Traveling Up North: Baguio

The Papal Visit gave us five days of vacation time so my friends and I traveled up North for some much-needed r&r. My good friend Ciara invited us to her hometown Agoo, La Union where we savored the pleasures of provincial life. Tito Dan, Ciara’s dad, was kind enough to drop us off at the bus stop where we took one headed for Baguio. With the wind blowing in our hair, we excitedly took groufies (not a mental disorder — yet).

baguio from agoo

Gilbert, Ciara, Patintera, and moi are headed for Baguio from Agoo

I felt giddy as the bus began to zig and zag uphill on a snake road, a classic sign you’re nearing Baguio. With the wind turning chilly and prompting us to put on our sweaters, I eagerly awaited to reach a familiar landmark – the Victory bus station, UP, or that tree-murdering mall – but traffic was so bad I’ve lost all excitement at being in Baguio before we even got off the bus. I guess one downside of having a five-day holiday in Metro Manila is everyone goes up North. Since we originally planned to stay in Baguio only for the afternoon, we decided to not waste time and head straight to BenCab Museum, our only stop. It was not as easy as we expected it to be though. We could not find a cab. We. Could. Not. Find. A. Cab. No matter where we went to try and catch one, we couldn’t. And we were with Ciara who knew Baguio like the back of her hand. Did I mention the entire Metro Manila was vacationing in Baguio?

cab hunting in baguio

Cab hunting in Baguio (Photo courtesy of Patintera)

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally gave up on hailing a cab and took a jeepney instead. We got off about a couple hundred meters away from BenCab Museum, the jeepney’s last stop. We were all exhausted from the cab hunt earlier especially Patintera and I who were lugging our bags with us. So any amount of extra walking was no joke. Good thing it was downhill. The splendor of the BenCab Museum soothed our tired legs and aching shoulders. I almost didn’t notice my heavy cargo as I went around admiring the masterful works of various artists. I admit there were a couple I did not care for but all in all, the trip was worth the effort and the P100 entrance fee. Here are some of my favorites:

sarimanok at bencab museum

Sarimanok at the BenCab Museum

ninuno at bencab museum

An old lady, presumably an Ifugao, at the BenCab Museum

anito at the bencab museum

Anitos at the BenCab Museum

red rubber art at bencab museum

Can you tell I heart rubber art?

asian twins at bencab museum

Sadly, I failed to get any of the art titles so I’m calling them Asian Twins

Now, let me give you what I observed to be BenCab Museum’s “Most”

lady gotta pee at bencab museum

The most imitated art at the BenCab Museum

vajayjay at bencab museum

The most instagrammed art at the BenCab Museum

And…

bencab's sabel

The most photographed Sabel at the BenCab Museum

Of course, I couldn’t leave without creating my own art of sorts.

my la union keepsake at bencab museum

My Sta. Rita Ecopark Keepsake at the BenCab Museum

munimuni at bencab museum

Latest installation at BenCab Museum: Muni-muni

But that’s not even the best part. As BFF Patintera so aptly put it, “the best art is outside the walls”. The view from BenCab Museum was breathtaking. Had we gotten there early, I probably would have spent a good part of our stay just soaking in as much of that beauty as I could.

Patintera is enjoying the view

Patintera is enjoying the view

view at the bencab museum

The breathtaking view at the BenCab Museum

The BenCab Museum closes at 5:30 but we had to rush out before then so we could catch the last jeepney back to town. We had to allot a decent amount of time going back because this time the walk was uphill. As if the heavens wanted to make this Baguio trip even more memorable, we received news that our reservation in Vigan fell through and that we had nowhere to park ourselves when we get there. So, we made a last-minute decision to spend the night in Baguio with Ciara and her beau Gilbert at their friends’ place. It may have started out as a setback to have to be spending the night in Baguio but Patintera and I had fun. Jen and Rex were very accommodating and their cute little babies were so adorable. We spent the evening watching horror movies. It’s when us girls resorted to escorted bathroom breaks that I decided to call it a night. Patintera and I woke up bright and early the next day to make our way to Vigan. But the heavens were not done with us. Leaving Jen and Rex’s place would prove to be another memorable uphill trek at an estimated 12°C temperature. Joy!

Walking in the cold made me miss summer.

Walking in the cold made me miss summer.

But we caught a break when we found a cab before walking all the way out of the subdivision. The cabbie dropped us off at the bus station where we would catch a ride to Vigan. After about an hour and a half of waiting and a quick breakfast, the bus was ready for boarding. For some reason we had this idea that Baguio-Vigan bus ride took only two hours. Boy, were we wrong. Vigan post is coming up next.

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