Thursday, 31 March 2016

Spending The Holy Week In Baguio City

Spending The Holy Week In Baguio City

        It was dawn when we were cruising the North Luzon Expressway on our way to Baguio City for the Holy Week. Sunlight was beginning to appear in the sky. And everyone took notice of the rose pink light of dawn. In a little while, majestic Mount Arayat, where goddess Maria Sinukuan reigns supreme, loomed on the horizon. The vast open fields, with mist making the grass greener, were a feast for the eyes.

       Sans traffic, sans trouble, we made it to the City of Pines a little past 8 a.m. and proceeded right away to a cozy restaurant near Brent Road for our breakfast. Walking past a parked vintage VW, we took the table nearest the bar. The place obviously had a retro theme. Bar stools, black booth seats, posters of a bygone era and a vintage jukebox could be seen. We tried Pancake Sandwich and found it to be satisfying. Looking through the clear glass panel, volume of vehicles started increasing, what with the arrival of more visitors from the lowlands.

       Baguio City is a favorite destination of tourists or travelers wanting to escape the scorching heat in the lowlands and, at the same time, spend some time visiting churches during the Holy Week. Most visited places during Semana Santa are the Lourdes Grotto Chapel, Baguio Cathedral, Saint Joseph Church near Wright Park, Pink Sisters Convent and Chapel, St. Vincent Church and Lourdes Church on Kisad Road. Of course, places like Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Wright Park, Strawberry Fields in La Trinidad, Session Road and Camp John Hay are included in the not-to-be-missed places to visit. Almost all hotels and inns are fully booked and stores and restaurants are raking in money.

      It was 1:30 pm of Maundy Thursday when we left the city proper and started descending Marcos Highway. There was a drizzle as thick fog enveloped the wide highway, prompting drivers to switch on their yellow lights. After several minutes, after crossing the long bridge, the light rain stopped and the fog disappeared. The sun was visible as we continued our travel down the highway. At the Rosario Junction, northbound vehicles were at a standstill. From Rosario junction, it extended to the town of Pozzorubio in Pangasinan. As the southbound lane traffic was moving, it was easy travel for us. We turned right at the main road near the Caltex station in Pozzorubio for the last leg of our 2016 Holy Week travel to the North-- a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag.

- Konted

                                Our bantam service vehicle making it to the top without trouble and with plenty to spare.                                                      
Kennon Road as seen from the Viewpoint

50's Diner at Leonard Wood Road near Brent Road in Baguio City

Single pedestal stools at the bar

Black booth seats that match the black and white tiles

Vintage jukebox


Pancake Sandwich


Corned beef with fired egg

Satisfied diners 

The Pink Sisters Convent and Chapel on Brent Road

Complete silence is observed at all times inside the chapel. The Pink Sisters spend most of their time praying and meditating. Anyone may write his prayer intentions on a piece of paper which he drops at a designated box. The Pink Sisters then do the praying.

Statues of Saint Arnold Janssen, founder of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters (Pink Sisters) and another Society of Divine Word (SVD) missionary St. Joseph Freinademetz.

In front of the convent

Previously owned by the rich Laperal family, the Laperal White House was built in the early 1900s. Paranormal sightings or apparitions have been reported.

The Laperal White House is located along Leonard Wood Road near Teachers Camp. The Japanese Imperial Army forcibly occupied it during WWII. Tortures, beheadings and other atrocities were common occurrences during the war. The place is now owned by Chinese Filipino businessman Lucio Tan.
The magnificent structure of Baguio Cathedral. Its actual name is the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral. It was built by the Belgian Fathers.

The Crucifixion of Jesuss Christ was the supreme act of atonement. It was an act of redemption for the sins of mankind.

Members of the Baguio Police Force stationed near the main gate of Baguio Cathedral

Holiday Park Hotel near Burnham Park. Almost all hotels and inns are fully booked during the Holy Week.

At the lobby of Holiday Park Hotel

Mile Hi Center inside Camp John Hay

This used to be the Commissary of the American Forces.

Designer Rack outlet

At the Commissary

Mile Hi Diner is famous for its burgers.

The golf course at Camp John Hay is world-class. It was designed by Golden Bear International.
Lourdes Grotto on Dominican Hill Road near Naguilian Road in Baguio City

You have to climb 252 steps to reach the shrine.

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Chapel

Strawberry Farm at La Trinidad, Benguet

Sweet Strawberries for sale at La Trinidad, Benguet

Haggling with the vendor

The Broom Lady

Small potatoes

Sundot Kulangot

Thick fog envelopes a wide area of Marcos Highway

A non-airconditioned Victory Liner bus negotiates a steep ascent with headlights on.

Focused on driving

It is back to normal at the lower portion of Marcos Highway.