I got the chance to go to Baguio with my wife (who is going to that city for the first time) when I was invited to attend an annual convention for a group of Microbiology and Parasitology teachers.
Well at first (prior to saying yes), I was anxious because as you may already know if you are following my blog, I have PKD with episodes of hematuria and anemia already. I also easily feel the cold extremes of temperature which Baguio has compared to other parts of the country. The temperature was recently at a year 2011 low of almost 10 degrees Celsius. I cannot even stand the usual air-con temperatures sometimes so what more Baguio's cool temperature?
But I eventually said yes because of the importance of the task regarding standardization of microbiology and parasitology manuals in Philippine medical schools and to let my wife experience Baguio.
So here is the story from preparation to the fulfillment of the goal to sneak in a one-day tour of Baguio prior to the working convention.
Step one is Research...
Days prior, I searched various websites as to the places to go for sight-seeing and eating in Baguio.
I bought a map of Baguio of course.
I set one day, a Sunday, a day prior to the convention to target a visit to its tourist destinations.
With the help of the net, I found a recommended taxi driver in Baguio which I likewise would recommend. He is Arnel Rodriguez and he is the one seated on the right with a mustache.
Do not be surprised if his taxi has no air-conditioning system. All taxis in Baguio don't have aircon most likely because the environment is already cool to begin with. You might even want to close the taxi windows completely to stay warm.
Anyway, Mr. Rodriguez is I believe an experienced driver who knows Baguio a lot and he is very accommodating. He would offer to take our pictures (but then me and my wife bought our own tripod so we can have nice pictures minus the blur and so also we can have our pics taken without other person's help with the use of the timer function) .This driver can pass for a tourist guide.
Here is some tips that I can offer which I hope would be helpful...
Baguio during January is cool and so one has to bring sweaters and jackets to protect you from the cold. But if you are from a warm place like Cebu, you may not have these already and so you have to buy. Jackets and sweaters are expensive and so others go to the "ukay-ukay" to buy second-hand good quality sweaters and jackets at a much lower price than in the regular market.
Prepare your digital cameras and place silica gel in the camera bag so that it will not acquire moisture with a disparity of temperatures from "downtown" going uphill to Baguio.
As I said bring your own tripod, battery charger and enough rechargeable batteries as batteries' power are said to drain faster in the cold.
The above things we did and we brought for the trip uphill something to feed our stomachs for a 6-hour trip more or less (if you are travelling in a Victory Liner Deluxe Bus with own toilet or mini comfort room).
This is how the said bus looks from the inside featuring the mini comfort the room which I saw just for the first time.
The other buses have at least 2 stopovers for meals and health breaks and picks up passengers along the way thus the travel time is said to be 7 hours or more.
Read the next blog entry Part 2 of this post in my Cebu MD blog for the places we actually visited in Baguio in just one day with actual pictures to give you an idea that it is possible to visit most of the important Baguio tourist spots in a single day...