. Now, through imagination and bayanihan, it has been transformed into a major tourist attraction. We snapped several photos here, appreciating the splash of colors, before heading out to our next destination.
painted houses baguio

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One of the reasons why I wanted to go to Baguio was because of strawberries. I am obsessed with this delicious aggregate accessory fruit. I dream to eat so much of it that my lips become forever stained by its juice. It was no surprise then that I asked our driver to take us to the strawberry farm. But it was closed that day, and the strawberries had not even blossomed yet. But there were strawberries for sale and Kaye and I bought a kilo. It didn’t last us long. They didn’t have a chance, to be honest.
where to go in baguio

where to go in baguio

where to go in baguio

We were supposed to go to BenCab Museum next but, on the way, we passed by Tam-awan Village and decided to visit it as well. It was a lovely place, with vernacular houses and an overall vibe that really appealed to me, most especially to Kaye. I watched her admire the wooden houses, walking in awe through a path flanked with thick shrubbery and tall trees. There was a thin fog that covered us too. It was quite magical.
how to go to tam-awan village baguio

where to go in baguio

where to go in baguio

tam-awan baguio

On our way to BenCab, the fog started to become heavy.

Kuya, ganito ba dito lagi?” I asked, dumbly I admit, referring to the menacing haze that was creeping over the road.

He nodded. “Naku. Minsan nga zero visibility pa.”

It reminded me of a horror movie, really; the one where cannibals randomly emerge from the fog and have a pair of unwitting tourists for dinner. But I did not say a word to Kaye, instead I squealed in delight when I saw a taho vendor upon stepping out of the car. No Baguio trip is complete without strawberry taho. But since we were entering a museum where food and drinks may not be allowed, I decided to postpone my hankering for strawberry taho. Yes, the almost-gone kilo of strawberry we bought was not enough.

At any rate, I really wanted to visit BenCab with Kaye. She’s very artsy, even artsier than I who supposedly hail from the Art Capital. I know my art; Kaye lives and breathes it. But more than that, there’s this CD I wanted to purchase. Once, I was riding with my Ate Ingrid in her car and this beautiful tribal music began playing. I was immediately hooked and asked her where she got it. She got it from BenCab. I was able to get my own and was quite proud, because I could just easily “rip” the music from hers, but instead I went to Baguio and bought my own. My way of supporting local art and music.
where to go in baguio

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The art displayed also did not disappoint. From erotica to mind-boggling pieces, the museum thoroughly delivered. There was also a pond out back, and while the fog continued to thicken, it still stood out beautifully among the green of the garden. I handed Kaye my DSLR and gave her a quick lesson on how to take a picture with it. After dozens of takes, awa ng D’yos, walang matinong kuha. Kaloka! #PhotographerProblems
where to go in baguio

where to go in baguio

where to go in baguio

where to go in baguio

bencab museum

kaye samson

kaye samson

kaye samson

where to go in baguio
See what I mean by #photographerproblems?
It started to drizzle and I grudgingly gave up on a decent photo. To top off my very very minor bad luck, I didn’t get my strawberry taho. The vendor had already gone when we were through going around the museum. Nonetheless, I didn’t let it dampen my mood. Instead, we asked our cab driver to take us to the Ketchup Food Community (Gerry said it was a nice place to get grub) since it was already a little past 3 PM and we hadn’t had lunch. Upon arriving to the place, however, and after checking out our options, Kaye and I decided we weren’t that hungry and decided to get street food instead. We then asked to be dropped off back to the hotel to free our hands up from our random hauls. A few minutes later, the driver took us to Burnham Park – which was just a short walk from the hotel, but we were titas and tired so we chose to ride to there instead. But once there, we settled our fees with the driver and told him we’ll find our way back to our hotel after exploring the park on foot. 
We found some ihaw-ihaw stalls but weren’t really in the mood for it, so we walked further towards the public market and went on a second installment of shopping. We got the proverbial ube jam and went to this redressed tuhog-tuhog stall and got some fishball. Later, we were talking and walking around Burnham Park, sight-seeing and people-watching. And because I am such a good friend and the good karma is finally starting to come around, I still managed to get my hands on a cup of yummy strawberry taho, plus some fish crackers and popcorn. Kaye and I found this cozy little spot facing the pond where tourists get to go kayaking, and we settled there. We ate and caught up with one another because we may teach in the same school, but we don’t always get to talk. We are professionals.

