Baguio’s gold

The iconic oval in Wright Park, where everyone I know had a photo on a horse. It seemed so much bigger before!

The iconic oval in Wright Park, where everyone I know had a photo on a horse. It seemed so much bigger before!

I’ve always loved Baguio and it’s own special charm. It evokes feelings of being carefree, relaxed and happy one can’t help but reminisce about childhood memories of doing activities the city is best known for: the horses, yummy American food from John Hay, biking and boating at Burnham Park and so much more. Throw in the cool, crisp mountain air and the smell of pine and for me, it’s a little piece of heaven.

This is why I chose this place for one of the most important events of my life. I feel so at ease and at home here–plus I’m hoping the cool climate will temper the stress! My fiancè and I went up recently to do some wedding prep and we were on a mission to check out new places to visit, eat and be merry to get our guests excited. We managed to find a new hotspot or two and visited some old school joints,  just because. Here are some snaps of where we went, what we did, eat and got all nostalgic with. Do go up when you get a chance, it only takes about four hours now with the new highways. The drive is scenic, roads excellent and you’re sure to feel the excitement in your belly once you pass the lion’s head up Kennon road. Always gets me.

The Forest Lodge is a lot like the old Baguio with the all-wood structures, rustic furniture and homey feel.

The Forest Lodge is a lot like the old Baguio with the all-wood structures, rustic furniture and homey feel.

Home for a few days was The Forest Lodge inside Camp John Hay. This was one of our hotel choices for our guests so we wanted to try it out to give our recommendations. It didn’t disappoint. Room was clean and spacious, the breakfast reasonable and pretty good, and we were able to use the amenities in The Manor right next door. Turns out it’s run by the same management. I consider Forest Lodge to be the more down-to-earth, approachable sister, if you know what I mean.

Lobby is huge but not imposing nor pretentious.

Lobby is huge but not imposing nor pretentious.

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Cozy corners are the best for Me time.

Sunrise as seen from our balcony.

Sunrise as seen from our balcony. The bright orange light greeted us every morning, with matching birds tweeting.

Baguio Craft Brewery is filled with delicious local brews and food!

Baguio Craft Brewery is filled with delicious local brews and bar chow!

First order of business was to check out the Baguio Craft Brewery along Marcos (Ben Palispis) Hi-way. It came highly recommended by friends and we couldn’t wait to try it. It was a winner! The beers were yummy, the tasting room was legit, inviting and the rooftop view caps the experience.

Picnic benches on the rooftop makes hanging out

Picnic benches on the rooftop is the perfect hang-out spot.

Tried this winning sampler of fruity brews and light ales. Not a bad view to have either.

Tried this winning sampler of fruity brews and light ales. The view wasn’t too shabby either.

Café by the Ruins Dua is the iconic restaurant's other branch featuring a bigger, more contemporary space.

Café by the Ruins Dua is the iconic restaurant’s second branch featuring a bigger, more contemporary space.

Lunch the following day was at Cafè by the Ruins Dua. I was excited to see the difference in the interiors and menu. It was beautifully done with natural materials, a lot of light coming in from huge windows, art scattered about without overwhelming and a gorgeous display of treats waiting to be devoured. We left happy campers after having their famous Bagnet. Yum!

The open kitchen gave it a modern feel.

The open kitchen gave it a modern feel.

Their version of a deconstructed Bagnet over red rice and a side of Sinigang soup. Heavenly!

Their version of a deconstructed Bagnet over red rice with a side of Sinigang soup was heavenly!

The 2nd floor

The 2nd floor was super spacious.

Freshly baked bread ready to be taken home.

Freshly baked bread ready to be taken home.

Natural light flooded the entire floor.

Natural light flooded the entire floor.

National Artist Ben Cabrera's bulol collection rivals a museum's.

National Artist Ben Cabrera’s bulol collection rivals a museum’s.

This was my third time at BenCab museum joining Carlo who’s never been. It’s still as grand as I remember and once more made me wish I had my own huge mountain backyard.

Who doesn't recognise this mural?

Who doesn’t recognise this mural?

This hall had a new exhibit featuring young artists.

This hall had a new exhibit featuring young artists.

One of which is a favorite: Kawayan De Guia.

One of which is a favorite: Kawayan De Guia.

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Exploring the rooms.

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A whole wing dedicated to Ben’s work featuring several paintings of his muse, Sabel.

Ketchup

Ketchup is filled with different restos serving varying cuisines.

I’ve never been to Ketchup Food Community in Romulo Drive so I suggested it for lunch on our third day. It was a bustling place filled with tourists and locals enjoying the different fares. We settled in a Thai place called Happy Tummy and we left, well, pretty happy. I went to check out the other establishments but most were full to the brim so I settled for photos instead. The place was very photogenic after all, and a good reference for future trips.

Cute interiors inside Green Pepper, where they serve organic dishes.

Cute interiors inside Green Pepper, where they serve organic dishes.

Rancho has bbq specials.

Rancho has bbq specials.

The Thai place we tried, Happy Tummy.

The Thai place we tried, Happy Tummy.

Canto is famous for their ribs and other American staples.

Canto is famous for their ribs and other American staples.

Wright Park

The infamous Wright Park horses and guides.

Ketchup was right in front of Wright Park so I suggested we scoot over. I haven’t set foot in this park for years after having a huge scare the last time I was on a horse at the Marlboro Country trail. Age has caught up and I’m no longer as fearless as I used to be. I was happy to see not much has changed, only the place and horses looked smaller than I remember. I was secretly praying the animals were treated well and their coats left to its natural colors. I just don’t get the hot pink fur! Thankfully, I didn’t see many of those this time.

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Couldn’t resist a photo op in front of all the greens! A sudden downpour happened right after this photo making me thankful we had the chance to enjoy it beforehand.

Greens

Did I say I was obsessed with plants? Baguio has the most lush ones!

Arca's Yard's unusual water tank shaped like a teapot!

Arca’s Yard’s unusual water tank shaped like a teapot!

My friend Fifi recommended a quaint bookstore/mini-museum along Ambuklao road, a few meters away from our reception venue. After church, we decided to check it out since it was nearby. A giant teapot greeted us in front of a seemingly unassuming small white gate of a house. It said to ring the doorbell to enter, so we did, and a pleasant local woman welcomed us in. I was surprised to see some students in the living area playing a game of “would you rather” rather loudly that it made me want to join in. The woman led us to the second floor that housed books of all kinds with a comfy floor set-up for those who prefer to linger while having espresso. It was the kind of place you can’t help but fall in love with. We settled back downstairs in their small balcony to enjoy the cool evening breeze while having delicious strawberry shakes. Perfect ending to a great day.

B43 (1 of 1) B52 (1 of 1) B45 (1 of 1)

B47 (1 of 1) B48 (1 of 1)

Shelves filled with books and artifacts waiting to be discovered.

Shelves filled with books and artifacts waiting to be discovered.

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The fireplace was alive when we went to Mama's Table due to a brownout. So nice and cozy!

The fireplace was alive when we arrived at Mama’s Table due to a brownout. So nice and cozy.

Dinner and some food tasting went on.

Dinner and some food tasting went on.

Also checked out the garden at night.

Also checked out the garden at night.

Map

A map of Baguio I wanted to take home so we never get lost again.

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