Monday, September 28, 2015

Tips to a Happy Baguio Vacation with Children

Baguio has always been my happy place.

I’ve been there a total of 8 times and all were memorable trips that make me want to come back.

My first trip there, nawiwi ako sa panty in wright park right in this very steps.   I was the same age as my eldest daughter then and I was too excited (lazy) to go to the restroom that I left my mark among the horses.

Yup, even that was a happy memory. 

This time around I was feeling extra giddy because I was bringing first timers with me. 
My 3 year old and my 2 angels (na itago natin sa pangalang B1 and B2).

OC Mommy that I am, I did my early research to make the most out of our 2 1/2 days trip to the mountains.

Not that I have anything new to share or there is anything new in Baguio but the recently opened TPLEX shortcut was definitely a good enough reason to come back.

Now that I am a parent tho, I get to plan and make sure this trip will be as memorable to them as it was to me.

So to all the mommies out there hope this handful of tips will help you enjoy Baguio more with your kids.

Tip #1 : Leave before sun up and make sure you pee before you enter SCTEX and TPLEX.

By leaving at dawn, expect your little ones to be asleep most of the trip. My baby girl was asleep the whole time and that freed me from possible tantrums and questions of, "Are we there yet?".  My patience however was occupied by my mom who wanted to go to the ladies room every so often.

Remember SCTEX and TPLEX combined is a total of 3 hours non-stop driving (with a slow driver like my hubby) drink at your own risk.

The nearest toilet is at the end of TPLEX.  It's actually clean for a roadside loo but you have to have strong muscles down there to control your pee.

My mom wished she wore adult diapers or at least forced herself to pee while we were at NLEX.

TIP #2:  Pick an awesome place to stay.  

There is so much to rave about Newtown Hotel that I am dedicating a whole entry to it.  (abangan)

Bottomline, it's clean, new, affordable, comes with buffet breakfast, covered parking, heated pool, accepts early check in and best of all it's ghost free!

Makaktulog ka ng mahimbing because you know walang kakalabit sa paa mo pagnakalawit ito sa bed or susutsut sa hallway on your way home from the night market.

Tip #3:  Go to been there done that places ---but this time see it from the eyes of your children,

a. Pick the gayest horse from the lot and go horseback riding at Wright park.

I spoke to my manong and for a 3o min ride of P200 he earns about 25php.  

Guess what 30 minutes is all you need for you and your kids. It gets boring for small children after a round or two.

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3 - Sulit!
It was my first ever horse ride too, hooray for me...
The horse's bubble thought:  Sus ko, ang kuring ng pamilyang ito!  Buti na lang ang ganda nitong sakay ko! Chausse!

b.  Relive your racer fantasy and go biking in Burnham park.

Yeah, we would have wanted to go boating there too (pero malamok pag gabi) so biking it was.

Bikes were at P40/hour for my rad and rusty bmx 

...and P60 for the ones with a side car.

Thank you to B1 and B2 may tag team tagapadjak ang mga anak ko.

c. Be an Igorot for a day and have your picture taken with Beethoven the giant dog in Minesview park.

Igorot costume was P20 for unlimited photos ...

Kya sulit na sulit na sulit namin...

and sulit na sulit ni B1 and B2

It was however P50 for 2 shots with the St. Bernard...

(So if pumikit kyo like my baby girl, sorry na lang because they will urge you to pay another P50 for a retake...if you choose not to, they will force you to stand up quick and give way to other people )

 This photo however was free!
St. Bernard bubble thought:  Sus ko ang kuripot ng pamilyang ito!!!

Of course bring your kids to see the view too (I mean, it's not called Minesview for nothing). There is a telescope which kids 7 years old and above will likely enjoy and can use for only P10.

While there, buy them souvenirs as well.  Sasha got a sling shot for P45 and Sky got a puppet for only P35...

(For mommies, do buy yourself those seedless oranges at P100 / kilo as well.  It does not get cheaper than that in Manila)

d.  Have your kids meet real live Igorots in Botanical Garden.