So, on we talked and talked, engendering many more inside jokes and fond memories. See, never had my sexuality been questioned so many times by others  (even Dennis!!!) because of a friend, but that constantly happens when I'm/with my relationship with Kaye. And it happens to her too (hahaha!). We are that close. Why, even Gerry casually asked us earlier that day if we were lesbians, to which we laughed before shrugging it off. We get it a lot that we’d gotten used to it to the point that we started acting like a couple – a couple of weirdos, (or titas), at least.

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In any event, after another “date” in Burnham Park, we walked back to the hotel. Agreeing loosely on what to do next, I crashed on the bed, pulled the cozy blanket up and just zoned out. When I came to, it was past 7 PM and my stomach was grumbling. I looked to the bed next to mine and saw Kaye peacefully sleeping. She looks so harmless when she’s asleep, but don’t we all. I got up. Washed my face and brushed my teeth. Put some powder on and a dab of Kaye’s lip balm then went back lying on my bed. I looked up from writing an email on my phone and glanced over to Kaye. I was a bit surprised to find that she was already awake.

Ba’t ganyan itsura mo?” she asked softly.

I frowned. “Huh?”

Ang fresh.”

I snorted. “I woke up like this.”

She rubbed her eyes and sat up. “Hindi ko namalayan, nakatulog na pala ‘ko.

Matagal-tagal rin tulog mo,” I noted.

Oo nga eh. Tinitingnan lang kita tapos natulog na pala ‘ko.” 

“Let’s go get dinner,” I said, changing the subject. 

And so we did.

We went downstairs to enjoy our sumptuous complimentary dinner at Venus Parkview’s in-house restaurant Olive Café. Gerry joined us for a bit and repeatedly warned us about going outside so late. The next paragraph will tell you that despite us being titas, we are cool titas.
olive cafe venus parkview hotel

where to eat in baguio

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We were now walking among pine trees where moonlight was slithering through; under a gauzy silver glow that made us more spirited. It was a little past ten and we were making our way to the night market along Harrison Road. The air was crisp. Our warm breath puffed as we spoke. We were voluble too, despite the cold, never running out of things to talk about.  You wouldn’t think we were in a “fight” the day before. Today had been a very productive one, and it hasn’t even ended yet.

I was dragging my left foot as we walked through Burnham Park, for my sandal has given up on me. 

Anong brand ba ‘yan?” asked Kaye.

“Chelsea,” I said.

Wag ka na bibili do’n, bebe. Hindi no’n kaya lifestyle mo.”

“Okay,” I said, trying not to choke on my own laughter.

Sure ka? Dito daan?” Kaye suddenly asked. I knew it wasn't that she didn't trust me. She was just always suspicious and has a tendency to nag (because she's old. Charot!)

I inhaled. “Tiwala lang.

We then emerged in a warmly lit street filled with an eclectic collection of stalls. We weaved through them and I was able to get me a new pair of sandals. Kaye also got a pair – the same one. See, we can exchange closets and there wouldn’t be much of a difference. I told her I want barbecue and I’d get some before heading back, but I never did because we were so engrossed on the topic of my love for pork. I only realized I had no barbecue in my hand when we were just a few steps away from our hotel.

But barbecue-less I may be, the day had turned out even better than expected. Because times may be hard and the world may be dark but Kaye makes things bearable, if not better.

I hope you have at least one person (I have two) in your life that makes you feel the same way. Adventures, after all, become more exciting when shared with great people. 

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