Nov 1 and 2, 2014 were the final dates. These were the days I fulfilled my promised to bring my whole family to Baguio City.
I have been mentioning the idea to my parents since September 2014 several days before Papa Tantong suffered another heart attack. After spending few days in hospital, he was sort of saying his last wills and goodbyes. We, his children, were trying to lighten up his mood and give him will to live on. And one of the things that inspired him is the thought of spending a day or two in Baguio City. This was my father's first time; second time for Mama Dulcing, my sister En, En's husband Jun, and Jun's sister Cel. Our little baby Wanwan and her nanny, Tatang, are also first timers in the summer capital city of the Philippines. I was quite confident this time to tug along the whole family (8 in total) because we have our private car.
Then we climbed the Cordillera Mountains on November 1, the All Saints' Day. We started the drive at 4am from our residence at San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan. We took the NLEX (Noth Luzon Expressway) at Bocaue entrance and then the SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) at Clark entrance and finally the TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan Expressway) and exited at Carmen-Rosales point. We drove through the Maguilas Trail from TPLEX exit point (right turn) to Binalonan, Pangasinan where the trail merged with the MacArthur National Highway. Then we took the Kennon Road from Rosario, La Union on our way up the cool city. This was a drive that will put to test my bro-in-law's agility for a long drive, with Papa as the coach; Papa was used to be our driver but not for this tour. With senior citizens and a baby on board, we crossed the whole stretch of the way at 80 to 90 kph.
I booked our one night's room accommodation at the Baguio Teacher's Camp with the help of my colleagues in the Department of Education. Special mention goes to Sir Dakila Nadua of DepED Central Office. We reached the camp at around 11am and were given one whole 3-BR cottage. While waiting for the cottage to be cleaned and ready for us, we picnicked at the camp grounds to eat our breakfast provision.
Having settled our stuffs at the assigned cottage, we commenced our city tour by visiting the Wright Park, posing at the horse-drawn carriage, followed by a groupie at the Mansion, then we climbed up the Good Shepherds, shopping some ube jams from its souvenir shop. Then we decided to take rest in the afternoon. At night we visited Burnham Park and Camp John Hay and participated in the crowd at the Night Market. That following dawn, we indeed experienced chill of 15 degrees Celsius cool climate. We did our religious tour in the second day, starting the morning with holy mass at the City Cathedral and lighting candles at the Lourdes Grotto. That afternoon before we went down, we dropped by the Philippine Military Army's Camp. Back to Pangasinan, we also dropped by the Manaoag Church.
We made the wrong turn on our way back from Manaoag, Pangasinan. We ditched the Maguilas Trail because it was dark already and followed the MacArthur National Highway only to be trapped from Urdaneta City to Villasis to Carmen for 4 full, painful hours. We arrived home at around 1am. Nevertheless, my family enjoyed the Baguio trip.