The City of Pines

Trip Start Mar 08, 2008
Trip End Mar 21, 2008

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Sunday, March 16, 2008

4:00 AM.

That's when the day started for me as I got up to get ready for the big road trip to Baguio with Derek and Chris.  The plan was to meet over at their building, Vivant, where we would meet the van that would be driving us to our destination.  After walking over to Vivant, I sat downstairs with Derek waiting on Chris and the van and like clockwork, the van with our driver, Tony and a fellow co-worker, Roy showed up so all we were waiting on was Chris.

5:15 AM

Yea!  We're underway to Baguio (new link) after waiting on Chris since his alarm clock had a bit of a hiccup.  It never ceases to amaze me how big metropolitan cities never sleep and Manila is such a city.  Even at the early hours of the morning there were a great deal of people moving about whether it was driving, walking, biking or waiting for transportation.  Traffic was pretty much a constant and Tony navigated the expressways with ease to get us out of the city.  Sometime around 6:00 AM, watching the sun starting to come out on the right side of the van we were on the expressway headed north with traffic not much of a factor any longer.  The trip on the expressway was pretty fast and we stopped off at the Lakeshore gas stop to take a quick break before hopping into the van once again heading north.  The scenery of rice paddies instead of the cityscape was a welcome change and the addition of the water buffalo eating and walking among the fields was an added treat.  After a couple of hours we pulled off of the expressway, well actually we had to exit the expressway as it ended, and headed the rest of the way on the two lane MacArthur Highway.  Now we made good time on the expressway, but traveling on the MacArthur Highway is pretty much driving through little towns and dealing with traffic.  Negotiating the traffic is a talent that Tony had well in hand as it was a constant game of leapfrog around motorized tricycles, motorcycles, scooters, jeepnies and various sizes of cargo trucks.  Working our way through the traffic, we took the Kennon Road route which reminded me of the infamous "Road to Hana".  The twisting turns headed up the mountain and we stopped at a waterfall to take a couple of pictures and then at the "Lion's Head" and finally at the Kennon Road Overlook so that we could see all the switchbacks as we came up the mountain.  The views were pretty spectacular and it reminded me a great deal of where my parents live as the scenery was almost the same.  I called my grandmother and told her where we were and she gave directions to Tony, but Tony was from Baguio (new link) so he knew the area.

We arrived at my grandmother's house a little bit after 11:00 AM and it was awesome not only to see her but to to be in the house that my mother grew up in.  We visited for a little bit before having lunch and what a lunch it was!  Everyone gathered around the table where there was pancit, lumpia, jumbo prawns, shrimp, veggies, pork and chicken adobo.  Yum!  Afterwards everyone was sitting around the table quite full and satisfied from such a good meal.  During the meal some of my grandmother's friends were doing karaoke so that was fun to listen to and Derek even sang a song.  It was good to visit with my grandmother though, we talked about my job and I gave her pictures from my wedding and talked about Danielle and what she did.  We did walk around the house and my grandmother told me where my mum and her brothers and sister slept and there were some pictures of my mum's family that I looked at as well.  The other cool thing about the visit is that Roy, the gentleman who joined us in the excursion who works for the company we are working with out here, he's my cousin!  His grandmother and my grandmother are cousins, so that was quite the surprise!

We didn't stay too long as we were wanting to tour around Baguio before heading back so we left and headed to the SM mall for a look around at the surrounding areas that bordered the mall.  Afterwards we went to The Mansion, Mines View Park and finally the Baguio Market.  Quite the whirlwind tour of the city but we eventually left around 4:00 PM and took the Marcos Highway back to the MacArthur Highway and then back down to Manila.  Night time traffic was equally challenging but Tony navigated the slow moving sugarcane trucks and the usual amount of traffic with somewhat relative ease.  We arrived back in Manila around 11:00 PM despite the traffic we encountered once we arrived in Manila.

The next time I think a flight will be much better now that I know the flight schedule.  While the road trip was a good way to see the countryside, a 50 minute flight beats a six hour trip one way.  LOL
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chele814 on

Hey Gill
This is amazing. I bet the Markets are where you can get some really good deals, am I right?

I loved the vid of your mom's place.

Although it looks like a 'tourist' trap of sorts, it looks very poverty stricken. Am I correct?


P.S. Now did you actually ever live there? And if so, how long?
Would you ever go back?

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