Zugschwang - "a compulsion to move"

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The best thing about Baguio city...

Baguio City (a.k.a. city of pines , summer capital of the Philippines, 6hr drive from manila), the mere mention of its name seems to have a calming effect on me.

Some people prefer leaving manila during night time and sleeps off the 6 hour travel and wake up in the town proper of Baguio. I understand the practicality of this approach. You wake up, settle in and enjoy half of the day ahead. This is best when your doing a short 3 days 2 night trip.

I however, enjoy leaving manila early in the morning (5-6am). It does several things for me being 1. prolongs anticipation 2. builds excitement 3. I get to enjoy my afternoon nap ( I'm not driving obviously ) 4. Holding the hand of my Queen ( universally the most powerful and influencial piece in a man's chessboard ) before dozing off and awaking holding her hand still.

The journey officially begins when you hit the North highway, now known as North luzon express way (NLEX). Before, you can sneak in a couple of 5-10 minutes nap and still find yourself in the North expressway. Now you can just zoom your way thru the lopez-maintained NLEX. Depending on how much you enjoy the 'Fast and the Furious' movie the NLEX phase can possibly be over in under an hour. If you, like me, who somehow hesitates exceeding 120 mph you can finish it in a little over an hour's time.

After the NLEX phase comes the city-to-city town-to-town hopping part. I like the 'I'm-not-in-manila-anymore' feeling that I get when I see the endless stretch of trees along the highway. The 'probinsiya' type houses havin a white dog with a brown patch on his left eye chasing chickens around. Cows and Horses taking their time munching on the greens while they watch all sorts of vehichles zoom by (I think I should try that).

I unconsciously check on the provinces 'general progress' as compared to Manila. I've a simple way of doing so... I count the number and variety of Fastfood chains available ( "LOOK ANOTHER JOLLIBEE !" ). After 4-5 hours of province-progress and fastfood-counting phase we finally arrive at Baguio.

I like the cooler climate and laid back lifestyle vibe that I get when I step off the vehichle. I enjoy early morning walks with my non-pregnant-queen as we build up our breakfast appetite trekking the uneven residential streets. I've been to Baguio city several times. Popular places likes Mines View, Camp John Hay seemed to have lost its charm on me.

But the one true thing that I like about baguio is its not-available-in-manila benguet coffee beans. Ninety percent of the hotels in baguio offers benguet coffee. The 50% Barako beans+ 50% Benguet beans mix equals 100 % pure ecstasy ! It's simply unbeatable its a heavenly combination talaga. Taste bud NIRVANA ! ANG SARAP... Putris ! It really goes well with baguio's cool climate too.

I love the strong cofffee aroma that it gives off. It makes breakfast infinitely better ! Some people might find the 50/50 blend too strong for their taste. I say this to these people "Arte nyo bwiset !".

I haven't really experimented with ratio's like 1/4 barako and 3/4 benguet or 100 % benguet. But so far the 50/50 mix does it for me. I've had coffee's from UCC, Starbucks and Seattle's best even if you perfected the coffee-to-hazelnut (or nutmeg) ratio its still is mediocre coffee to me. Batangas coffee doesn't do if for me... parang me kulang eh (benguet?).

It costed around P120/kilo before. I used to buy 6 kilos of 'baguio coffee (50/50 mix) for pasalubong and 1 kilo bag usually last us a month (7 people/day consumption). One trick my father in law taught me was not to have the beans crushed when you buy them. This should more or less preserve the aroma of the coffee. Just have them grinded in manila. Since barako is abundantly available in manila you can buy pure benguet beans and have it mixed in the market with barako. ( What a great idea !!) Another thing is napping on the way home won't be a problem because of the absence of the strong coffee aroma.

So the next time any of you ( yes the 3 of you who read my blogs !) visits baguio remember to buy Ube Jam. Yum !



  • At 5:57 PM, Blogger Sassafras said…

    haaay namiss ko tuloy ang Baguio. pero halata nga na kapeng benguet ang pinaka nagustuhan mo dun, kasi kalahati ng blog mo ay tungkol sa kape :D

  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger Ka Uro said…

    i miss baguio too. i do have very fond memories of the city. if i get the chance to come home i'll definitely visit baguio. one think i noticed though, the last time i was there which was about 15 years ago, the pine trees were not as lush and abundant as when i first been there when i was still a kid. when i was little the first thing that impressed me was the scent of the pine trees. i missed those pine trees, and the market too. i haven't tasted the coffee, but i'll keep that in mind when i go there.

  • At 2:03 PM, Blogger Senorito<- Ako said…

    Sa baguio nag honeymoon si mama at si papa. :)

    Me mga ilang bagay ang mga asians na wala sa mga mauunlad na bayan ng mga puti. Downside ng pagiging sobrang progresibo siguro.

    Nature trippings, small charming towns and Beaches ! Kaya mabenta ang thailand eh... they know this and use this to their advantage. They know how to market their culture. Dito sa atin kasi nagkalat ang mga 'mandirigma' eh.

  • At 2:42 PM, Blogger Sassafras said…

    ka uro...am sad to report na mas kumonti pa ang pine trees sa baguio. baka nga endangered na ito dun. tadtad ng mga bahay, construction, low buildings, establishments ang baguio ngayon. you'd have to go to the more out of the way places to get the scent of pine. sa session road lalo, ang scent ay scent of tambutso ng jeep. it is still one my my favorite places, may sariling misteryo kasi ang baguio eh. i only wish the local govt will do more to preserve the baguio of old.

  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger Suzette said…

    i miss baguio also! Me and my husband spent our vacation in Bagiuo City last August and I really did enjoy our stay there.... Haaayy, sana makabalik ulit kami sa napakagandang lugar na ito.

  • At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hindi ko na miss and Baguio dahil binagyo sa dami ng mga tao. Sana di na lang nakilala ang Baguio para napanatili namin ang kalagayan nito. Ay apo tan inmali et nan adu-ado ay ipugaw. Nu mabalin kuma uemy kayo abe ed bangir.

  • At 3:20 AM, Anonymous Kayla said…

    There in Baguio city, there's a large market with many tropical and mountain fruits, blueberries, and very unique delicious strawberries.
    There is also a really nice church there, it's called Cathedral St. Mary above the city on a hill with a beautiful view across all the city.
    The temperature is perfect there in Baguio, not too cold, not too hot. And while you're going up to Baguio, you can see a beautiful view on Baguio! A long time ago there was so many pine trees there but nowadays there are less. That's why I miss Bagui city


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