Tam-awan Heritage Village

The Tam-awan Heritage Village is a living museum found at the Pinsao area of Baguio City. I don’t know the way by public transport but most taxi drivers know where it can be found.

From the website of the village:

Tam-awan Village as an ideal venue for art and cultural activities aimed to enhance the appreciation of Cordillera life, its culture and its history. This is by raising awareness and appreciation of Cordillera culture, preserving Cordillera heritage and promoting cultural and economic empowerment in the Cordilleras.

It was a very good intention because most of the people forget about our siblings from the mountains of Cordilleras. The closest we can get to them is through Baguio or the, rising to fame, Sagada.

Tam-awan features a cafe, an artist center, an art museum, different art installations, and a lot of replica of the Cordillera houses and infrastructure. And, as they have informed us, Tam-awan is the mixture of Ifugao aesthetics and Cordillera craftsmanship adapting to the Baguio landscape. This is as real as it gets.

Welcome to the Garden in the Sky.

The Alang is a rice granary. The Ifugaos also put an anito named bul-ul who is the Rice God to protect the stored rice and to hope for a bountiful harvest.

There are a lot of steep climbs so this is not recommended for the older ones. The younger ones need supervision for they may fall. The place has a lot of cliffs and very mountainous in terrain.

We find ourselves at the first viewing deck. You can see the rest of Baguio from here. There’s another viewing deck for the sunset however, that’s a longer trek and we didn’t want the kids to be tired before they should be.

This is probably one of the reasons why it’s called a Garden in the Sky. There are a lot greens and flowers around. And they say, this isn’t yet the greenest it could be.

This is a luccong. It is the house of upper class people in Ifugao communities. Sad that I didn’t have a photo of the Dukligan. The Dukligan is a place for newly wed couples who couldn’t bear a child. They stay in the house for month and if they aren’t successful, they are allowed to have sexual intercourse with another man and woman. This is to check whom of the couple is impotent.

These houses are not for display only. The village allows people to sleep in them for a fee. It’s like a hotel with just limited amenities.

The village also has an art museum that depicts the life in the Cordilleras. They also have art workshops.

I didn’t have a photo of the cafe but it does offer meals for both locals and foreigners.

The village also has a souvenir shop that offers shirts, mini anitos (local dieties), magnets, keychains and the usual gift shop items.

Sun.

Lizard.

There were a lot of items related to Cordillera culture but it would have been better if there were explanations as to what they are or why they are used.

Additional items found are art installations done by artists who conduct workshops in the village grounds.

It was a very good learning experience! I would like to try living in one of the huts next time.

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Holidays in Baguio: Boxing Day

We don’t really have Boxing Day here but to keep up with the theme, I had to put some type of a holiday for our fourth day. Also, we didn’t do much but prepare for our trip home. It was already 9 AM and our bus is scheduled at 11:40 AM.

Why are we on a rush you ask? It’s because (1) taxis are hard to come by in our area and (2) traffic is a bit harsh lately because of the number of people who wanted to spend the holiday in Baguio.

It was better early than sorry.

Goodbye Baguio.

It was an adventure made in heaven. It was definitely the best way to spend Christmas. I am so thankful for the holidays and experiences. It was definitely a great way to reconnect with the family.

Until the next adventure!

Holidays in Baguio: Christmas Day

I woke up on Christmas Day on a very full stomach. But, we have to attend Christmas Day mass. So, without taking a bath, I changed my clothes for mass. Hey, that’s totally acceptable when I haven’t even sweat for days!

Coincidentally, the church we have been going to is named Divine Mercy Church. And, as all of you know that’s part of who I am. I was offered under that divinity. It was a different experience for me because I had a stronger connection with the church.

https://flic.kr/p/qk3ms2

As we have discovered the night before, the apartment is just walking distance from the church. Add to that, a beautiful view of the mountains of Benguet. So, we decided to just walk home because the weather permits and pick sunflowers from the roadside. We assumed that it’s not illegal to get them because they’re wild sunflowers. I picked some to be given to my mother.

Beautiful.

