Baguio for the Long Weekend Day 1

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Hello! Back from back-to-back out of town weekends!

I don’t know about you… but I’m feeling 22! Haha sorry, I have to pay homage to Taytay who has a new single out. Going back, I don’t know about you, but it bothers me that my weekends are always decisions between resting and doing something new. Lucky are those who have already found the formula to living their lives without feeling like they’re working to survive. Tell me how you manage as I have yet to finish Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Work Week book. Hoping to get to where you’re at soon.

For now, I shall now write about my Baguio trip 2 weekends ago. Yay!

Pao and I decided to go to Baguio for the August 19 – 21 long weekend. We decided really, really late, like the day before kind of late, so we were left with ordinary bus tickets instead of the deluxe ones and a sketchy hotel instead of a homey one.

Our transportation was not that bad. I missed the wide seats, almost full recline action, and no road stop system that deluxe bus rides offer but for around PHP 500.00 or USD 10.00, we went on board an air-conditioned Victory Liner bus at 5 in the morning and arrived in Baguio 6-7 hours later. Our accommodation, however, is a different story hahaha! We booked the place via Agoda at around PHP 5,000 (USD 100.00) for 2 nights. The pictures on the site showed a place that looked old but decent. Little did we know that it has a “party place” in its premises. And by “party place” I mean a strip club hahaha! Add damp bed covers, bed bugs, and molds here and there and you have a gruesome hotel experience. I think getting through this trip given the room is a perfect example that it doesn’t matter where you are or what you do; what matters is who you’re with. Lol cheese. Pao and I survived our accommodation from hell with just one petty fight over a poisonous insect in the shower hahaha! I will not mention the hotel’s name here, but feel free to message and ask me if you’re heading to Baguio and would want to avoid it.

So what did we do in Baguio?

We ate. A LOT. 

Day 1

We arrived in Baguio after lunch and after checking into our hotel, we went to Camp John Hay to have our first full meal of the day at Choco-late De Batirol. Pao has been there before and he was excited to take me there with the promise of good food and the best Chocolate Batirol. A batirol is actually a kitchen equipment that is used for whisking. In context, Chocolate Batirol is whisked chocolate. It’s a chocolate drink prepared by using the batirol to melt the chocolate until it’s liquid, creamy, and textured goodness that’s perfect for cold days is brought about. Pao’s promise was true – the food in Choco-late De Batirol IS GOOD and their Chocolate Batirol IS THE BEST! Check out what we ordered in pictures.

Choco-late De Batirol FoodOur table spread at Choco-late De Batirol

 

It must be the intense hunger but almost everything we ordered was good! For our main meals, I had Vigan Longganisa which is a breakfast bestseller and Pao had their Dinuguan which is a lunch bestseller. The longganisa was crispy on the outside and chewy inside. It had a touch of sweetness but is dominantly salty and is best paired with spicy garlic vinegar which you can ask from the servers. I do not like eating Dinuguan but it tasted okay for a non-fan. Pao enjoyed it so I think that is testament enough. I like that it’s a bit spicy. It had slices of green chili mmm I love spicy things!

Vigan Longganisa and Dinuguan

For our drinks, I ordered the original Chocolate Batirol and Pao ordered the mint-flavored one. I knew he ordered the mint one because of me because I like mint-flavored chocolate but just didn’t order for myself because I wanted to taste the original one. Sweetie pie. Both our drinks were really, really good. I may be running out of adjectives here but there’s also no better way to put it but that! The texture of our drinks was smooth even though there were cocoa particles that remained in the drink given the whisking process. It was sweet but not too sweet and creamy but not overly creamy. It felt like I was drinking something raw and unprocessed but also something made with effort and care. It was love in a cup. Well, love in two cups hehe.

Bibingka. Tsokolate Ah. Mint Tsokolate Ah.

Pao also ordered Bibingka, a Filipino cake dessert made from rice. Again, not really a fan of this food. Out of everything we ordered this is probably my least favorite but who I am to judge? Hahaha! All I know is I’ve had better tries of other bibingkas. Pao made a supporting statement by saying it’s missing something. Might I suggest a salted egg? 🙂

After eating, we let the food in our tummies digest by going around Camp John Hay and enjoying the cool air. It’s a bit of a bummer that it was rainy. I’ve never experienced Baguio in perfect weather. This makes me sad. Hopefully, next time! 🙂

Pao wants to make a blogger out of me. The unsure and fearful side of me cannot deal as seen in Exhibit A below.

Pao making me do poses and myself being awkward and uncomfortable. He’s very determined though so maybe in time, I’ll get the hang of it hahaha!

On the other hand…

He has no problem whatsoever hahaha!

How lucky am I to find someone who can make me laugh so much until it hurts? ❤ The pictures are of him feeling he was Jacob Black transforming in the woods. Hahahaha!

FYI, walking around Camp John Hay is no easy feat. It is full of steep uphills and almost uncontrollable-to-walk-down-at-slowly downhills.

We made our way to this area of CJH where there are outlet stores and some restaurants. I think this area is popular. I remember going here before with friends from work. I didn’t imagine doing any shopping in Baguio but I ended up buying a trench coat for myself! Hahaha! Go and look around if you find yourself there, you might end up scoring something cool like I did.

Our best buy though? Matching Philippine Military Academy shirts! Hahaha!

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PMA-ready! Hahaha!

No, we are not the “let’s don matching shirts outside” kind of couple. But if we find it amusing, we feed our amusement. Like what happened when we bought our first “couple shirt” in Taiwan.

