I think of fresh harvested Strawberries.I remember the sweet, acidity, succulent soft juicy melting in my mouth…
Remember savoring each moment especially something etched in my mind in my younger years. Somehow, I recall the scent of fresh scented pine, many brittle light cones growing abundantly in tall bright light green pine trees. I loved mixing fresh strawberries with enormous corn flakes coming from Post Exchange(PX) giant American Kellog crunchy cereal. Mixed with Real fresh milk.
Really love the fresh cinnamon-like scent smell of pine trees and bright brown cones growing from different sizes of Pine trees both small and large There were also different varieties of trees, flora, and fauna surrounding the entire area. August forty years ago, you could feel the cool chill breeze of the fog in the early morning. You can hear the different variety of birds, from sparrows, colorful butterflies. This is what I remember of the Old Baguio. Visiting Burnham Park that never had steel fences, Only a handful of two-story and three-story Building infrastructure.
Baguio in the Mid 1970s
Vividly remembered listening to American Top 40 Kay Cee Kaysem…
We listened to the latest release of Barry Manilow, James Taylor, Tavares, Donna Summers, and listened to old Bob Dylan, U2, Elton John, ABBA, and Sergio Mendez music. I remember dancing to the tunes of Swing, El Bimbo and alike. Sporting low waist bell bottoms and corduroy which was a craze at that time. A different Filipino Music was emerging from the likes of Freddie Aguilar, Hotdogs, Cinderella, Freddie Bartolome, The Circus Band and the Apolinario Hiking Society. Original Pilipino Music or OPM was trending the Airwaves.
I remember Kuya-oldest brother bringing a copy of the Popular Science. Showing an article to the family announcing heed my words… Computers will be the craze and biggest thing of the future. Fondly recall wearing a fatigue Air Force jacket of my brother to keep me warm.Kuya was a ROTC officer in Ateneo De Manila. We were anticipating the exciting fight between Joe Frazier and Mohamad Ali that was scheduled on October 1, 1975. The fight was promoted as the Thrilla in Manila.
During the evenings we loved to watch fireflies circling around the Court of Appeals Cottage. The old folks tell us that these are lost spirits wandering around, warning us young folks not to wander around. It was those days when you can be easily picked up and never to be heard or found…(Martial Law Days)
Baguio, officially the City of Baguio (Ibaloi: Ciudad ne Bagiw; Ilocano: Siudad ti Baguio; Pangasinan: Siyudad na Baguio; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Baguio) and often referred to as Baguio City, is a highly urbanized city in northern Luzon of the Philippines, also referred to as the Summer Capital of the Philippines. It is geographically located within Benguet, serving as the provincial capital from 1901 to 1916,[
Baguio was established as a hill station by the Americans in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village known as Kafagway. It was the United States’ only hill station in Asia. The name of the city is derived from bagiw, the Ibaloi word for “moss”. The city is situated at an altitude of approximately 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) in the Luzon tropical pine forests ecoregion conducive for the growth of mossy plants and orchids.
We left Saturday, around 7:40 in the morning from Angeles Pampanga. There are options to get to Baguio. The first is either to commute. Or the second is to take a private utility vehicle to get there faster. And the last option is to rent a car.It took us 3 hours and 5 minutes (170.3 Km) by car to get to our destination By using the TPlex Freeway
I can vaguely recall back in the mid-Seventies. A trip going to Baguio would take about 4 to 6 Hours.It is uncanny how progress was able to cut travel time to almost one-half of what we had to go through. I asked my Brother-In-Law and was advised that we would be taking the longer route which is Marcos Highway.
After arriving Baguio City we encountered heavy traffic. I found this odd, I was wondering if this was normal? It was a long weekend we would be celebrating the death and martyrdom of the late Senator Benigno S. Aquino. The late Senator was assassinated on August 21, 1983.
Somehow, I was in a way in a state of shock when I arrived in Baguio, I was not aware nor I was aware of the changes since the last time I was here. Unlike the beautiful and glory and once vibrant city, I once knew. What confronted me instead was total crowded disarray and chaotic scenario.
I wanted to do is stay in the room where we were billeted. Sleep and wait it out till we head back to Pampanga.
Where to Stay?
There is quite a number of Transient house to choose from. This depends entirely on your budget. We were billeted at the Fifth Floor of the Ina Mansion Condominium.The building lies in front of Burnham Park. It is a walking distance to the public market and a few minutes walk to Burnham Park.
Burnham Park (Philippines) Burnham Park is a 32.84 hectare urban park located at the heart of the Baguio, in the Philippines. It was named after the American architect and urban planner, Daniel HudsonBurnham who laid the plans for the city. … At the southern part of the park, a skating rink was constructed.
As soon as we reached our destination. A lady escorted and showed our group to the fifth floor.
The room we stayed had three bedrooms, a small fireplace, hot/cold Shower room, a 24-hour cable Television and four sliding doors with small balconies that overlooked Burnham Park.
For those who work as Freelancers or Work@home. You have an option to have access to a strong WI-Fi at the Mezzanine. Suggest you bring your own WI-Fi if you would like to get anything done.
After a good nights rest. The following morning, the family decided to bring along two vehicles to go around the city.
Here’s our First Stop….
La Trinidad Valley- It’s 30 Minutes drive away from Baguio City. It is ideal to visit Strawberry Fields from November to May. It is an ideal and unique way to experience Strawberry picking at La Trinidad Vally.
Strawberry Fields in La Trinidad Valley was crowded with people. As soon as you reach the parking area, The first thing that would greet you are different stalls. The blazing heat and humid air would prod you to get something cool. I suggest you try out the delightful Strawberry Ice Cream.
Before entering Strawberry Fields you will reach a large parking space filled with different Stalls and Vendors offering their goods. Depending on the size of ice cream you order. I shared a large cup of cool strawberry ice cream with my daughter, One cup of refreshing Strawberry ice cream cost Php 50.00.
Just ample time to go around and take some pictures and watching the young kids smile and laugh would melt your stress away.
Last stop is Wright Park
The Old Wright Park I knew was not crowded nor did I see large commercial signs, unlike today.I fondly recalled I was only 12 or 14 years old when I first rode a horse. Today, it seemed really different. Vendors would approach you, slide by your side and whisper offering their wares. Wallets that were made from horse hides? This made me quiver. In the old days back in the seventies, I recall the wallets were made of either authentic leather, snakeskin or elephant skin.
After spending an hour and a half at the Wright Park. The family decided to head back to the Ina Condominium to check out and head back to Pampanga.
Finally the last Stop is Baguio Market for a late lunch and pasalubongs.
Finally, Memories of the old Baguio will forever be etched in my mind till the end of my days.
What is important to be looking at excited wide bright young, wide beautiful glowing smiles, youthful giggles and laughter of the young kids. Just to remind me of how I felt years ago once upon a time when I was young.
The Vacation Capital of the Philippines.