Wet, Wild and Warm: An Unusual Baguio Weekend Trip

Arriving on a wet Baguio City marked the start of our unusual Baguio weekend getaway. I can’t remember visiting the City of Pines on a wet season like this, and the heavy downpour that welcomed me and my friends told us one thing – this is not the Baguio we used to enjoy during summer.

There was a typhoon when we went up there, and since everything was already booked for this trip, we cannot backed out anymore. However, despite of it, we all know that this is gonna be an interesting trip that is going to be filled with many firsts, and the first one of the many firsts on this trip is us traveling via Joy Bus – a deluxe bus more convenient that any public transport I’ve tried for the past years I’ve been visiting Baguio.

It took us around 5 hours or less, from Cubao, to reach Baguio – I was asleep the whole travel time, which means I’m very comfortable the whole time. A pack of biscuit and bottled water come with every booking, along with the amenities such as the onboard comfort room and clean blanket. The travel time was fast given that we don’t have to make any stop and we took the shortest route provided – NLEX, SCTEX, TPLEX.

After arriving at the bus station in Baguio City, which is a stone-throw away from SM City Baguio, our hotel service picked-us up to bring us to our home for this weekend trip – the Azalea Hotel and Residences Baguio.

I’ve been here before, like 3 or 4 years ago, and I can’t believe how the place still look and feel like it is newly opened. The furnishing and the ambiance were as warm as the staff who welcome us with their big smile on their faces. We were just in time for the buffet breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant - Tradition - so, yeah, a festive and filling welcome couldn't be more perfect.

Welcoming Breakfast

From Continental, American, to something that you could only enjoy in Baguio, Azaleá buffet was meant to shoo away the blues brought about the bad weather, and personally, this is one of the things that I'm really looking forward to experience on this trip, because I know that Azalea’s food and beverage never disappoint. We filled up really good after breakfast, and since we have some more minutes spared before we go out to explore the city, we were asked to check-in first to our rooms – which is a bad idea – because it was so inviting that all we want to do is just lay our backs on our cozy beds and call it a day. Hahaha!

For our room, since there were three of us to share, we had Two Bedroom Apartment Suites. The room has one master bedroom, another room that has a queen size bed, a kitchen, a living room and a balcony that gives a beautiful view of Baguio. The sofa in the living is convertible to bed, which served as the third bed for the three of us – meaning, it feels like we have our own rooms by ourselves. But if you are thinking of going here with your family, this room could fit 2 adults and 2 kids or 4 adults.

If you don't like wasting time checking out every restaurant that is open in Baguio City on a rainy day, Tradisyon is not at all a bad option to to dine in. The restaurant is open from breakfast til late at night and offers a wide variety of dishes that individuals, couples, families and groups can enjoy. During our stay, we were lucky to chance upon their Unli Hot Pot offering and the Pizza, Pasta and Salad Buffet, which are both offered at a very good rate.

Unli Hot Pot

Our first cold rainy night here in Baguio was warmed up by the sumptuous Hot Pot. What better way to dine in this cozy hotel than to enjoy a hot soup with friends, right? The variety of dimsum shared to us as well as the vegetables were just enough for us to enjoy cooking and sharing some stories about our previous Baguio Trips. This kind of idea or offering is something that you should try here in Azalea, and I promise that you'll never get disappointed. This was made available on Friday night, but I believe they change their offerings now and then, so better check with them first.

Sweets from the Pizza, Pasta and Salad Buffet

For those who prefer some Western food, on our second night, which is a Saturday night, we dig in to their amazing Pizza, Pasta and Salad Buffet. If you think you've had the best cheese pizza somewhere else, wait til you get to try their Tri-Cheese Pizza. MY NEW FAVORITE! And I'm craving for it right at this moment. Perfect with red or white wine, their pizzas ran out fast, good thing, their kitchen baked fast and good! 

Those offering along with ala carte meals come in a very reasonable price and would definitely save you the hassle of traversing the city.

