Baguio Been (Panagbenga Festival, 2.25.08)

It's been a long time since I've been to Baguio. I was actually lucky to go back there in time with the Panagbenga (Flower) Festival. For some reason the name title stuck in my head together with the Pasadena Festival abroad.



Though far from being one, I still loved the idea that this festivity is such a hit to us city dwellers not to mention that it doesn't involve any religious feast of a saint like most of our fiesta's are. I think I just loved the fact that in this year, it went in accordance with the EDSA holiday on Monday, so what the heck. My mom's been waiting for ages for us to do it anyway.


It was such a relief that we don't need to commute up north but it also has it's drawbacks which was heightened by the fact that i have my period then. And it was my second day! Talking about overkill huh?



We started travelling at around 5pm. Traffic jam were mostly in the area of Cavite and the rest of the trip went on as smoothly as it should, though the expected time was greatly lengthened. Our first pit stop was (err...memory gap) was that first cluster of food chains before NLEX. We ate our dinner at Teriyaki Boy's and boy, it wasn't one of my best food experiences. Not only did the serving time increased my age and facial lines for waiting, the food haven't hit my expectations. I'd much rather prefer the cheap Jap resto near our campus back in college. I mean, get real guys. I know when my penny spent is worth and this clearly wasn't it.



I was up and still awake when we crossed Pampanga, to that long bridge (my dad claims it's the longest but I'm not really sure with that, and come to think of it, I can't even recall which came first!) and the two town fiesta's we came across.



I slept without noticing that I just did, and woke up that there is some sort of a commotion, everyone was up and alert. We are finally on Marcos' Road! Winding and curly, the buses right in front of us looked like dancing as they move through the roads while we enjoy the view and hold on to anything to keep from moving to and fro. We are nearly there and the city is greeting us beautifully, twinkling in the night.



And since we haven't visited Baguio for such a long time we almost went down to Kennon Road (back to Manila that is) realizing our mistake a mile later. Good thing we drove back right in time.

With no plans of staying in any hotel (as if in that moment we can still book one) we chose to park and spend the rest of the night in Burnham Park. And yeap. A lot of the tourists stayed here too.

Back aches, blood dripping from me and the lenses that was stuck at the back of my eye, the sleep wasn't really something I would love to do next year. It's either a larger space to sleep or really, a place to stay.



By 6 am, we transferred to the gas station near Burnham, charging us 20php for 1st hour of parking (10php for succeeding hours) and 5php for every wash room use. We then ate breakfast on the yellow mobile as my friend calls it and the best thing was we got shrimps.<br>

After breakfast my parents thought it was a good idea to go to the wet market already but we were halted at Session road to secure a front view. We were right on the other side of Mcdonalds infront of that old looking bank resembling Gringotts (haha!).



Taho came and I tried the strawberry flavored one, which is in fact, instead of sago & that dark sweet something I forgot how's it called, they'd use strawberry jam which...uhm... Well, let's just say I prefer the classic taho over it. I finished it in one (or make that three gulps, it was kinda hot) and as I was about to dispose it when I realized, Oh my gosh, Session Road didn't have a single trash can!!! How...unusual if you ask me. I mean, I don't and when I say I don't, it just means I can't just throw it anywhere and I was forced to survey where I was suppose to throw it properly but there is just not a single trash can in this place! How am I suppose to be a civilized citizen with this?



With sticky fingers holding the cups of consumed taho, I tried to look for anything that would look like a trash can and wow. If it weren't for the C2 promo stand that allowed me to dispose my cups (mom gave me theirs, i didn't consume cups of taho guys ; take note too, the word 'allowed' because that other promo stand that came before them were complete idiots, i asked them properly if it's ok, that promo guy just ALLOWED me to and right after I dropped the cups that he said, 'oh mam, we can't allow you that'. Stupid specie. Changing his mind at the last minute.)


Anyways, back at the intersection. What a gloomy sunday morning, it was raining and it went more like we have just taken a shower. We were there by 7am and was told that parade starts at 9. What the. But i'm securing my place anyway. Rather stand the whole day than losing this view.



Completely boring, those people up in Mcdo are kind of annoying me. They are up there, dry and fat with everything Mcdo and here we are, wet, famished(!) and tired of standing (overkill i tell you!). The only entertainment we ever had before the parade were fooling anyone who would want to pass with lame excuses such as 'the pedestrian lane's over there miss', or 'aww...sorry mam, we can't, it's kinda blocked'. There is also that umbrella issue, that instead of keeping us dry, we ended up soaked in the rain so we just put them down instead. And what do you know?! Before the parade started it sort of subsided, though the dark clouds lingered longer.



If it wasn't the thought that we were in Baguio, well, the floats are quite... I don't know how I'd say this as lightly as I can, mediocre. I'm an annual visitor of Aliwan Festival in Manila so I know a good float when I see one. And clearly there aren't enough flowers.



After an hour or two of standing drenched in rain water, they've finally decided it's time to end my torture and start the parade, well the crowd just grew wild. It's as if everyone in Baguio was right there at that moment. You won't believe how we even manage to go to the local wet market after. I bought strawberries and a cute bag. I wasn't really up to purchasing more stuff since I am quite weary already.



But since we are already here, we still visited those two parks - Botanical Gardens (I so wish I lived here so I can jog here everyday) and the more commercialized Minesview Park. This was disappointing really, seeing how things have changed around here. We ate corn and basked in the sun (to dry my clothes some more)that was delayed and missed the parade.



And since we are on a tight schedule, after everything else my dad drove us on that same day, beating himself to death (he was actually saying he had moments where he caught himself sleeping behind the wheel, good thing we are all still intact) and reached our house by the next day morning (around 3am I guess).



Now if you ask me whether I enjoyed it, I'd give you a yes, but if it was worth it with all the hussle and back-aches it caused me? Well, as I've said, it's the thought that IT is Baguio. It is one of those places I believed I was destined to live the rest of my life in (next to Vigan and Cebu) so I'd probably still say yes to that.