City of Pines

5:50 AM

I have a story to share and it’s all about our first road trip of the year in one of the coolest places in the Philippines. There’s something about the City of Pines that makes it special. I guess it's the delicious food, friendly locals and breathtaking views that welcomed us in Baguio!  

My family (that’s 30 of us) and I were lucky enough to have our first ever road trip together last January 1! We wanted a special celebration for my dad’s 51st birthday and we thought a road trip would be the best fit. Our trip wasn’t too adventurous, but it was an opportunity we took to bond with each other. 

What really made our trip memorable was the mix of having things fall into place and having to deal with the unplanned things that popped up. Here are a couple of things we did, as well as a few things I learned during our trip!

1. Living in the “White House” 

Feeling the cool breeze and seeing this spectacular view was something to look forward to in the town house we rented for two days. Not foreseeing how small the place was,  some relatives had to stay in another place. 

Getting to this place wasn’t easy. I can’t tell you the number of times we went up and down hills just to find it. We were misled by the locals a lot of times, which was really frustrating, but in the end, this didn’t stop us from having a splendid trip! 

2. Eating brick-oven pizza 

The last time I remembered eating really good brick oven pizza was when we went to Europe. My best friend Grace brought us to this lovely quaint restaurant. We definitely enjoyed this place! 

3. Horse back riding at Camp John Hay 

If you’re looking for something authentically Baguio-esque, horseback riding in Camp John Hay would be it. Going off road into the woods, feeling the cool breeze and smelling fresh air - it all made you feel like you didn’t want to leave. I was lucky enough to talk to guy who owned the horses we rode. Kuya had to stay beside my horse during the whole trip, just because the horse I was riding was hyper and kept running around. It was actually pretty scary! 

I didn’t get Kuya’s name, but he was really humble. I got to talk to him for a while and found out that he's owned these horses for almost three years already! They eat a lot more than what you expect, and they are well taken care of. It made me a little sad to see these horses in chains, and to think about the hours they had to carry people around everyday though. I couldn't help feeling concerned!

4. Meeting New Friends

My college best friend Grace is from Baguio and I was lucky enough to meet some of her friends. They were all really welcoming, and I enjoyed getting to know them.

5. Buying “pasalubong” at Good Shepherd 

Every time we go on a trip, we never forget to bring back pasalubongs for our loved ones. Everyone loves the delicacies from Good Shepherd, especially the famous peanut brittle and ube jam. We definitely brought some home to share! 

We bought all jams available - mango, strawberry and ube. We also bought peanut brittle and cookies too. My favorite thing about these pasalubongs (and Good Shepherd) is their story - with each purchase, you help a Cordilleran youth with schooling.

6. Playing card games 

Nothing like a game of cards to kill time! I enjoyed playing a Filipino game “tong-its” with my lola , as well as Uno with new found friends I met in Baguio. 

7. Enjoying Unli-Japanese food 

To celebrate my dad’s birthday, we wanted unli-food. Knowing that my family and  our love for food go hand in hand, we decided to have an unli-charcoal grill experience in Tajimaya Sumibi Yakiniku! The beef was really delicious and amazing. One bit definitely wasn’t enough! We hoarded all the food possible in our table. Our tummies were definitely happy about that!

My first adventure for 2017 was one filled with memories made with family and friends. Even if the moments we shared together were really simple, we what mattered was the bonding experience and the new memories we made together! I don’t see the members of my dad’s side of the family very often, so it was nice to catch up with them after so long. 

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  1. I hope I can also visit the place someday! Glad you enjoyed your trip, Rach!

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