Soul Searching in Baguio

Part of my bucket list is to travel alone and i only got a chance to do this December of 2013 when i just got out of a really bad relationship. It was a sort of soul searching/relief that it was over/starting over again kind of trip. I decided to take a side trip to Baguio after a meeting in Manila. My last Baguio trip prior to this was year 2000. I always have fond memories of the City of Pines from my 2000 trip. I remember sleeping in a hotel without aircondition yet i felt really, really cold. Baguio is one of the places in the Philippines that has a beautiful weather. April is the hottest month in Baguio City with an average temperature of 21°C (70°F) and the coldest is January at 18°C (64°F). The wettest month is August with an average of 650mm of rain. It is dubbed as the Summer Capital of the Philippines because when everywhere else in the Philippines is hot, weather in Baguio is unusually cooler.

So how do you go to Baguio City?

Victory Liner buses bound for Baguio can be found at their bus terminals located in Pasay (EDSA), Cubao (Quezon City), or Monumento (Caloocan). While Genesis Bus Terminals can be found in Cubao (EDSA cor. New York Street) and Avenida (Doroteo Jose cor. Oroquieta St.). If coming from Baguio, Victory Liner Bus Terminal and Genesis Bus Terminal is easy to find as they are just within walking distance from SM City Baguio.

Victory Liner Bus Schedule Manila to Baguio and Vice Versa

  • Victory Liner’s buses run on a 24-hour service. From Manila, buses leaves every hour bound for Baguio from their terminals in Pasay, Cubao and Caloocan. Same thing if you’re coming from Baguio, buses leaves every hour going to Cubao, Caloocan and Pasay.

Genesis Bus Schedule Manila to Baguio and Vice Versa

  • Cubao to Baguio – starts at 3:00 AM with 1 hour interval until 7:00 PM
  • Avenida to Baguio – starts at 11:00 PM with 1 hour interval until 9:00 PM
  • Baguio to Avenida – starts at 11:00 PM with 1 hour interval until 9:00 PM
  • Baguio to Cubao – starts at 11:30 PM with 1 hour interval until 9:30 PM

How to get to Baguio City from Manila by private transport?

Baguio City can be reached through the main access roads emanating from the province of La Union:

  • Kennon Road from Rosario
  • Marcos Highway from Agoo

How to get to Baguio from Manila via NLEX-SCTEX on private car

  • From Manila take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and drive all the way to Exit 85, to get to the SCTEX.
  • Drive via SCTEX until Tarlac City exit where you will turn left to a road.
  • Drive along following road signs until you reach MacArthur Highway.
  • Turn right to MacArthur Highway, drive through the remaining towns of Tarlac and Pangasinan province (don’t make any turns) until you reach Rosario, La Union.
  • Turn right at the Rosario junction to Kennon Road or go a little further (about 500 meters more) and turn right to the entrance to Marcos Highway.
  • Drive all the way to Baguio City.

I rode Victory Liner Bus at Pasay Bus Station. If you travel at night, it usually takes 5-6 hours but when you travel in the morning, it takes 6-7 hours to reach Baguio. My friend MJP took me to the Bus Station and a colleague covering Baguio booked me a hotel there.


Bus Ticket.

I was really excited going up to Baguio. I opted to take the morning trip as i want to see the scenery. Way back 2000, me and my friends took the night trip so we were just sleeping the entire trip. For a change, i wanted to check out the places that the bus will pass by. The bus seat was comfortable and i am lucky to have a seat behind the driver so i was really near the television too. I watched 3 movies for the entire trip!


There are stop overs along the way and i bought delicacies at the bus stops.


Arrived at around 5pm at the City of Pines and i was welcomed by a beautiful, cold weather. It was December and i love every bit of the chilly, fresh air. I checked in at my room. It was a comfy room and what i like about my hotel is that it is walking distance to malls and restaurants at Session Road.

Inside my El Cielito Inn room.

Inside my El Cielito Inn room.

Since i was eating every bus stop going to Baguio, i opted to just stroll along Session Road after i settled my things at the hotel. Enjoyed a cup of coffee and talked to the locals. People were very warm and friendly. The baristas at Starbucks were really nice and since i was traveling alone, they gave me tips on where to spend another two days in the city. They even gave me a free cup of coffee!