When we arrived home, lunch was about to be served. Some of the leftovers from the celebration last night were used. And, yes, that’s how we do it in the Philippines. While they think about what we’re doing for the afternoon, I decided to take a nap. But, not long before I got into any deep kind of sleep, they managed to settle on biking for the kids while the others attend mass. After that, dinner and then to the night market.

So, I was in charge of taking care of the kids while they bike. It was kind of a gloomy afternoon then.

Gloomy Christmas Day.

The park was a bit more crowded than two days before. Families were outside celebrating the day with their loved ones. But that didn’t stop the kids from having fun. I just sat back and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

The harder part of the day was to find a dinner place. Knowing that a lot of people are out today, we immediately found ourselves in Session Road to look for a place that can accommodate 13 people in as soon as possible. We did find Steaks & Toppings in the middle of it all. Good thing that a big group of people was finished when we arrived. Hurrah for perfect timings!

Dinner commotion.

After dinner, the children and my parents went home and we walked around to look for some tea. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any. So, we made our way to one end of the night market. We talked about meeting up at the Igorot Garden once we’re done. I had a bet that I’ll be the first one there. Yes, three sisters and I know how long it will take for them to go to the end of the night market. I was just looking for three simple things: (1) a good jacket, (2) playing shoes, and (3) shoes for casual wear. Those were relatively easy to find but sizes do not fit. I found the perfect Mizuno shoes but they’re two sizes small. And, they were cheap too! Sad. So, when I arrived at the end, I attacked the food stalls vehemently.

The light at the end of the tunnel.

And, after 30 minutes, I discover that I am the only one without a bag. Well, that’s life. Maybe, I was not meant for night markets. We go home after another round of street food. It was as if we didn’t eat dinner.

 

Holidays in Baguio: Day of Christmas Eve

Today, we went a little bit outside of Baguio to get a taste of the culture of the Cordillera. We went to Tam-awan Heritage Village in the Pinsao area.

Welcome to the Garden in the Sky.

It was quite a trek and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about stuff. I will be tackling more of the place on a separate post. After touring the place, we found ourselves looking for food. After riding a jeepner to Baguio’s city center, we were walking along the Burnham Park area when we found food stalls that sell roasted chicken.

It was one of the best smells ever and it invited us in.

After lunch, we went straight to the Baguio Public Market to buy stuff we need for our Noche Buena. It was a long stretch in the market. From vegetables, to fruits, to protein, to souvenirs, and rice and flour. It was one whole hallway for the market. Then, off to the apartment we go.

The rest of the day was spent on preparing food to be cooked for Noche Buena and just lounging around and enjoying the Baguio weather. The mass at the nearby church was at 8:00 PM and we also prepared for it.

Listening to the mass was a bit of a challenge because (1) there weren’t enough seats, and (2) it was really cold. Not only was it cold it was also windy. So, the temperature was lower than it should be. Although, we did manage to survive. The real challenge was the way home. Taxis weren’t abundant in the area and we had to deal with the darkness. When we felt that we should give up, we just walked our way towards the house. Remember the coldness and the wind? Yes, they were still there.

Selfie of 15 degrees.

Despite the freezing temperatures, I was able to take a selfie!

When we arrived home, we finished the preparations and celebrated our Christmas in this new place! This was probably the best Christmas celebrations ever. I hope we can do this again next year!

Also, Merry Christmas to everybody!

 

Holidays in Baguio: Ma’s Birthday

We left for Baguio at 7 PM on December 22. I was happy that Victory Liner (always the first choice for Manila – Baguio trips) was on time. They have buses going to Baguio every 30 minutes and they were on schedule.

Happy birthday Ma! Welcome to Baguio!

We arrived in Baguio past 1 AM of December 23 which was the early hours of Ma’s birthday! Happy birthday Ma! This was taken at the Victory Liner terminal in Baguio. As we alighted the bus, we were greeted by very strong winds of less than 17 degrees Celsius! Fun right? We immediately booked our tickets for Manila for the 26th and then we looked for a taxi to go to our guesthouse.

