February 25-26, 2017

I immediately planned a tour for our group right after our Ilocandia Tour and there’s no perfect timing to have our next tour at Baguio but on the festival  itself.

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Panagbenga /panag-BUH-nga/ a Kankanaey term which means season of blooming. It is a month-long festivity in Baguio happens every February of the year. The highlights of the festival are the Grand Street Dance Parade and the Grand Float Parade which happens at the last weekends of February.

We immediately booked our tour to Baguio for the Panagbenga as early as Decemer of 2016 with Amber Tours for P1,500 each for 2D1N with hotel accommodation at Venus Hotel. But I think, the same tour is now P1,800. We were advised that we cannot have a tour around Baguio City due to heavy traffic as expected from a popular festival. It is better to have a tour package during these events than doing it yourself because there is a very high demand for accommodations and surely, as the festival day approaches, more chances are these accommodations become fully-booked.

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We departed from Marikina at 10pm of February 24, 2017 (Friday) and has arrived at Baguio at 4am. And had our breakfast at Good Taste which is a budget-friendly, good-tasting-food, 6-floor-restaurant-building located at Cariño St., Baguio City.

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I was not able to take good photos of our food because we’re all starving. My friends might bite me instead if I insisted of taking photos before letting them eat. We spent P150 each sharing for our food, and we’re 8. There were more than enough food for us and still able to take our chicken out and saved it for next meal.

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After our breakfast, we headed straight to our hotel to get our parking. We opt not to check-in early because they will charge us for half a day of room use. We just put our stuff inside the van, get our needed stuff, freshen up, do some necessities, and went straight to Harrison Rd. near the Igorot Garden to watch the streetdance parade. We went there via taxi for P50 from Venus hotel. Our driver, he’s the one who gave us a tip where the best spot to watch the parade.

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Harrison Road

The roads were closed for the parade, you’ll be walking around the city to get to your destination. But the main Baguio where majority of the tourist destinations are located is not that big to be overwhelmed by walking around it.

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Baguio was seriously populated by tourists, it’s better to be there early to have a good spot of the parade and be sure to have your mats so you can sit on the road or sidewalk while waiting for the streetdance. Our driver was right, it is where street dancers stop and perform. But we’re a bit farther because we’re on the other side. Though we’re still able to watch some performance near us. I had fun watching the streetdance; however it’s really a struggle taking good photos, taking video, and appreciating the performance all at the same time. Maybe someday, if I become richer, I’ll just hire photographers to do the job for me so I can enjoy the festival and scenery of places I visit.

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The Grand Street Parade lasted for 2 hours, it was a bit tiring but it was fun-filled and entertaining. We headed back to our hotel lobby at around 10:30am (since it’s still too early for us to check-in), we had their complimentary pop corn and iced tea while deciding where to have our lunch.

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After the streetdance parade, you may also watch their performances at the Melvin Jones Grandstand and Football Field which is just beside the Burnham Park if you missed them at the streets. However, it begins almost noon time and you must have already taken your meal because it will be finished in the afternoon due to the number of participants. The grandstand was full of viewers when we passed by.

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Thanks to Al’s dad, who treated us for a free lunch at Max’s SM City Cebu and free ride going back to the hotel. Nakakapagod din maglakad ah, and it wasn’t that cold during noon time too, I had baskil na. Buti sana kung nakaka-machete maging Haggardo Vesoza, titiisin ko na! Hahaha!

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Inside our room

We took a nap right after we checked-in in our room, we were not able to contain our tiredness. It was a pagoda tragedy! Daming lakad, minumura na ko ng paa ko kakalakad. It was already late in the afternoon when we woke up and get ourselves ready to make a tour. We just went to the Burnham Park and do the most famous boating! Yehey! Just kidding, everytime I go to Baguio I don’t know why is it mandatory to that boating in that man-made lake! I don’t hate it, it’s just that I am not fond of it. Hahaha!

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We just had our photo opportunity at the Rose Garden (where we looked for roses, pero wala) to have our nice background of the Provincial Hall. There were food stalls around it if in case you get hungry or you just want to have a snack. We still have our chicken left overs from Good Taste and Max’s, lilipad na kami kaka-manok! We agreed to have our dinner at Alyssa’s relatives who stays inside the Mabini Elementary School compound. We tried going to the night market after, pero jusme hindi namin kinaya ang foot traffic. It was too crowded, it was worse than Divisoria’s foot traffic on Christmas season. We just gave up, and went to Session Road to buy some alcoholic beverages for the night. Isusumpa mo lang talaga yung traffic ’cause you will be forced to walk even if you’re already too tired. We didn’t realize that there was a shortcut going back to our hotel, we endured walking a long way and waiting for a taxi. So be sure to check the map wherever you are because it will surely guide you to the easiest way.

We just had few drinks before we said good night to each other. Mahirap na malasing, we need to wake up early the next day to watch the float parade. Because we know for sure that there will be more people on the streets.

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The next day, we arrived near SM City Baguio just at the right time but the streets were already filled with people. We were forced to stay at the other side, I don’t know why we were that far, they could have set the rope for crowd control nearer to the other street.

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The floats were generally great, but it was sort of boring in between the floats because of the long intervals. The celebrities, marching bands and the winners of the streetdance parade made the float parade livelier. We just entertained ourselves while waiting for the floats during intervals.

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Jollibee, I can see you!

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It was just fun though seeing the Mr. Cordillera winners in bahag costume. Hahaha! I am sorry, I was not able to contain myself.

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Kylie Versoza on the Float

It was also great seeing Ms. International 2016, Kylie Versoza in person. She was so gorgeous, her face is so small! She looks like a living Barbie doll!

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AlDub

Maine Mendoza (Yaya Dub) looks better in person than in tv. Salamat sa likod ng media na laging nakaharang sa view namin. Huhuhu! Alden Richards was just fine, same what you see on tv.

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Jericho Rosales was also present together with his horse float. Eventhough, we’re of the same home town, Marikina City, it was my first time seeing him in person. Gwapo and kayumangging-kaligatan ang peg.

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We are eternally grateful para sa likod nina Enchong Dee and Bea Alonzo.

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Baguio Cathedral Facade

After the float parade, we visited the Baguio Cathedral to say a little prayer and walked backed to our hotel. Before we reached our hotel, we asked Chris (who stayed in the hotel together with his son) to order food for us from McDonald’s because we’re sure that all the restaurants will be full with diners. Just right in time, while we were preparing for our check out, our food came and we were able to have our lunch.

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with Ramon Bautista

We were lucky to see Ramon Bautista along our way back to our hotel. I was shookt when I saw him, I just said “Si Ramon Bautista ba yun?” then one of his company whispered “Hashtag PanagbengawithRamonBautisa.” And there it was confirmed, we were able to ask a photo with him.

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Carved Dead Tree at Mines View Park

We dropped by near the Mine’s View Park and Good Shepherd to buy pasalubong or should I say for my friends to buy their pasalubong. I have already learned not to buy pasalubong everytime I travel so I wouldn’t spend that much.

I only buy Starbucks tumbler for ate’s souvenir whenever it’s available. Sometimes I just buy ref magnets and nothing more.

After buying pasalubong, we went straight to the Sunflower Maze in Pangasinan.

Expenses:

ITEM AMOUNT
2D1N Travel and Tour    1,500.00
Breakfast at Good Taste       150.00
Taxi share       100.00
Lunch at SM Baguio       150.00
Dinner       150.00
Beer          85.00
Breakfast from 7-eleven          50.00
Brunch from McDo       180.00
TOTAL    2,365.00
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