The plan was to spend 4 days in Hong Kong with my friends and our parents. We had arranged everything in advance; tickets were bought 6 months early and we had made reservations at an inn in the heart of Kowloon. I was ecstatic! So imagine my disappointment when we entered the airport and the agent told my mother that her passport was already expired.
I was wearing my favorite travel pants, my bag was heavy on my back and it took my mom 8 hours to get to Manila– I was not going to let the weekend go to waste! I had already spent a lot of money on this trip and she kept telling me I should board the plane with my friends. But I was not going to leave without her. After all, I had been looking forward to spending some time with her. So instead of throwing a tantrum, I asked her, “Where do you want to go?” Davao came to mind but a typhoon recently hit the city, and there were no available flights to Laoag. Then, she said, “How about Baguio? I’ve never been to Baguio.” Two minutes later, I kissed my friends goodbye and hailed a cab to Pasay.
The bus conveniently had wiFi, so I was able to search for accommodation. We arrived some 3 hours past midnight. Despite Baguio being a very popular destination for local tourists, I know very little about the city, it was my first time to actually visit the summer capital of the Philippines. After talking to some friends the prior night, I came up with a half-done itinerary. Fortunately, the inn’s owner was kind enough to give us a map highlighting some of the best tourist spots.
You see, my mother can sometimes be a tad too practical for her own good. She doesn’t like luxurious things and often denies herself probable happiness and enjoyment for the sake of Asian frugality. And sometimes, she’s really just a grouch. When I told her that our first stop was the Strawberry Farm, I wasn’t surprised when she said, “I don’t like strawberries.” But what would a Baguio trip be without visiting the Strawberry Farm?
The Strawberry Farm is actually located outside Baguio, in La Trinidad, Benguet. From the inn, we took a cab to the city hall (compared to Metro Manila, Baguio’s cab fare rate is wonderfully low) then transferred to a jeepney. It was still a a few minutes away from the main road, it was a sunny day and the air was cool, so we didn’t mind the stroll.
Since it wasn’t the season for strawberries, we didn’t get to see much red in the landscape, but the rest of the agriculture was very interesting. We also learned that you can actually grow strawberries almost anywhere in the country as long as you know basic agronomy.
We bought a basketful of strawberries. Despite being grown beyond its season, they were sweet and juicy. And my mother, despite initially saying that she did not eat strawberries, ended up finishing the whole basket by herself on our way back to Baguio. She later admitted that it was actually her first time to eat strawberries!
Our next destination was the Butterfly Sanctuary. It is a quaint greenhouse located inside Camp John Hay.
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed. When I came upon a mention of a butterfly farm online, I had a much livelier place in mind, where butterflies fluttered happily from one flower to the next. It was quite different in Baguio’s Butterfly Sanctuary, where these insects are always asleep. Manong, the caretaker, explained that Baguio’s weather puts them in this lethargic state.
To the delight of visitors, Manong could easily pick the insects up and make them sit on visitors’ noses and hands. But because they were very spiritless, they would easily slide down your cheek and fall. I couldn’t help but feel very sorry for them. Maybe they ought to be out in the wild instead?
More about this trip in the next few days.
Today’s lesson: Travel with your parents, but double-check their passport! Haha.