But, before that, we first drank strawberry taho! It was very fitting for the cold weather. The warmth and sweetness of the drink kept us awake. We did have trouble locating our guesthouse at first but it wasn’t before long that we found it. We waited for a bit of a time before the second group arrived. They were driving by car and it was noisy as the kids entered the house. Since it was very early, 3 AM, we had a bit of a time to sleep before going out for the day’s activities.

The first agenda of the day was Camp John Hay. It was fun walking through the trees and slopes with the kids. And since it was almost lunch time, we first decided to take brunch at the nearby Shakey’s. And once the kids are fed, we are able to continue on with the tour.

The children enjoying Camp John Hay.

We went through the Historical Core of Camp John Hay. However, the amphitheater was not available due to a wedding and so was the Bell House, because of a Christmas party. Still they were available for photo opportunities on the outside.

The parents at the Bell House.

Me and my siblings.

I was also able to explore the Secret Garden which I was not able to see the last time I was here. It was cool even if it was in the middle of the day. The trees helped. The weather helped. Then we were off to Burnham Park for some old school bike riding! I remember that we did this when we were kids, not in Baguio though. And it was fun to do it again with them.

Biking!

While we willed away the time, I was surprised that I wasn’t sweating. That’s Baguio weather for you. However, we had to find the time to do the grocery for our Noche Buena and look for a place where we can spend Ma’s birthday dinner. We initially thought of Oh My Gulay along Session Road. It was perfect. Although, it didn’t have any visible protein in meats so we were worried what the kids might it. And, finally decided that it wasn’t the best time to have them eat at the said restaurant.

We decided on Ocha, though. It has a lot of vegetables in its menu and it’s a fusion of many Asian flavors. So, it was definitely a good choice. We then went to the Baguio Cathedral or the Shrine of Our Lady of Atonement for Ma’s birthday mass.

Attending mass for Ma's birthday.

And then off to dinner. It was super! The food was great and the service was fast too! I had a lot good memories with the food in the place. We did have food from different parts of Asia like Thailand (tom yum, bagoong rice), Indonesia (laksa), Korea (japchae), and China (sweet and sour pork). I don’t remember the other items that we ate.

Birthday dinner!

Since it was still early, we decided to drop by the night market. And by that, we were still early for the night market. We decided to drop by the public market to probably buy the souvenirs we will bring home. And we did shop. Well, my sister did. Her items needed to be put in a box so she could carry them. When we came back to the night market, the place was full of people. With the lack of sleep and exhaustion from walking the whole day, we decided to call it a night.

Baguio night market.

And that’s Day 1 for us.

 

Go Hard Baguio: Ghost Hunting Day 2.5

Today is our last day and I wanted to try something so bad – eat at Cafe by the Ruins. I have been hearing that it’s good and the ambiance is different. The ruins are just part of the restaurant.

I can't see the ruins.

It was a point of just going there for the experience. The food was great and we were happy that there aren’t a lot of people even if it was a Sunday morning. I can’t believe that we’re almost at the end of our journey.

Due to the good finds at the last night market, we wanted to scour the tiangge for whatever more we could find. We weren’t actually looking for anything in particular. Just, maybe, something that will catch my attention. It was also time for us to go to the market to buy our take-away like alfajor which is probably one of the reasons why I’m so keen of going to Baguio.

It was also time to go home. And I’m happy I came here with my friends. It was long ago since I went here and a lot did change. I had a happy time and I hope that I can experience another travel date with my friends.

Our bus was scheduled to leave for Manila at 2:20 PM. It was on time and I can’t believe I’m leaving another part of me behind.

Go Hard Baguio: Ghost Hunting Day 2

It’s the morning of another day. I had a peaceful sleep because of the wonderful weather. And this view greets me as I open my eyes.

What a view.

And, yes, I was on the extra bed. There was five of us in a family room of 2 queen sized beds. I didn’t mind being on the extra bed because I will not be on the direct path of the wind from the outside. Most of us got up late because of the exhaustion of yesterday. We managed to be prepared by 9 AM to go look for breakfast.

Breakfast buffet!

