Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011 in Baguio City

My husband's niece has been inviting us to join them in spending Christmas in Baguio City. However, due to budget constraints and transportation issues, we were hesitant to give our commitment. It was around lunch time last Friday when we received a text message from her informing us that we will be leaving for Baguio that evening. No more issues. Everything has been resolved. Another impromptu decision was made! I love this kind of adventure but I hate the stress that comes with the instant preparation.  

Because I have to leave in the afternoon to claim the Archos tablet that I won during the 2011 Bloggers Night, I packed our clothes and things that need to bring as soon as we received the message. I left early to meet the person who will deliver the tablet to me. I was just so surprised that there was no traffic in  Baclaran area, which is the least to expect at the peak of the Christmas season. As soon as I received the gadget, I immediately left our meeting place. No more fuss. I need to hurry as I have to buy extra gifts for our nephews and nieces who will be coming with us. 

While on the way home, I kept on sending my husband text messages to remind him what to bring and what not to bring. I also informed him to bathe the kids and dress the up so that they will be ready when I arrive. I am really thankful for a very supportive and attentive husband. Everybody is prepared when I got home. We just picked up our luggage and we set out for the trip. 

It was already late night when we left our meeting place so I instructed the kids to take a nap while we are on the road. The trip to Baguio City will take around 5-6 hours and we expect to arrive by early morning. My two boys immediately obeyed but our darling daughter had difficulty going to sleep so I let her stay awake because I am confident that she will go to sleep later during the trip. 

We arrived in Baguio City around 7 o'clock the next morning. We were late by almost an hour than our expected time of arrival. Realizing that it was already Friday and the eve of Christmas, we headed to market after having breakfast to buy food for our lunch and Noche Buena. We bought a cake in one of the bakeshops at SM-Baguio while others prepared grilled fish and squid. My sister-in-law also cooked buttered shrimps and spaghetti. 

In the afternoon, we returned to SM-Baguio to buy some personal stuff that my husband forgot to put in our bag and experience their open terrace, which is the main difference of SM-Baguio from other SM malls. Yes, SM-Baguio does not have an air conditioning unit. It was a wonderful feeling to be serenaded with an ensemble as they play Christmas songs and allow you to feel the spirit of the season. I was unable to get the name of the orchestra but I will say they were really good. 

When we arrived at the transient house we rented, I decided to go to our room and get some sleep so that i will have the energy for the Noche Buena and other activities we prepared. Unfortunately, I may have dozed off as I failed to wake up at the sound of my alarm. Though they did try to wake me up as well, I may have gone in deep slumber I did not respond to them. I may have been too tired as I was also awake during the entire 7-hour trip while my husband drives. 

So, the kids opened their gifts as soon as I woke up the next morning. It was already Christmas Day! Good thing they were also asleep while others were eating, opening their gifts, and having fun. We also gave special gifts to their cousins. 

After eating a heavy breakfast, I should say literally breaking the fast, we all prepared to go around Baguio City. We have been in Baguio City several times; however, our last viit to the city has been several years ago. Eiya was only several months old then so the kids hardly remember that vacation. Our first stop was The Wright Park. The kids were so excited to ride the horses. We even had our pictures taken at the memorable stairs. Yes, we have some memories on that stairs but I would rather not reveal it here. That unforgettable event is also one of the most embarrassing moment of my life! 

After the horse-back riding, picture-taking, and eating the delicious strawberry taho, we headed to The Mansion House. The visit to The Mansion House got me up on my feet, gave me the thrill, and I would say, completed my day. Why? As I mentioned earlier, we have been to Baguio City several times yet I have never seen The Mansion House. Our previous stays in the city where due to conference or camp; hence, we really did not have much time to go around the city and visit the nice places it boasts of. 

The visit at The Mansion House was very short. We cannot get inside the house anyway so we decided to go to Mines View Park. The park was packed. There were too many people we can hardly move so we opted not to go to the cottage anymore, where the kids can have a view of the mountains and houses below. Instead, we satisfied ourselves by taking some pictures with one of the St. Bernard dogs in the park. My husband and our daughter gladly posed to take pictures with the dog while the two boys did not find the courage to even go near the large canine. 

The whole afternoon was spent with visit to some of the beautiful places in Baguio City. The kids asked if we can go to the Philippine Military Academy because they would like to see the cadets in gala uniforms and take a look at its museum. Unfortunately, we ran short of time so we just promised them that we will go there on our next visit, hopefully next year. When all of a sudden, E-mann commented, "I wish we do not have to go back to Manila anymore. I want to live here. The weather is cool and there are nice places to see." I was speechless! 

It was almost dark when we returned to the house. After having dinner, we went to Baguio Cathedral and attended mass. When we arrived back to the house, the teenagers asked my husband to drive them to Burnham Park. They wanted to ride the boat. Our children heard it and said they also wanted to go. Unfortunately, I could not go with them anymore as I have some work to do. So, I instructed my husband and the teenagers to look after the kids, which they promised they will. 

They arrived after almost two hours. I was still working on my articles, while they all went to bed. I tried to keep awake the whole night to finish the tasks assigned to me because I know I will not be able to work the next day as we will leave early in the morning to go back to Manila. 

As planned, we left the transient house early but we passed by the market to do some souvenir shopping. I bought some strawberries, of course, as well as other snacks, such as peanut brittle, strawberry jam. Joma loves crinkles so much so I bought some strawberry and pandan crinkles for them. As I expected, the strawberry crinkles did not even reach Manila. They ate it up while on our way back to Manila. 

The road back to Manila was foggy. We got caught up in traffic somewhere in Pangasinan so it was already 10PM by the time we arrived home. But thank God we all arrived safe and sound and we had a wonderful Christmas in Baguio City. 

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