Visit Baguio City this Christmas Season

Reinforcing its ‘Creative City’ status, the city of Baguio has recently unveiled the City Christmas Tree at Rose Garden, Burnham Park and the Lights and Sounds Show at Malcolm Square.

The Christmas Tree of the City was unveiled last December 1 was presented by several public officials of Baguio City. There were also tons of performances from different groups before the big reveal.

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Photo from Facebook: Mia Magdalena

Measuring 23 meters in height, the tree is adorned with red blooming flowers and woven abaca balls in different sizes. At night, it illuminates with various colors to provide a pleasing visual experience. During its unveiling, hundreds of residents and tourists flocked to get a first look of the highly anticipated Christmas Tree of the City.

During the last week of November, the city government closed down Malcolm Square to pave way for the making of a Lights and Sounds Show for the Christmas season. The show was finally under way last December 1 and it was worth the wait. Animals adorned with Christmas lights stood guard at Malcolm Square while the trees were beautifully wrapped in lights as well. A stage was made in front of Malcolm Square wherein performers would entertain the crowd with songs and dances.

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The best thing about all of this is that everything is free. The city of Baguio does not collect fees from all the performances and showcases. Visit Malcolm Square when you have a chance since the Lights and Sounds show begin during the evening.

Atop Session Road, the spot where the old concrete tree was taken down from years ago would always receive a makeover during the Christmas season. Today’s Christmas season is no different. Instead of your usual Christmas Tree Designs, a ‘Tinatik’ Christmas Tree was unveiled. Maela Liwanag Jose, the creator of the tree, uses a technique called “Tinatik”, taken from the Filipino term “tina” for ‘color’ and the Indonesian term “batik” which means ‘drop’. “Tinatik”, meaning “Color Drop”.

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Photo from Facebook: Mia Magdalena

Taken from WheretoBaguio.com’s article about Tinatik,

“The Story of Creation is the inspiration for many of Maela’s works, especially the Christmas tree. But she doesn’t just tell the story with literal images. Instead, she put a Cordilleran twist with careful research of Cordilleran patterns and symbols which are used in artifacts, fabrics, and tattoos. Which is why if you take a close look at the Christmas tree, you’ll see patterns of spirals, zigzags, curves, and lines – each having meaning, such as spirals for hills, zigzags for fish, and diamonds for day and night.”

We shall be replacing the photos from our own shots once we have the time to take pictures. For now these are samples and photos from WheretoBaguio.com and Facebook.

 

 

 

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Baguio chosen as Philippines’ First UNESCO Creative City

Baguio is Philippines’ First UNESCO Creative City

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In a  press statement, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” is one of 64 cities worldwide to be included in the Creative Cities Network.

Baguio City is included in the crafts and folk art field.

The UNESCO Creative Cities has highlighted its members’ creativity within 7 fields: crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts and music.

From UNESCO, “The Creative Cities will join a Network at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development.”

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is one the agencies of the UN (United Nations).

Cordillera Tourism Director Maria Venus Tan, who was instrumental in Baguio’s campaign, wrote on Facebook, “I woke up today with the happiest news that Bagio has been declared as one of the new UNESCO Creative Cities in its network!”

Baguio, the gateway to the Cordilleras, was created as a hill station by the Americans more than a hundred years ago. The famous architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham set up the blueprint for the city, which was declared as the Summer Capital of the Philippines in 1909.

 

Crafts and Folk Art in Baguio

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National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera  Eric “Kidlat Tahimik” de Guia.

Benedicto Reyes Cabrera — or BenCab, as he is more popularly known is widely hailed as a master of contemporary Philippine art. The artist lives and works in Baguio City.

One of the most prominent names in the Filipino film industry, Eric “Kidlat Tahimik” de Guia has garnered various accolades locally and internationally, including a Plaridel honorarium for Independent Cinema. He is dubbed by fellow filmmakers and critics as the “Father of Philippine Independent Cinema.

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Cordilleran art of weaving has fascinated local and foreign tourists who visit the region

The local woven clothes are an instant hit among tourists, who purchase them as souvenir items. The purchase provides supplementary earnings to local weavers of the Cordilleras.

