alone in baguio, day 1

The Victory Liner bus I would be taking to Baguio would leave the Pasay terminal by 6 AM. The ticket said be there 30 minutes before departure, and so, as I’d rather be early and bored than be worried every minute that I might end up late, I was there more than an hour early.

How to purchase bus tickets online

Victory Liner bus schedules

Ha! Take that, TIME!

The buses do leave more or less on time (the 5:30 bus left on the dot; ours left 15 minutes past 6), so, you know, just follow the schedule or else your seat will be given to chance passengers. (And there were a lot of chance passengers that Friday.)

I forgot to pee before the bus left, and had such a terrible bladder experience that the drive from San Fernando, Pampanga to Concepcion, Tarlac was pretty much torture for me. Take note: I rode the regular aircon bus (PhP 455 one way), which has no washroom inside, and which only has two stopovers. One in Tarlac, and another in Sinon, Pangasinan.

It was the Lunar New Year weekend, so traffic was heavy on SCTEX. I arrived at Baguio City past 2 pm, around 8 hours later.

The Victory Liner Baguio station is along Utility Road. I stepped out of the bus and felt a cold wind slap me, and instantly fell in love.

I took a cab from there to Shuntug Road to have late lunch at Cafe By The Ruins. I paid PhP 63 – and the driver gave me exact change. 

Wait-listed at the restaurant.

Got a second floor table, and here’s the view.

I ordered Ruins Coffee and 3 Mushroom Crepe. I loved the coffee. I actually wasn’t expecting much from the crepe, but it was surprisingly delicious and filling.

I hailed another cab to take me to High Point Boutique Inn & Restaurant, all the way in faraway Kennon Road.

Look, when I was looking up hotels online, most of the hotels located along Session Road were so expensive. High Point offered the best price at PhP 3500 for two nights (this is a Standard Room, good enough for two), including free breakfast.

Unfortunately, they’re located 15 to 20 minutes away from city proper. I did not realize this when I booked a room with them. In a city where mostly anywhere interesting is walking distance from each other, that’s pretty far. If you’re staying at High Point and most of your destinations are in Session Road, be ready to shell out cab fare. And I’ve had cab drivers refuse me because Kennon Road is “too far”.

However, if you have a car this won’t be too much of a problem. You can enter Baguio via Kennon Road, for example.

From Shuntug I paid PhP 77 to get to the hotel. The Standard Room is actually pretty spacious.

With the smallest hotel TV I’ve ever seen.

The hot shower takes forever to become hot. And then when it’s hot, it’s scalding. Could annoy some people, but I’m fine with it.

There’s a direwolf on my shirt, because winter is coming here. Sort of.

Outside the room.

So out I went, heading back to Session Road. (I told you. Cab fares. Expensive.)

When I said “Mt. Cloud Bookshop”, the driver looked clueless. So I said, “Casa Vallejo”.

Hello, Mt. Cloud. I’ve been dreaming about you.

I spent quite a long time here, pulling out a bunch of poetry books and deciding which one to buy. I unfortunately was not made of money, so I placed them all back on the shelf. Then I found something that caught my eye – Madame Apol‘s book! It’s a collection of essays about her move to France. I read a few pages and paid for it at the counter.

It was starting to get dark, so I walked along Session Road. Quite aimlessly at first, until I found the cathedral (Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral).

There was a little store near the church that sold Good Shepherd products. I took a mental note of that.

I stopped by Vizco’s Restaurant (just beside Don Henrico’s) for something sweet.

I tried their Strawberry Shortcake, partnered with black tea with honey. Yum.

There were a lot of people walking on Session Road. A lot. I walked toward SM Baguio to get a cab to take me back to the hotel. I climbed the stairs to the mall and was instantly winded – the sun was setting, the temperature was dropping, and my hands, which were uncovered, were starting to freeze.

I was just too glad to be back in my room and under the sheets.

Here I am, someplace else, reading about someplace else.

High Point has reasonably priced meals. I ordered a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with fries, which cost PhP 100. You can have the food delivered to your room, plus 10 percent service charge.

It was a good day. Time to close all the windows, turn off the aircon, put on my socks, and sleep. Brr.

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