We went to Citylight Hotel for their breakfast buffet. The hotel is just a few walks away from the Baguio Cathedral on Upper General Luna Road. I must admit that I am happy with this breakfast buffet. They have a wide selection of food from viands, to pancakes, to siomai and siopao, and even bread. I will say that the price is worth the goodies. I definitely had a blast enjoying the buffet. After we are all done, we went back to the hotel for the others to take a bath.

We decided our fate for the day and wanted to go to the strawberry fields!

I see fields of green!

We go outside of Baguio City to the town of La Trinidad to go to the strawberry fields. It was sad, though, that there are no strawberries to pick because it’s not yet their season. The experience would have been better. We didn’t go home empty-handed though because we bough vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and Sagada oranges.

The midday will be spent on souvenirs and pasalubong so we went to Good Shepherd for their delicacies. Good Shepherd is on Gibraltar Road. My office mates wanted me to buy Alfajor and Choco Flakes. However, the shop ran out of Alfajor so I had to buy them at the market. We were just able to buy Ube Jam and Lengua de Gato. Both of which are also tasty.

And just across Good Shepherd is Mines View Park. Mines View Park is a view of the Amburayan Valley and it never fails to take my breath away.

Always a beautiful scene.

We had to put down all the stuff we bought at the hotel before we continue with our adventure. And by good, or not, chance, it rained. They were a bit apprehensive about continuing to the haunted buildings while it was raining hard. I said that it would add a creepier twist to what we will be doing. Also, we don’t want to go there during night because, honestly, I won’t.

Creepy!

I was so excited to see it when we arrived at the gate. It is raining and the place is abandoned. What more can you ask for?

This is the Diplomat Hotel. It’s a long way from Downtown Baguio. It was once a vacation house for the Dominican Order of the priests. It was later turned into a refugee camp for those escaping the Japanese during the World War II. The Japanese bombed the place at a later date. It was then turned into a hotel after it was reconstructed. Now, you’d understand why the place is haunted.

However, it is now turned into a tourist spot with the hotel remodeled to be a function hall. I don’t really know why they did that. I just hope that they’d leave it to its original state but still have security for it. And of course, we turned it into a good photo shoot opportunity.

Photo shoot.

We toured the place and I was sad that we weren’t able to get to the top of the building. It would have been an awesome view.

After we were done with the place, we went directly to another one of the haunted places in Baguio City.

No other house creeps the hell out of me.

The outside gives me the creeps. That will not make me want to enter the house. But, as we were in Baguio for this, I joined in. The Laperal White House is found on Leonard Wood Road. You can easily see it adjacent to Teacher’s Camp. It is isolated in the sense that there are no establishments to its left or right.

The Laperal family is one of the largest clans in the Baguio area. And like how most ghost stories started, the Japanese made this a garrison during World War II. There were a lot of torture and torment that some of the souls weren’t able to cross to the other side.

The first floor is now turned into a Bamboo Carving Art gallery. The other floors are free for the tourists to explore. We were there when it was almost sunset. So, you can just imagine how terrified I am by that time. I wasn’t staying away from the group because I was so afraid.

A photo at the attic.

I wasn’t so keen on taking pictures because there might be surprising effects when I see them. And all of the feelings inside the house made me all hungry.

My sister was raving about this place called the 50’s Diner and it’s a good thing that it’s just near the area.

Old school!

50’s Diner is a place on General Luna Road. It’s not far from the Laperal House so it was accessible to us. We had to wait, though, for a free table. We were sixth in line and that just added to my hunger. I was supposed to order yet another burger but further inspection of the menu brought me to pasta and garlic shrimp. Yes. Probably, a good choice. Plus, a strawberry milkshake. Because when in Baguio, you never run out of stuff you can add strawberry to.

After dinner, we headed out to look for a spa that can accommodate all of us. But, lo and behold, we were defeated. No spa is open at the hour and since it’s a holiday, there weren’t really open in the first place. So, we came back to our place and I was so tired that I didn’t have time for before-bed bantering with my friends. I just laid there until I fell asleep.