Nine years ago, we were blessed with a smart and talented baby girl. Now, she wants to see the world, with visiting London topping her list. But first, we fulfilled her wish to go strawberry picking in Baguio City, Benguet, Philippines.
Nine Years Old
Our eldest daughter Shawna turned 9 and one of the items in her bucket list is to experience strawberry picking in Baguio City. I know the strawberry farms in Benguet are in La Trinidad, but it is easier to reference Baguio City.
As we are a family committed to homeschooling in Bacolod, part of our curriculum involves travel. These need not be expensive or frequent, but the itinerary and activities are always intentional. We work around maximizing learning and having a fun family adventure.
For our 5-day trip to Baguio City, we never set foot in the mall, just a local grocery store to buy milk for the kids. This birthday trip was a time of discovery.
What to do in Baguio City
Our family trip was carefully considered because we have two kids of different ages. We have to keep both safe, interested, rested, and also well-nourished. These are three main things to consider when having a family trip, like our Hong Kong vacation and subsequent two days in Hong Kong Disneyland.
Our primary purpose for our trip was strawberry picking in La Trinidad, a neighboring municipality. We arranged an hourly rate with a taxi driver. We agreed on P300 per hour. Strawberry picking is P450 per kilo, which includes a basket and the experience.
Two Baskets of Strawberries
Since we have two kids, the staff allowed us to carry two baskets for picking. But we only paid for 1 kilo.
All in all, we stayed there for 30 minutes. It was 10am and was very hot. If you bring kids, it is best to apply sunblock especially on their face. I put some SPF 50 sunblock on the kids, especially their noses.
The strawberry farms are open from 7am to 6pm, so you may want to visit there early in the morning or in the afternoon.
After the strawberry picking, we had the best, creamiest, and the fruitiest strawberry ice cream. And it’s only P30 on a sugar cone! Don’t miss it on the way out of the strawberry farms. Someone should market this artisanal ice cream all over the Philippines!
When we visit a place, we try to give the kids a taste or a glimpse of the culture of the city or province. And the best places to go to would be the museums. They learn so much knowledge in museums, whatever subject it covers.
So first up in Baguio City was the Baguio Museum, which was located at Dot-PTA Complex, Governor Pack Road. Entrance is only P40 for adults and P10 for elementary school kids.
The Baguio Museum is quite small and it took us only about 40 minutes to leisurely finish the entire three-level exhibit. But we were able to explain to Dindin the different facets of life in Benguet. The kids were also able to appreciate the three scale models of Baguio City that showed how the place developed from 1909 to 2009. You could see how Baguio City was a vast forest in 1909 and how it has become an urban center. This exhibit is located on the second level.
Another cultural exposure trip was at the Tam-awan Village (Garden in the Sky), located at Long Long Benguet Rd. The whole park was re-created using original Igorot huts. This gave us a glimpse of the lifestyle of the Igorot because of how their houses looked.
A guide explains the different huts on display. There are many areas where you have to go up and down the steep outdoor stairs. Also, have mosquito repellent handy, as there are mosquitoes in the dense gardens.
Art Gallery Visit
Since this is Baguio City and home to National Artist of the Philippines Ben Cabrera, we wouldn’t miss a visit to the BenCab Museum. It’s located at 6 Asin Rd, Tuba, 2602 Benguet. We did this because Din also paints and loves art. She could draw inspiration from the different works there.
I have seen the pictures of the BenCab Museum on the internet but it’s different when you are there. It has the feels of the Getty Museum that I have visited in Los Angeles, California. It features the works of the national artist plus it has become a venue for other artists to showcase their art.
The best thing in the entire experience was meeting Mr. BenCab himself at the cafe. I mustered enough courage to ask him for a photo opp with the kids and he kindly obliged.
So aside from museum visits and cultural exposure, we went around the city, the public market, and the Burnham Park. They sat at the Burnham Park and ate a local snack called taho, which is made of soya beans, tapioca balls, and syrup. But since we are in Baguio City, they not only have regular taho but strawberry and ube taho as well.
We allowed them to be kids, to play with the other local kids at Mine’s View Park. Our daughters can just make friends wherever they are. It’s heartwarming to hear local kids trying their best to talk in English just to play with them.
They are breaking the stigma of the socialization part of homeschooling that worries many people. The girls are able to socialize and hold their own among kids and grown ups.
We had some breaks in our schedule so we just let them play. Picking up pine cones and needles at Camp John Hay, they got their hands dirty. We just wiped them off until our ride was ready for our next destination.
Being Kiddie Tourists
Whenever we travel, we try to have fun while learning. We cannot shake the fact that they are kids and would enjoy fun breaks. Here are some other fun activities we had.
Dindin and Shane both enjoy horseback rides and so we didn’t miss a visit to the Wright Park for horseback riding. Dindin’s horse had a pink-colored mane. What a lovely experience it is for a little girl.
