Here I go again, writing about Baguio, my happy place. I went there again last weekend, this time with my mom and siblings. What prompted this trip was the March 2 announcement from officials which stated that Baguio was no longer requiring visitors to get a COVID-19 test. Each visitor, however, still had to create an account and register with visita.baguio.gov.ph.
Following the announcement, my sister Penny (who also went up to Baguio early February) and I immediately thought of inviting our mom and two brothers, Pete and Paul, to return to the beloved summer capital of the Philippines. We also wanted them to experience a Baguio that was devoid of traffic and where only a few tourists were scattered about. It wasn’t difficult to convince them; after all, our whole family loves Baguio. We adore the cool weather, the abundance of fresh vegetables, the smell of pine trees (in some areas), the cozy restaurants and hip coffee shops, and simply enjoying each other’s company in a picturesque setting. It would also be the first time we were all together after more than a year.
For the past couple of years, we would plan a trip abroad for a few days, just my mom and her kids, for a weekend getaway. Last year, we were set to leave for Fukuoka to catch the cherry blossoms at the end of March.
Unfortunately, the lockdown was implemented and we had to cancel our trip. And so, 2020 came and went without special bonding time with my mom and siblings.
We always look forward to these trips, when we have mom all to ourselves and none of our kids are around to demand attention. And so, when Baguio loosened its guidelines, it was a no-brainer to heed the call of the City of Pines.
Our favorite place to stay at when we’re in Baguio is Baguio Country Club (BCC). Our trip there last weekend was even more enjoyable because we stayed in our room most of the time and played mahjong for hours while chatting, cracking jokes and reminiscing about our youth. For a few precious days, I felt like a kid again, playing with my siblings as mom scolded us for not playing properly and schooled us on “real life” concerns.
One afternoon, after lunch in Sizzling Plate (owned by family friends Tito Mike and Tita Edna Anton), we visited the Baguio Country Club Blooms plant exhibit organized by BCC. There was an ongoing contest among the different departments and it was delightful to walk around and admire the artistry of the employees’ green thumbs! My favorite was an entry that was made to look like a giant chess board using various succulents as chess pieces. I also liked the one with an aquatic, under-the-sea theme. I had no idea that flora could be used to look like chess pieces and sea creatures, but the contestants sure did! We walked around and marveled at the colorful creations and the sheer variety of plants and flowers. After admiring and examining several plants, my mom made a touching observation. “Look at the leaves…how they don’t cross or overlap with one another,” she said. “That’s not evolution, that’s God’s handiwork.”
If you will be in Baguio between now and September, do find time to visit the BCC Blooms plant exhibit, which is across the street from the club and open to the public free-of-charge. You won’t regret it, especially if you’re a plantito or plantita. Some plants are even for sale and you just might walk away with a boxful of assorted plants, like I did.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com