The Baguio Tour
If you think that going around the Baguio on a rainy day would be a challenge, we were all surprised that the rain eased up the traffic in the city, making our tour more convenient and enjoyable. Special thanks to the wonderful team of Azalea Baguio for arranging these for all of us - something that I never thought would be possible despite of the bad weather that weekend.

Baguio Museum

I've been to Baguio a million times, and I must admit that this is my first time to be in Baguio Museum. It wasn't as grand as I expect it to be, but boy, this place is so full of Mountain Provinces treasure, which I hope that the local government would spare some time and money to save and develop. Covering the provinces of Cordillera Autonomous Region such as Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province, Baguio Museum shares a brief history of this beautiful mountain-top provinces, it's people and their unique culture.

General Emilio Aguinaldo Museum

If you are up for more educational trip around the city, Baguio has another museum that you'd never thought they would have - the General Emilio Aguinaldo Museum. A museum dedicated for the first President of the Republic of the Philippines, this house-like museum offers a quick tour on how we fought Spaniard colonialism back in the early days. But unlike Baguio Museum, this place offers a modern and well-maintained space since this is manged by Aguinaldo Family. Did you know that the first Philippine flag created can be found in this museum? Damn, right! So, go check this place out. Their tour guides are so cool, too.

Locked In

But if you need some mind shaking activity, Azalea Baguio could prepare you and your group to a strategic indoor game called Locked In. This suspenseful and strategy-required game needs at least 4 member where you need to solve a case in order to get our of your assigned room. Winners will take the bragging right of being the Mystery Solver. This is my first time try some sort of indoor like this, and sadly, we were locked in, but I learned some lesson, and I'm pretty sure that I will knock their door out in no time next time. We were told that they might open more branches around the city, which will thrill mo

Easter Weaving Room

For some cultural learning and pasalubong shopping, one must not miss Easter Weaving Room where you could get to see how the wonderful Mountain Province textiles are made and some other things that one could make out of these colorful and inspiring textiles. Though, they don't really allow guests to try weaving here, one can get a really good seat in watching their spools turn into some magical rolls of threads as they web to become beautiful and export-quality textiles and fabrics.

Bayanihan Ukay-Ukay

Up for some wild bargain, a visit to Baguio's Bayanihan Ukay-Ukay is all you need! The night market was close that weekend, so we don't have a choice but to visit the place where all those cheap good are from, the Bayanihan Ukay-Ukay. Though the prices are a bit high and bargaining is quite hard, Bayanihan is the place to be if you want to do ukay-ukay shopping on a rainy Baguio trip.

Baguio Market

Have to save more? Baguio Market is open as early as 5 in the morning til around 9 in the evening. And if pasalubong is all you need, this is the best place to visit.

Since going around the city with a dozen of persons in a group could be a real challenge, Baguio was our pasalubong haven for this trip. With everything that we need and everything that we want to take home for our loved ones, Baguio City Market never disappoints us to get everything at a very friendly price. Sadly, strawberries are not in season then, so each kilo cost me Php300.00.

Balajadia Kitchentte, Slaughter House

The warmth of this trip didn't just end at the cozy Azalea Hotel and Residences Baguio, it extended up to the kitchens of Balajadia where a number of delectable home-cooked dishes are being served. This is my second time here, and the food, with its homey feel and right-on flavor, it hit the right spot of hunger after that cold trip in Baguio City Market and just before we head back to Manila. This place, despite of its nasty name, is a must-visit most specially if steamy, hot food is all you need.

Baguio City will always have a special place in my heart, and Azalea Hotel and Residences Baguio made it more lovely and worth coming back all the time. More than fun tour, and comfortable, safe accommodation, the people behind this amazing trip made it more memorable, so yeah, thank you and until next time, Azalea Hotel and Residences Baguio! You are truly a Holiday Haven!

For more details and online booking, you may visit http://www.azaleabaguio.com or you may visit them on Facebook  and Twitter.

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