Nardas is a popular store started by Bontoc weaver Narda Capuyan, this flagship store carries a broad selection of high-quality, locally made items

Another place to visit is the Easter Weaving Room if you are interested in native fabrics and other handicraft. Here one can witness the actual process of cloth weaving as practiced by the natives of the mountain provinces for ages.

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Handicraft Souvenirs

The City of Baguio is one of the best places to buy souvenir for your families back home or souvenirs like wood carvings such as “Barrel Man”.

Notable handicraft items, which are often sold as souvenir items, include hand weaving, wood carving and metalcraft.

Souvenir shopping is one of the most awaited part of every traveler when on a trip or vacation. Everyone wants to share what they seen and experience during their travels.

Souvenirs vary from the local delicacies found only in the place that you are visiting or their specialty products such as bags, clothes, footwear and souvenir items like key chain, ref magnets, mats, bags and others.

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Ifugao Woodcarvers’ Village

The Ifugao Wood Carvers’ Village or Itogon Wood Carvers’ Village is a tourist site in Baguio where workshops of Ifugao wood carvers can be found. High quality wood carvings of various types and sizes are sold at the village, usually at considerably lower prices than elsewhere in Baguio.

A few kilometers away from in Baguio. Off the beaten path of the usual Burnham downtown crowds. The street is lined with woodcarving stores with some being carved on the spot. Wood carved products are 80% cheaper than that found in Manila or the stores in malls. It is worth the visit and shopping!

Items made from real Kamagong wood, Anahaw, or Molave.

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Igorot Culture

Igorot, or Cordillerans, is the collective name of several ethnic groups in the Philippines, who inhabit the mountains of Luzon.

Cultural elements common to the Igorot peoples as a whole include wood carving, weaving, metalworking, and rituals. The rich culture of the Igorot’s are what influences the design, materials, and practices of most arts and crafts in the city of Baguio.

The subjects of the carvings vary widely but are mostly motifs closely associated with the Cordilleras, such as bul’ul or indigenous people and animals.

Celebrating Baguio Day

You might get caught up with heavy traffic, some out of the blue performances, and parades along Session Road. Don’t get puzzled: It’s the 108th Baguio Day.

Friday, September 1 is indeed TGIF for the people of Baguio, including students of Monol because it’s a special non-working holiday.

For this year’s celebration, several activities will be held starting with the annual opening program conducted at the Baguio City Hall, city-wide parade immediately after the said program, and sports contests,  photo contest, performances, as well as pageants such as Little Miss Baguio and the much looked-forward to, the Miss Baguio pageant which will be held within the month of September.

Given yet another long weekend is a great opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Baguio and/or explore the lowlands. For starters, here some links to give you ideas on what to do here in Baguio this coming long weekend:

The Cafe You Should Probably Visit Today

Summer Itinerary: A Glance at the Aesthetics of Baguio City

BAGUIO IN A DAY

Burnham Park: Baguio’s classic tourist spot

The Place I Came to Love in Baguio

This Special Holiday is annually celebrated to commemorate the transition of Baguio from being a provincial mountain to a charter city on September 1, 1909.

 

 

A Taste of Home: Japanese Cuisine (Part I)

Tonkatsu’s crumbly breading and the taste of juicy pork right after the crisp. The steam of aromatic soup from the bowl of ramen topped with slices of meat drizzled with herbs and spices. The soft and pinkish sashimi dipped in soy and a little of wasabi. These, folks, are just the tip of the iceberg of Japanese cuisine.

Japanese food is one of the most sought-after in its stratum (thanks, sushi). It is actually on the top 10 list of countries with delicious foods landing the fifth place as featured on CNN Travel (Li, 2017).

Well, it’s no wonder. Japanese cuisine almost always equates to fresh ingredients and healthful foods with the advantage of the waters surrounding the land area. Owing to these and the inflation of the number of Japanese students studying English in Baguio, the numbers of Japanese restaurants has also boomed in and around the city.

To satisfy your oriental cravings, we listed some of the Japanese restaurants that are just few minutes from Monol:

Chaya

Chaya is a homey restaurant with excellent service. According to some Japanese students who has already been there, this restaurant serves the most authentic-tasting Japanese food. Spoiler alert: Your every meal would end with a sweet delight.