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Dao Ming Si and San Cai in Ying De lol

Before leaving CJH, we went to Mile Hi diner for a milkshake. Because we wanted to feel like we’re part of the TV series Riverdale haha! The interiors of the place looked like where we were hoping to be. There was a bar, some stools, booths, records on walls, and of course, a jukebox. We got ourselves a strawberry milkshake and some fries with cheese sauce and bacon, a good afternoon snack for 2.

Mile Hi Diner

Strawberry Milkshake and Fries

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Betty and Jughead, beware of Gemma and Pao ahaha!

We went back to our hotel at around 7:00 PM to rest before going to the night market for dinner.

The next thing we know, it was already 2:00 AM! Hahaha!

We ended up ordering Yellow Cab (THEY DELIVER IN BAGUIO!) and calling for a massage… telling ourselves we’d be disciplined tomorrow and we’ll wake up early to exercise then hear mass.

You could guess how that turned out. Hahaha! Until I write about it though, may you get to experience a good cup of hot chocolate.

Love,

Gemma

 

Manila Ocean Park

The past few months has allowed me to go through plenty of new experiences. Thanks mostly to my partner-in-crime and favorite person Pao who always makes an effort to take me out on dates. 🙂 Giving myself a moment to be cheesy and stop a tear from falling because seriously, he makes it a point to spend time which really gets to my closet-clingy personality ughhh. Haha!

Taking you back 5 months to our date in Manila Ocean Park. Pao has dropped “You want to go to Manila Ocean Park?” several times and I’d always respond “Mmm pwede” (Yeah sure, we could) with very little enthusiasm hihi. It wasn’t until my sister and her husband went there and returned all abuzz that I really thought of going.

I don’t know why for some reason back then, I didn’t think Manila Ocean Park (MOP) was the shiznit. Because it is! If you haven’t been, GO! Just go! Go to their website – here’s a link https://www.manilaoceanpark.com/ – and book it.

So on a hot March day, we went to MOP. The tickets I bought online were promo tickets of packaged attractions. The ones I got were called the Marine Voyage Promo at around Php 995.00 a head which allows access to most of the attractions already. At the entrance, we got our ticket tags, a map of the place, and a schedule of the attractions. We arrived at the park mid-afternoon already so we hit a tiny bump fitting into the schedule. I think it’s best if you go at around 12 noon if not the whole day to cover the attractions.

First stop for us was the Sharks and Ray Encounter. It was crowded around the edges of the aquarium where the trainer guiding the Manta Rays were. You’d have to wait a bit until someone decides they already had their share of petting the Ray then it’s your turn. But it’s a pretty polite area overall hehe. I thought it would be smelly but it wasn’t! And the aquarium looked pretty clean to me. I also remember asking the trainer about the animals being bred in captivity, I can’t quite recall his response but I remember it being satisfactory – like no animal cruelty of sorts.

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I got to touch a Manta Ray! Its skin felt of smooth leather. The Manta Ray is a peaceful specie, sans (for me) the flapping of its fins which when it happens I am reminded of Steve Irwin. 😦 The only sharks were nurse sharks… I don’t know what I was expecting haha! We spent around 15-30 minutes in Sharks and Rays Encounter before exiting.

Our next stop was the Oceanarium. This was my favorite! 🙂 So many fishes!!! I’ve never been so amused by them! Except for the shark, of which I’ve had some level of fascination. It also helped that (as I discovered that day) Pao was a geek on the topic. He doesn’t even look at the signs to know what kind of fish is in the aquarium. He was like a walking Childcraft, carrying his own info on Barracudas or Blue Tangs ahaha!

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The following are few of my favorites in my favorite attraction hehe. Sadly, I don’t remember what most were called. 😦

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This tank full of ancient looking fishes. I swear an episode of The Wild Thornberries illustrated that big one right there

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These fishes which look like worms sticking out of the sand. I thought there must have been a mistake but my walking encyclopedia told me they were fishes.

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Sharks in their embryos. Freaking cool!

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This angry-looking fish who’s too cute to be taken seriously.

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This area inside the Oceanarium which I didn’t even get to take proper pictures of but which I thought was breathtaking. You enter the area and you’ll see wide-glassed aquariums, around 3 of them! It was really nice.

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And this part. This picture I got online, credits to the owner. It was so cool to walk through it!

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One of the divers inside took time to say hello! 🙂 I was so annoyed at one park-goer who was screaming at the diver to take a picture with her after we took a picture as if he was an attraction. What a rude weirdo lol!

After the Oceanarium we caught the Sea Lion Show which was very entertaining! The seals were too cute and they really put on a show for us. We stayed after the show to get our picture taken with the seal.

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I used to think it was a waste of money to spend on photo souvenirs but Pao changed me to think differently – he likes memories and values ways to keep them tangible. You should see our growing collection of printed photos from Timezone booths to Taipei 101 shots.

The other areas we visited were the World of Creepy Crawlies where I squirmed and where we got told off (albeit nicely) after flashing the light on the scorpions accidentally (oops), and the Jellies Exhibit which wasn’t as interesting but was nice all the same.

We also went to visit the Penguins thinking we could touch and feed them but you can only look. And we said no to the Fish Spa ahahaha!

We ended our trip to Manila Ocean Park with a lights and sounds show free for all goers. Unfortunately can’t locate my videos, or maybe I took them via IG stories but the show was good! There were some parts that were a bit weird like singing hologram bugs but the My Heart Will Go On part, and I’m a Celine Dion AND Titanic fan, is more than enough!

After MOP, Pao treated me to dinner at Bayleaf Intramuros where we had a buffet feast with the Manila skyline as our backdrop. We ended our very long day with tired legs but full stomachs and even very fuller hearts.

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Until my next sharing! 🙂

– Gemma