By: Mr. JASON C. CARLOS, Faculty President
Pine trees, Session Road, Cool weather and of course, Strawberries! Baguio City is a place you’ll keep coming back to.
After several stressful months due to busy schedules and activities in school. Yearly, December is the much awaited month for teachers and employees of Roosevelt College System to relax and enjoy the cool breeze in the “City of Pines”, Baguio City.
Day 1 – Nestled along the mountain range of Baguio City
Assembly was at RC Lamuan by 12:00 midnight of December 19, 2013, we left the school after five hours, were already driving up into the Teacher’s Camp. Suddenly, there was a ripple of excitement among my fellow educators and other school personnel, as the shopaholics in the bus spotted the bridge way that connects SM Baguio to the tiangges. Warm smiles and fresh flowers welcomed us at the Roxas hall. Apparently “Hello! Baguio!” is a common tagline among teachers, which instantly thinking to check what’s new that Baguio City has to offer. So, a lot of teachers went to tiangges along the Session road and strolled in Burnham Park, the central park of Baguio City. And eventually, we had a last day shopping mode at SM Baguio City for the Christmas holidays.
Since, we’re in the busy streets and caught in a traffic jam, we decided to walk to the different bazaars and take home some pasalubong as well. Luckily, there were rows of Baguio fresh strawberries and various strawberry-based products being sold right outside the Provincial Capital Food Products included strawberry pie, strawberry lengua, strawberry wine, tarts, jams and newest food craze town the “pork sinigang with strawberries” which tastes the usual sinigang with natural tamarind. It was a day filled with great memories and new discoveries.
Day 2 – Dazzling Discoveries
We stayed in different rooms at the Roxas Hall and guest houses along Lennard Road where standard room was pretty spacious, complete with comfy bed; cozy sofa and aroma of brewed coffee sponsored by RIFEU completed our morning breakfasts. A lot of teachers and school personnel had their own ideas on how to spent their days in Baguio City. The restaurants or turo-turo (local term) along the Burnham Park, an all-day dining restaurants features local specialties such as chopsuey, grilled chicken alongside strawberry wine and taho flavoured strawberry in a chic setting.
Every morning, some of us filled our tummies at the extensive breakfast buffet at the Le Chef (right across the Teachers’ Camp) before setting-off again on our Baguio adventures. We went to different notable places such us Grotto of Mary of Lourdes, Benguet State University where we bought the cheapest “ube” in town, Tam-awan Village, an art gallery showcasing Baguio painting done by local artists, Strawberry Farm at benguet, and lastly, the infamous Mines view Park where we felt the cool breeze from the mountains of the region.
Exploring the City center at night
Teachers’ Camp is only 10 minutes away from the city center of Baguio, where the night owls (teachers) checked out videoke bars and disco restaurants be worthwhile to enjoy the night life. After a while, we decided to visit the Session Road for the night bazaars and were able to find a lot of best buys and savor some street foods along the way. For an unforgettable evening we drop-by the ancestral and known to be a haunted house of the Laperal family. The circa 1920’s house along Lennard Road where Teacher’s Camp is also located has been beautifully preserved and is now open to the public as art gallery for art enthusiasts.
Happily stuffed, went back to the Teacher’s Camp with fun memories with our colleagues.
Day 3 – Last Day Adventures
Just like Dora, the Explorer, we’re also adventure seekers, trail blazers and nature lovers, our group decided to visit Camp John hay. This 10.7 hectare park built during the American occupation where offered a lot of amenities such as golf area, skating ring and zipline adventure which we tried without any hesitations.
Lastly, we went to Baguio Cathedral to spent our few hours in Baguio City. Baguio City has changed so much since RCS started to have Baguio trip for teachers and employees in the 1980’s but the sight and smell of pine trees always bring back good memories. A heartfelt thanks to the Roosevelt College Management Team for giving us the opportunity and spent our Christmas vacation in Baguio City with enjoyment and strengthen our friendships among our colleagues.
Excess: More Stop Overs
As we went back to Manila, buying pasalubong is like taking a food adventure because each town and city has its own set of products to offer. We bought dried bangus or milkfish from Dagupan. There’s the famous thin, long fish “espada” but when fried its crispy and crunchy and served with vinegar.
Other dried fish, fish sauce, onions and garlic from Ilocos region are sold in the markets and streets of Urdanetta, Pangasinan. But giving back home is incomplete without “tupig”, a native delicacy made from sticky rice with coconut strips wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in charcoal heat and we had a leisurely walk at the hacienda Luisita Mall in Tarlac for an early dinner. Finally, we went back to RC Lamuan around 7:30 pm in the evening with great smiles and looking forward to explore more hidden places in the City of Pines next year.