Worth a try, right?

CHAYA - TONKATSU

Photo from thepennut.wordpress.com

Location: Legarda Road
Travel time: ~20 minutes
Store hours: 10 am – 9 pm


Naruto

Brace yourself for the warm greeting: Naruto Japanese Restaurant will draw a smile on your face upon entering the establishment.

For the rainy season, they offered English academies in Baguio, including Monol, to enjoy a perk of 10% discount on all of their dishes until October. Just present your ID to avail this promo. Definitely a good deal!

Location: Naguillan Road (In front of Baguio City Hall)
Travel time: ~15 minutes

Store hours: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm


Tajimaya

If an eat-all-you-can spree is your tummy’s desire for the day, Tajimaya is the best Japanese restaurant to go to. For only Php 499, you can enjoy unlimited Yakiniku experience.

TAJIMAYA - YAKINIKU

Photo from thepennut.wordpress.com

Location: Military Cut-off
Travel time: 20-25 minutes

Store hours: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm


Teriyaki Boy

If you happen to crave for Japanese food while strolling around SM, you can visit Teriyaki Boy located at the 2nd floor. This restaurant also boasts good service and  convenience being inside a shopping mall.

Location: SM Baguio, Upper Session Road
Travel time: ~20 minutes

Store hours: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

 

Top 10 Countries with delicious food source:

Li, Z. (2017, July 12). Which Country Has the Best Food? CNN Travel, Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/world-best-food-cultures/index.html

A Taste of Home in Baguio: Middle Eastern Cuisine

Pita bread. Hummus. Kebab. Falafel. Just the sounds of these make us picture the sandy dunes of the Middle East.

The convenient thing is you don’t have to jump right off the next flight just to have a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine. Here in Baguio, you can find food hubs that give you the same taste in form of a good deal.

Ahmad Brothers Café
Pakistani, Indian food

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Samosa. BlauEarth. 30 May 2015. Web. 19 July 2017. <blauearth.com>.

More often than not, when Middle Eastern food is being mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is Ahmad Brothers Café.

Ahmad Brothers Café serves authentic Middle Eastern food, plus, the staff is nice and accommodating. Aside from that, they serve halal food which means “permissible according to Islamic law”. Sold meat has undergone a process that is acceptable in accordance with the law. The processes involve pronouncing Allah’s name, slaughtering through the jugular vein (the veins found in the neck), and speaking a dedication while doing the process.

This restaurant has moved from Legarda Road to Jose Miguel Bldg., #01 Yandok St., Corner Naguillan Rd., Baguio City, open from 10 am to 10 pm.

Habibis Grill
Lebanese food

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Lamb Shawarma. Habibi’s Lebanese Restaurant and Cafe. 21 March 2017. Web. 18 July 2017. <facebook.com>

This restaurant claims to have the “Best shawarma and kebabs in town.” and that is not just an empty claim. Owned by two Lebanese cousins who grew up in Baguio City, their passion for food and their desire to trace their roots are the reasons why their shawarma is loved by their regulars.

This restaurant has two branches, one at Ground floor Cuesta Bldg., Bonifacio St. which is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 am and the other at Travel Lite Hotel which is open 24-hours a day.

Ali’s House of Shawarma
Indian, Pakistani, and International Food

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Shawarma. looloo. 24 June 2015. Web. 18 July 2017. <looloo.com>.

If you’re looking for a budget friendly restaurant that gives the same fulfilling taste without breaking the bank, Ali’s is the best for you. This humble place is situated at 177 Upper Bonifacio Street, Baguio, nearby Saint Louis University Gate 4.

Ali’s House of Shawarma also serves Halal food. For only 35.00 pesos, you can enjoy a palatable warm shawarma. If you opt for rice meal, your 60.00 pesos will give you justice.

**Featured image: A beautiful display of some of the most popular Middle Eastern flavours that are good enough to eat alone. Egyptian Streets. 2014 June 5. Web. 17 July 2017. <egyptianstreets.com>.

