Friday, May 22, 2009

Adventures in Baguio

The past several days were a blur of activity. We had hoped to leave soon after breakfast Monday morning. But Friday the police delivered an invitation for me to provide the invocation for their Badge Ceremony at the Municipal Plaza. I had arranged for someone else to present for the Moral Recovery Program this week so we could leave early. But it did not seem best for me to turn down this honor. After the ceremony and the MRP presentation, my companion and I were invited to have coffee with the officers. All of this to say that we left a couple hours later than we had originally planned.

Fortunately, the bus ride was uneventful. It was also nice that on both the trip to Baguio and the return trip there were children sick however it was not one of the Americans on board. A nice change - and we did not even use Dramamine this time. It may be an uncomfortable trip, but the scenery makes up for it. (Unless you are so sick you cannot take in the scenery, I suppose.) The mountains are incredible! I am always amazed at the terraces which make whole mountains look like a stairway; knowing all of that was done by hand - wow!

When we arrived in Baguio, we made our traditional stop at McDonald's. No spaghetti or fried chicken and rice value meal for this crew. We went for the more familiar cheeseburgers, McNuggets, fries, and Cokes. I am not sure which will take longer to recover from our trip to the city: our lungs from the smog and exhaust or our arteries from the bad-for-you food.

As part of our adventure on this trip, we explored a little bit of the recreational scene in town. Camp John Hay was the first place we wanted to explore. First we looked into the zip-line and rappelling wall. We did not do it this time, but it certainly is not as intense as what we experienced during our CDTS in Salem, Oregon. (You can check it out by clicking here.) We also found that they have a paintball course. While Jordan would probably really enjoy either, Mom and Dad may not find it quite so enjoyable when they come next month.

But we did try the miniature golf course. At one time, it was a nice course. Later, it was an okay course. Now it is an old, worn out course. But fun is what you make of it. We had fun as we made our way around the course.

No miniature golf match is complete however, without somebody forgetting that it is a game of putting - not driving and chipping. So over the fence Alayna went to retrieve her errant shot.

We did enjoy the natural beauty of Camp John Hay. It was nice to walk surrounded by trees, with grass under our feet.

Because it was a working vacation, we still had a long list of errands that needed to be taken care of. For the most part, that meant time at the mall. Adriana and Alexie got new glasses. The eye exams here are different. Once you read the chart wearing some adjustable glasses, they "fine tune" the prescription by having the patient walk and see if the floor is flat. Hmmm...

Anyway, we found a new diversion at the mall. Somebody has taken the warning on plastic bags to a new level. For 50 pesos, you can put your kid in a bubble and have them run around like gerbils on a shallow pool of water. We first saw them doing it with a clear, sunny sky. So not only can you deprive your progeny of oxygen as they run their little hearts out going nowhere, you can also bake them with the greenhouse effect in their bubble. I am only taking the overprotective parental view because I am too old to do it. As a kid, I would have pleaded relentlessly for the opportunity to be sealed, baked, and suffocated in such a bubble - it looked like a blast!
After closing down the mall, we stood with our new glasses, plumbing supplies, curtains, groceries (yes, they have a grocery store in the mall), and other whatnot, in line for a taxi. We were accompanied by a line of about 50 yards worth of other people - for about an hour. We ended up doing this two nights in a row. The second night we realized what was about to happen, so when we got in line, Lisa went and got McDonald's take-out and we ate dinner standing in line for a taxi. I think we spent an hour and a half waiting that night.

On Tuesday night, Alayna made friends with a little boy as we stood in line. He would smile and giggle at her. Wednesday as we ate our dinner, guess who showed up in line right behind us - the same family. Alayna had a great time playing with him, walking up and down the stairs nearby, and so forth. When we finally neared the front of the line, Alayna came and stood by us. We felt bad as the little boy cried because she wasn't playing with him any more.
That night on the trip to the base, we did have a little bit of adventure. The two roads between the YWAM base and anywhere in town are under construction. This makes the drive slow and full of bumps. As we were driving, the driver hit one of those bumps. This was followed by the sound of something breaking, then something dragging underneath the vehicle. I am not much of a mechanic, but I do know the driveshaft is supposed to be hooked up to something at the rear, not just dragging on the ground. So we hailed another taxi (at least this time there was not a 90 minute wait). Then we moved our stuff and all of us to the new ride and were back at the base in a few minutes.

Before returning home, Lisa and Alexie went on a quest for cheese. The grocery store at the mall does have some but they sell it at such a premium that it is not a good option for us. Our Canadian friends who spent nearly a year in Baguio, and also like cheese, had told us of a little store before they moved back. So to San Rose they went. There is road construction (remember the bump) and that combined with traffic turnedwhat should be a 10 minute cab ride into 45. They arrived just in time for the store to close for lunch. But the storekeepers graciously opened the doors and in 10 minutes Lisa and Alexie had some precious cheese in hand. I think all the family would vote for this being the most important errand of the trip.

On the trip back to Bontoc, we were treated to a beautiful sight. Not only were the mountains and clouds breathtaking. There were also rainbows. In one place, we were looking down on clouds and a pair of rainbows. That was unbelievable!



  1. Glad you had a safe trip and were able to enjoy some R&R along with getting the errands you needed done completed. And the cheese... so glad you were able to come up with that. I can't imagine life without cheese... or McDonald's for that matter.

  2. I spent summers in Baguio as a child (I had an uncle and cousins living there) and remember the mini-golf at Camp John Hay vividly - when it was still under the US, the cafe served the best ice cream that time! Thankful that your blog makes me feel closer to home =)