 Sasha:  Are Igorots people too?
Me:  Hindi anak, bulaklak sila! 

My 3 year old posing with the oldest Igorot at 95 years old.

It is P10 per person, so this group photo set us back P150.   

I made sulit the bayad by chatting with them.  It was like bonding with your lolos and lolas.  They were even kind enough to offer me their kamote.

While you are there check out the themed gardens inside too ...
It was refreshing to see so much greens...

 ...and have your photo taken with Buddha 

...and Machete...Grrrr...Awoooo!

Do not leave without visiting the caves for some adventure!
It becomes a little claustrophobic after a few minutes so keep your cool and don't panic.

e.  Go to Camp John Hay to visit the Manor's playground and the butterfly sanctuary...

Swing, swing a song... :)

Uy deyop ni inday at ni dudung...


My mom and her extra nirarayumang tuhod sa lamig!

It makes me happy seeing Sky running and playing as she spends most of her time  with her best friend (Mr. Ipad) at home. 

The butterfly sanctuary was closed because the butterflies died from the storm that just visited Baguio 2 weeks before we came  (much to the disappointment of my 3yr old Sky).  So in memory of those lovely creatures, I am sharing this photo of Ate Sasha taken 5 years ago.

Sky thinks this is a picture of her so she's not disappointed anymore.
Sky: Oh, I must have forgotten that we went.  I am so forgetful!

f.  We were not able to pick strawberries or have the authentic strawberry taho or ice cream because they were not in season.  But this is something your kids will enjoy too.

Well if you cant pick 'em, wear them!

Even tho they were not available in the market or for picking, you can still fill your strawberry
craving with Vizco's strawberry shortcake which is a must try at P85 per slice.

Note: Since my children are both girls we passed on a trip to the PMA.  However if you have boys--- going there would be such a thrill because they will see real tanks and have their photos taken with marching soldiers.

Tip #4  Find kid friendly places to eat :)

O'Mai Khan is the only Mongolian Buffet I enjoy.  Have your kids pick the ingredients to their meal and force feed them veggies :)  (You picked em, you eat em)

Happy tummy is the most spacious resto in the ketchup community so we stayed there to order thai food and ordered the ribs from the next door restaurant Lomo.
You don't have to worry because the waiters will do it for you.
My girls loved it at happy tummy because of the over zealous waiter:
"Here is your pad thai ma'am, I am fast and I am awesome!"

If it's Baguio ambiance you are looking for Choco-late de Batirol is your best bet.
We just had their signature hot chocolate and bibinka in our very own nook while being serenaded by a couple of acoustic singers.  Nothing beats a cup of hot choco in Baguio but a cup of hot choco in choco-late Batirol.

 How about a Chinese buffet with freshly cooked noodles and steaming hot dimsums for breakfast?  You get that in Newtown Hotel everyday.  That is on top of your breakfast staples of langgonisa, tocino, bacon, eggs, pancakes, cereals, salad, etc etc etc..  Sasha usually does not eat breakfast but in Baguio she made an exception.

We saved the best for last...

We just loved Amare! The place was warm inside because of the brick oven they used for cooking the pizza your kids personally made! 
We stayed in the tables outside where the aircon was cooler and enjoyed our order which definitely was worth every star it got in tripadvisor.

Sasha proud of her masterpiece!  

We loved their pastas too!

After 2 1/2 days it was time to go home.

...last minute picture taking

 And it was goodbye Baguio!

Tip #5: Do not forget to have your photos taken with the giant lion in Kennon Road on your way home. But for a safer trip pass by Marcos Highway instead.

I can have my picture taken with my own cats in the car anyway.

Til we see again Baguio!


  1. Nice! Miss Baguio but not the throngs of people though! Last time I was there the smell of the pine trees was gone.

  2. yea i forgot to add: Tip #6 : Do not go if its a long weekend or take the risk of drowning in the crowd...BUT the Virreys went on a holiday weekend and they still enjoyed! :)