 

A Taste of Home in Baguio: Vietnamese Cuisine

“There’s no place like home.”

is a cliché for a reason. While most of us go to other country to experience new things, immerse in a different culture, or change our lives, we can’t help but miss a thing or two about our mother country, that given, is the food.

Thereupon at times when we miss the food, we somehow miss home.

But because Baguio is a pool of diverse cultures, this city also caters to international dishes. For students who miss their local food, there are some restaurants situated in this city that could somehow fill that longing heart.

To start with, here are two hubs you can run to when you crave for noodles made of sticky rice, lots of herbs, fish sauce, and dishes that tells the story of French influence and neighboring countries the second your tongue touches the food – that is Vietnamese cuisine.

Yes Pho

From their branch in Camp John Hay, this Vietnamese restaurant has moved to a more accessible location in Upper Session Road, Engineers Hill, Baguio City. Rumor has it that their customer service is excellent, their dishes are authentic, and apparently, are quite affordable.

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Yes Pho Menu. X Marks the Spot for Good Baguio Foods. 10 March 2017. Web. 10 July 2017. <findgoodbaguiofoods.com>.

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Pho Bo by Yes Pho. The Kitchen Goddess Files. Web. 10 July 2017. <thekitchengoddess.blogspot.com>.

Their best seller?  Pho Bo—- a steamy pot of noodle soup with simmered beef and vegetables seasoned with flavorful spices. Truly a Viet classic!

The Coffee Library

The Coffee Library is a rustic themed restaurant that makes you feel out of the city in the city. Aside from Pho Bo, Vietnamese coffee, which often is complemented by coconut milk is one of the goods this restaurant is proud of.

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The Coffee Library interior. Pinkislovebynix. 24 December 2016. Web. 10 July 2017. <pinkislovebynix.blogspot.com>.

The Coffee Library Baguio City 16 B

Hot Chocolate. turista trails. 25 July 2016. Web. 10 July 2017. <turistatrails.com>.

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Since their opening in 2015, this café and restaurant has been gaining commendable reputation for its delish grubs. That is why earlier this year, The Coffee Library has opened another branch in San Juan, La Union.

Pop by The Coffee Library located at Rex Hall Building, Upper Bonifacio Road, Baguio City. Open from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm.

**featured image: Vietnamese Cuisine. Ngoc Long. 3 December 2015. Web. 10 July 2017. <ngoclongfood.com>.

A Stroll Along Legarda Road

If you have been staying here in Baguio for quite some time, you might have presumably heard about Legarda Road, a major road in Baguio City that is a few-minute walk from Session Road.

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Source: Google Map

Some students call it “Korea town” because of the road’s features swamped by foreigner students, mostly Koreans,  as they enjoy the neighboring establishments located along the area on a typical and care-free weekend. If you’re a newbie in this city and looking for a place to wander, these are some of the establishments along Legarda Road you might want to give a try:

  1. Restaurants

There are more or less 10 Korean restaurants, one Japanese restaurant, and cafes along this road that you can choose from. Red Station, Kubo Grill, Camping Date, Le Vein Bakeshop, Pearl Meat Shop, Uijeongbu, Chil Cheon Gak and Jijimi are just a few.

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Unlimited Samgyupsal at Kubo Grill

CAMPING DATE

Experience eating in a tent at Camping Date

 

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Red Station

  1. Grocery

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Seoul Shopping Center is situated just beside Kubo Grill. Going there is like a taste of Korea as it is packed with Korean products – from ice cream, snacks, souvenirs, and soju to cooking ingredients such as dried sheets of sea weed, crab meat and some vegetables.

  1. KTV 
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Photo by Johnson

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Source: thepennut.wordpress.com

Everybody loves a good entertainment and going to karaoke is always on the list. Luckily, there’s a KTV called Apple located at The Zone Vill Condominium which has a song list that caters Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and English songs. Enjoy an hour of singing for only Php 400. You may also opt to buy beverage at the counter as well as snacks. Perfect for group hang out!

If you plan to explore Legarda Road, you can go there from Monol by taxi or jeepney and get off across Baguio City Hall. This area is ideal for Friday night, just be sure to come back at the academy before midnight!