In 2010 what has been planned for years has finally come to fruition. It was my first time to do a roadtrip to the Cordilleras after six years and it is definitely an unforgettable experience. I will not hesitate to revisit the region once the opportunity comes. For the meantime, I would like to share our marvelous and astonishing experience in the Cordilleras.
We started out after lunch. After lunch at Skyrise Hotel and Restaurant, it was the perfect time to climb up the Lourdes Grotto to shed some calories. Since it was just less than a block away from our hotel, we were at the foot of the hill in an instant. We were all so ready to climb more than 200 steps to the top when rain just suddenly poured out of nowhere! So after running like a turtle for at least an hour, we finally arrived in SM City Baguio!
Opening to the public on November 2003, SM City Baguio is now easily one of the top tourist destinations in Baguio City! Taking advantage of the cool mountain resort climate of the City of Pines, SM City Baguio is mostly non-airconditioned! Only the cinemas and some of the individual tenants have their own aircon units. This was achieved through the use of a tensile roof and a terraces-like structure that allows the cool mountain air to come in. Cool!
After roaming around and buying the much-needed essentials at SM City Baguio, it was still raining so hard! We finally got out of the hotel at around 7:45am. It was still drizzling but climbing the Lourdes Grotto was a now or never thing, so we started our morning exercise. The Lourdes Grotto is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Baguio City, especially for Catholics. It is located on a high hill and it takes 252 steps to get there. Surrounding the foot of the hill are stores selling candles and flowers, which you can offer when you reach the top. For the faint of heart, there is a shortcut! An asphalt-paved but very winding, narrow and steep road would lead you halfway up the 252 steps.
After a brief visit of the Lourdes Grotto, we immediately proceeded to the next item on our itinerary for the day, which was to visit the Philippine Military Academy. From there wer saw the Mansion. The Mansion was built in 1908 for governor-generals of the United States. It was destroyed in 1945 during the Battle for the Liberation of the Philippines. The government of the Republic of the Philippines later rebuilt and improved the structure in 1947. Since then, it has become the official summer residence of the President of the Philippines.
We went on and drove to our next destination, Mines View Park. After parking our vehicle at the designated parking area, we went down a winding stone-covered stairway, surrounded by handicraft and souvenir shops left and right. Here, I got my first taste of Strawberry Taho, with real strawberries ha!
After our day tour of the major tourist attractions in Baguio City, we went on to the Good Shepherd Convent (GSC) which is just within the Mines View Area. If that doesn’t ring a bell, they’re actually the name behind the best, arguably, peanut brittle from Baguio!
From SM City Baguio, we went down Luneta Hill to jump in the most-visited attraction in Baguio City, Burnham Park! Located at the heart of Baguio City, Burnham Park is truly the heart of Baguio. It is the only remaining open space in downtown Baguio City. It’s a breathing pocket in the middle of the overpopulated city.Considered as the Mother of all Baguio parks, all of the key developments were built around the park, among others, Baguio City Hall, Baguio City Market, Baguio Cathedral and Session Road.