Starbucks Baguio City Mug and the free drink that they gave me!

Traveling alone gave me time to do what i love during my past time and that is reading. I took with me this very powerful book on how to be happy on being single. I highly suggest all the single ladies out there to read this book and i assure you that you will have a different perspective on being happily single. Always after a break up, we tend to view it as a devastating experience but this book will help us understand and appreciate the perks of being single. It is truly a matter of perspective and outlook in life. Of course you have to at least mourn for the loss of that significant other, at some point in your life, you really thought that he was the one. So mourning is always a stage that we all need to pass but dwelling on that phase for too long will not help us move on faster. There are also other self-help books that i read and each one of them helped me back in track and helped me recover. We may not always recover the time that we spent with the wrong person but we can always be thankful that that relationship is over so that you can start another chapter in your life wiser.


The Single Woman by Mandy Hale.

Another perk of traveling alone is that you can do anything you want and at your own pace. I woke up very late the next day and i felt so energized. Took breakfast with a beautiful view.


After breakfast, i head out with no itinerary. I want to just walk around and talk to the locals. i asked for the direction of a church and a lady told me the direction.


I believe that faith can move mountains. Every place that i go, i always make sure to say a prayer at the church or light a candle. I stopped by and just sat down inside the Cathedral and prayed. There are stalls outside the Cathedral that sells Baguio goodies and some organic vegetables. Bought some strawberries and organic vegetables. Too bad i was not able to take a picture of them.

I went around town and looked for cardigans and jackets. I was able to buy cardigans for a hundred bucks!

I went back to my room after roaming around the city. I spent my afternoon reading, eating some junkies that i brought along with me and enjoying comfort in my room. I had room service dinner and it was such a relaxing day.


my favorite corner at my room with a view of the hotel garden

The next day, i woke up early and after breakfast, i went out again and roam around the city. I went to Burnham Park. Initially, my intention to go there is just to people watch. But a boat man who is Bisaya also (from Surigao) approached me to ride the boat. He even offered to take my pictures. I’m glad i did because it was really nice to strike a conversation with strangers. It will sometimes make you feel that your problems is nothing compared to the other problems that people face.



selfie with Kuya who is a fellow Bisaya

After the boat ride, i was able to buy Strawberry Taho just around the park and it was heavenly! I could not stop eating i even bought 2 more cups. It was amazingly delicious!

Strawberry Taho

Strawberry Taho

From Burnham Park, i walked further and looked for Cafe by the Ruins as it was recommended by my foodie friends. It did not disappoint me. I was so happy with my food and the presentation is really nice too.




Cafe by the Ruins, Baguio City

After my late lunch, i went to Baguio Market because i was told that you can find silver jewelries there. I intend to buy some for my mama, sisters and my one and only niece.

Some of the silver accessories that i bought.

Some of the silver accessories that i bought.

I continued to roam around Session Road. When it was almost dark, i went to the Mall to buy some more pasalubong for my friends. I was not so hungry for dinner so since i so love Strawberry Taho, i opted to buy one for dinner inside SM Mall but the one sold at the streets are much delicious than that inside the mall.


Mang Taho.

I went back to the hotel after dinner as i was planning to take an early bus out from Baguio to Manila and catch my flight back to Cebu on the same day.

It was such a beautiful experience. Although there was no clear itinerary for that trip but it was enough for me to think, rest and recharge. Sometimes, we are so caught up with our daily work and schedule that we fail to to just stop and enjoy life. Maybe this is what i really needed at that time. A series of failed relationships lead me to self-pity and i sometimes blame myself for it but little did i know that each failure will eventually lead me to someone and something better. We must not always count the failures but the lessons we learn along the way and make sure that you won’t make the same mistakes.

But even if you are not brokenhearted, i suggest that you take a break from your daily routine and ride a bus or an airplane to an unfamiliar place and just get lost and discover new things and meet new friends. It does wonder to your soul!

I went home with so much positivity and hope. It was one of the best vacations i had and one vacation that i will forever cherish. If there is one message that i want to impart on this travel blog is that, love yourself. If it doesn’t make you happy or doesn’t add value to your life, maybe it is not meant for you. Spare yourself from pain, get out and live beautifully with people who matters.

El Cielito Inn hotel lobby

El Cielito Inn, Baguio City hotel lobby (December 2013)

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