Friday, April 20, 2012

Summer is definitely more fun with NIVEA SUN! My top summer wonder is Baguio City

I grew up with the idea that Baguio as synonymous to summer.  For me Baguio is to summer as North Pole is to Christmas.

I just love this place not only because it’s my favorite destination during this time of the year but also for the fact that every trip to this friendly and accommodating city brings new unforgettable moments. It’s my home far away from home and that is why it’s my top summer wonder.

You know it’s summer when your neighbor gives you a broom (or a figurine of a man in a barrel) as pasalubong, canisters of peanut brittle go rounds in your office courtesy of your boss, or your friend prepared you a strawberry jam sandwich one afternoon you visited him.  You don’t need a degree to tell that just a few days ago, those guys were actually basking the below 20 degree Celsius fine weather of you know where.

Baguio deserves to be recognized as one of the Summer Wonders in the country.  It’s moniker says it’s all: The Summer Capital of the Philippines.  Also known as the City of Pines, Baguio is gifted with a variety of cultural, historical and scenic attractions that makes it a favorite destination for both local and foreign tourists.  Now, what makes Baguio a unique summer wonder is that it is actually the home to popular summer wonders that are simply must-visits.  Here are my personal choices for the top 7 Wonders of Baguio City (and also the reasons why Baguio is my top summer wonder).

Burnham Park. Dubbed as the “Mother of all Parks” in Baguio, this tourist spot has an attraction in every corner. Built around it are the majestic Baguio Cathedral, the city market and the commercial center Session Road.  I am pretty sure that somewhere in your old photo albums (or Facebook albums, perhaps, you have a picture riding on a boat at Burnham Lake. Wanna bet? :)

Baguio Cathedral.  Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral is located on top of Mount Mary hill in the heart of the city.  Its striking rose-colored structure, richly-decorated inside and twin spires makes it one of the country’s most beautiful architectural structures.  When you’re up there, you’ll be treated to a wonderful bird’s eye view of Session Road and the city’s landscape.  Now if you have a  fear of heights like me, the better!  This will make you pray more and harder inside the church.

The Lourdes Grotto. This is another popular Catholic shrine and place of meditation in Baguio. It is located on a high hill in the western part of the city where you will find the image of the Lady of Lourdes, a favorite pilgrimage site during Holy Week.  Access to the top of the grotto could be made by driving a light vehicle through a winding, narrow and steep asphalt-paved road or by a challenging yet exciting way--- climbing the 252 steps.  When you’re up there, it feels like you don’t wanna leave (I hope it’s not because of the 252 steps again to go down).

Session Road. It is Baguio City’s main thoroughfare and commercial center with a variety of shops and establishments lining each side.  If you miss the lights and sounds the metropolis during your stay in Baguio, you’ll have a dose and more at Session Road either by shopping in Baguio City Market or in a big mall on Luneta Hill or stepping into the many restaurants and bars lining the street.  And of course, your visit in the city is never complete if you were not able to get a Prada, Gucci or a Benetton from the ukay-ukay stores.

Camp John Hay.  Arguably the most popular visitor attraction of Baguio City.  With its pinetree-lined roads, amazing landscaping, quaint cottages and wide open spaces, this beautiful resort in the mountains also features a world class Jack Niclaus-designed golf course, hotels and other got-to-see tourist spots.  And if you’re lucky, you might meet here Manny Pacquiao doing a run around.  Err... I mean training for a fight.

The Mansion.  This official summer residence of the President of the Philippines is located along C.P. Romulo Drive. Here’s a useless trivia you might not know: The Mansion is actually older than Baguio City.  It was built in 1908 as the summer home of US Governor Generals.  With its rich history and appealing structure, this landmark is also one of the most photograph places in Baguio.  Just a little reminder, you can do planking here but please no Noynoying.... Ordered by The Management.

Mines View Park.  Although the main attraction of the park nowadays are the commercial activities such as the souvenir and silverworks stores by the park or a stop at the Good Shepherd Convent for the famous ube jam (yum yum yum), you’ll still get that undefined feeling while in this ridge where you’ll witness the spectacular view of Benguet’s gold and copper mines and the Cordillera mountains.  Don’t you ever dare asked me if I wore a bahag and carried shield and spear for a photo op because... yes, I did!

Wright Park, Botanical Garden, Bell Church and other attractions could still be included but I decided to keep this short list. I want to invite you to discover or rediscover why Baguio is a top summer wonder in our country and for you to make your own list.

While many of us would love to take a dip in the refreshing waters offered by beaches and resorts around the archipelago, I prefer to engaged in a long road trip to this place were some of my wonderful childhood memories still lives on.   I just feel that my first boat ride, horse-back ride and hill climb were all very memorable experiences in my life because they all happened in Baguio, my top summer wonder!    

Join the on-going Nivea Philippines 7 Summer Wonders contest on FB and get a chance to win NIVEA Sun gift packs, Charina Sarte swimwear, SONY products or a trip for 2 to the Ultimate Summer Wonder! Just click to join and vote now!

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