Long, lazy weekends in Baguio

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orosaBaguio has always held the most vivid memories of childhood weekends and summers spent with cousins and friends. Back then, my cousins and I were more than thrilled and content with boat rides in Burnham Park, horseback rides in Wright Park, the 200-step climb up the Grotto, and strawberry picking in Trinidad Valley. Thus, driving to the summer capital for long weekends is a chance we grab every time.

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It’s remarkable that my own teenaged children get all excited for these weekends. Unlike us though, my young, bold teenagers crave for more exciting exploits to do, including the zipline and paintball attractions in John Hay.

For the grown-ups though, adventure-filled weekends in Baguio have turned into long, lazy ones, where we find ourselves spending most afternoons tucked in bed and snuggled with a favorite book. Perhaps, as you get older and lead hectic lives, you crave for tranquil respites instead. And not being “sun and surf” fanatics, driving north to a much cooler climate is as good as it gets.

For many visitors, shopping in the city’s timeless public market is always a must-do. Baguio’s public market although bigger now, is the same as it has been for decades—busy, varied and colorful. Mines View Park, where the view is now completely obscured behind building facades, is still a good place to look for curios and anything stamped with “Baguio” on it.

Another must-do is to head over to Good Shepherd for its peanut brittle and ube jam. This former convent, which doesn’t look like one anymore, is now a very busy store with at least a hundred people buying jams, cookies, and all sorts of sweets off the shelves.

On a side trip, one might want to visit the Bencab museum or head off to PMA for some sightseeing.

The one thing though that Baguio now offers best is a myriad of dining choices. If one prefers the typical well-known chains, of course SM and Session Road have the usual places to dine in. But if you’re looking for something different, the city does have some very interesting choices.

First on our list is Hill Station in historic Casa Vallejo Hotel—a name taken from the pre-war concept of hill stations carved from mountainsides to serve as vacation cottages for Spanish and American soldiers. Known as a classic landmark in Baguio, just off Session Road, Casa Vallejo has been revitalized and renovated recently. With a fine dining menu that offers both Spanish and Mediterranean-inspired dishes like callos, salads, stews and steaks, families and couples will find this cozy restaurant a real treat and a tick-off item in their must-do list.

The other delightful surprise is a casual dining café called Everything Nice in John Hay. With wide glass windows overlooking pine trees, one can enjoy a quiet lunch of home-style sandwiches and pastas. Follow this up then with a cup of Affogatto at FIC Café just a few steps across. Then of course, you have the old and trusted Rose Bowl Restaurant for old-style Chinese dishes always served family-style. Our long-time favorites are their classic Sweet and Sour Pork and White Chicken. Yet, for those who have long-been used to cozy steak dinners, there are still Mario’s, Café by the Ruins, and Forest House. These restaurants which have been long-time favorites have distinct interiors that are uniquely their own.

Nonetheless, Baguio still has its traditional favorites—Raisin Bread at the Country Club, the Strawberry Shortcake at The Manor, and delectable Caesar Salad anywhere you go. I suppose it’s the fresh produce that makes a difference in all these traditional favorites. And so, if you’re planning to spend a long, lazy weekend in Baguio soon, savor every minute of a well-deserved breather and have a taste of the delectable offerings the city has to offer.

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  1. Prostitution Marriage

    In 2000 I met what I truly believed to be my soul mate. A woman from the Philippines, a devote Christian, with a firm belief in family values. She was my ideal. Although there is so much to tell I will keep it brief and to the main points. In 2002 we married there, in Davao City. After several visits and getting to know each other well. In 2004 she came to this country, we settled in to our new home there was love and laughter cuddles and conversation, and in 2005 we had a son John Michael, he was my greatest wish come true, and the biggest thrill in my life, I could not envisage a single day without him, and every day I could not wait to get home to be with him. From the first month we started sending money to the Philippines to support her family and invest in a future for ourselves, (A Palm Tree Plantation) this was the agreed deal that we will eventually go back there as a family to live. And that is a very good future for us. But all this went sour not long after she gained her UK citizenship, in 2009, she became demanding, threatening and even aggressive, and by using our son to manipulate me into sending increasing amounts of money to the Philippines, the arguments escalated to a point where I could no longer cope with the distress, it effected my job my life and my purpose. In 2008 she took a bank loan for £7,500, which made our own finances suffer, this went to the Philippines, (she says for our future). In February of 2011 she left the marital home and moved in with a black guy. Since then I have not seen my son due to her false allegations of unreasonable behaviour. I have recently gone through a PSYCHOLOGICAL THERAPY COURSE FOR MENTAL CRUELTY. I no longer see my son, and this hurts too much every day is the same I wake up crying I go to sleep crying. I know she never intended to stay married. Now all I do is grieve. I am 56 years old now. And although when we first met my age did not matter. But now she refers to me as THE GULLIBLE OLD GIT. The real purpose of this is for her to keep my investment in the land in the Philippines. And of course the benefit of her family. And by using false allegations of domestic violence. The main victim in all of this is a young boy who has been separated from his father, and all for the sake of a visa, and financial gain.
    I have been victimised by this woman and the courts, since February of 2011. I have suffered imprisonment for my emails begging her to tell the truth, but she will not speak up, for fear of reprisals by the court system. How many more years must I wait for a remedy? How many petitions must I continue to sign? How many more internet sites must I join to make my voice heard? How many letters must I write to my MP? How many voices does it take for the British Government to take up this cause?
    The courts took her words (on paper) as gospel, they erred on the side of caution, imposed a non-molestation order , and refused to accept my argument about fake marriage and my protests at her lies, and non-evidenced allegations.
    Fraud is a crime……………. Marriage is not an immigration deal………………A child should never be used as a weapon.
    John Brookes. Walsall, West Midlands. UK
    Patino Family House
    43b Kamagong, Catleya Street, Diversion Road, Buhangin, Davao City. 8000. Philippines