The rate is P400 per hour so we just paid for 30 minutes for each of them. What was nice about the horseback riding was that it was around a trail in a forest of pines.
While the Wright Park has some animal smells, I appreciate the fact that a stand by cleaner sweeps the trail after the horses make a mess.
From the Wright Park, we took the short but really exhausting climb to The Mansion. The distance was only 500 meters but going up the steep hill can make you breathless. When we reached The Mansion, we just had the mandatory photo opp.
The Mansion is not open to the public.
A trip to Baguio City would not be complete without having a photo wearing Igorot costumes. There are many areas where you can rent Igorot costumes, such as Mine’s View Park, Lion’s Head at Kennon Road, and Burnham Park.
We did our Igorot photo shoot at Burnham Park and didn’t have to pay for costume rental. We only had to pay P10 per shot in our camera while wearing our costumes. Since we used only four shots, that amounted to P40. I gave the attendant P50 because she labored to dress us. It’s so nice that the tourism industry of Baguio doesn’t take advantage of tourists.
But if you want a souvenir print, it’s going to be P75.
Boating and Pedal Go-Kart
A lot of our activities center on play. We believe that fun experiences help kids learn. At the Burnham Park, we were able to do many things.
Boating in their lagoon. There are several boating operators there, each with a differently designed boat. Boat rental is P150 per 30 minutes. If you prefer the pedal swan boat, it’s P200 for 30 minutes. You may hire somebody to row the boat for you. But our dad preferred to do the rowing.
We also let the kids ride pedal go-kart. Rental was P50 for 30 minutes.
Lion’s Head Photo Opp
We are thankful to have hitched a ride with our cousin Caleb to Baguio City, so we were able to pass by Kennon Road. We stopped over the Lion’s Head at the entrance of the city and had our photo opp. You can have your Igorot costume photos here, too.
Most of the time, a stop here may be missed because it’s out of the way if you’re commuting.
The best part was their strawberry taho. It was soooo good for P20 and had lots of whole candied strawberries in it. Dindin exclaimed that it’s the best part of the day because the taho was sooo good.
We passed by Kamiseta Hotel to check out the place. It turns out they have the Vanilla Cafe where we had cupcakes and a lot of photo opportunities.
Local Food Appreciation
We introduce the kids to different cuisines because their parents are food trippers. We visited homegrown restaurants and ordered Cordilleran food. Dindin especially liked the chocolate at Tsokolateria, the pork sausage with red rice at Cafe Yagam, and also the Vigan longganisa at Choco-late de Batirol. She also tried dipping strawberries in her hot chocolate.
And of course, strawberry taho!
Cafe in the Sky
We had a special trip to the famous Cafe in the Sky. It wasn’t much food appreciation but of the place. Sitting 3,000 meters above sea level, it was pretty cold up there and we got a nice view of the valley below.
Bell Church and Valley of Colors
Since they are on our way to La Trinidad, we let the taxi stop at the Bell Church and the Valley of Colors for a quick photo opp.
Thankfully, we missed the shooting of Coco Martin in the area, otherwise it would have been very crowded.
Baguio Country Club
We had an overnight stay at the Baguio Country Club, courtesy of our cousins Hansel and Hollan. That was a much-needed break in the middle of a hectic week. This iconic hotel is already more than a hundred years old but it’s well-maintained. It speaks much of the legacy of the Americans in Baguio City.
Attending a Birthday Party
One of the reasons we went to Baguio City was because it’s the 1st birthday of our niece, Zoey. The celebration was held at the Hotel Supreme Convention Plaza, located at Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City.
We stayed mostly at the home of our cousins so the kids had a great play times with their young second generation cousins.
The highlight of our Baguio City trip is, of course, Din’s birthday. We quietly celebrated with cousins and a few friends at the Tsokolateria, located at the Igorot Stairs, Upper Session Road.
Din had a lovely fondant unicorn cake by Cassandro’s Catering and Cakery, which was ordered for us by Baguio blogger Ane Fallarme. We would also like to thank Ms. Grace Bermejo of the Happy Concept Group for facilitating our reservations at Tsokolateria. We really enjoyed their chocolate creations!
This about sums up Din’s 5-day Baguio City birthday adventure. The only thing we missed doing is playing mini golf at Baguio Country Club. It would have been a really nice experience for her, as she is practicing to be a jungolfer.
We are all liking the idea of traveling as a family for her birthday. Too bad we are not sure if we can do it on Siobe’s birthday, as August is usually rainy. But, we can hope.
Happy 9th Birthday, Dindin!
How to Get to Baguio from Bacolod
Travelers from Bacolod City or Negros Occidental now have easy access to Baguio City because of this new route from Cebu Pacific. The carrier now offers daily flights from the Bacolod-Silay Airport to Clark. Read more: Cebu Pacific Flies Bacolod to Clark for North and Central Luzon