Showing posts with label La Trinidad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label La Trinidad. Show all posts

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Baguio, Benguet & Tarlac: Back to Metro Manila

Today was the last day of our road trip. We got up just in time for the complimentary breakfast at Villa Cordillera. Eating at the hotel restaurant Le Terrace is always a great experience since the panoramic view of the pine tree-covered hill behind the hotel is very relaxing to the senses. After paying our hotel bill, we were off to La Trinidad's strawberry fields.

Right beside the boundary arch between Baguio City and La Trinidad is the entrance of one of Baguio's hidden secrets, a Chinese temple called Bell Church. Not many people know about it since it's quite far from all the other city attractions. And today, it is easily obscured by all the urban chaos that sadly accumulated along the way to La Trinidad. We decided to stopover for a few minutes to check it out.

It's my second time to visit the strawberry fields in two weeks. Picking strawberries was a bit cheaper this time around at PHP150 a kilo. The price of those sold by the vendors was the same too and I got several kilos of strawberries for PHP70 each. We had lunch at Kalei's. The place and ambiance is much better that where Jolly Yan is located. And the food, just as affordable with its "meat plus meat" at PHP50. But I still think the home-cooked meals of Jolly Yan are worth the visit.

After lunch, we left Doc Ryan in La Trinidad and began our trip back to Metro Manila via Kennon Road. For most people, since the trip back to Manila is relatively long and tiring, they just keep on driving as fast as they could down Kennon Road. And as a result, we rarely notice the scenery along the route. I'm sure we've all seen the waterfalls along the route. But have you ever stopped to check them out up close?

Bridal Veil Falls actually caught our fancy since there was a pedestrian suspension bridge that connected it to Kennon Road. So we parked the car in front of a store and crossed the makeshift bridge. Below us was a mountain stream that emptied into a vast riverbed further down the road. I guess the falls got its name from the fact that it resembled a bridal veil as the water cascaded down the smoothened rock into a small pool.

I really think that the entire length of Kennon Road should be declared a protected cultural landscape because most of the scenic route - the picturesque view of the mountains, lush vegetation and pine trees - is still intact. There is a need to regulate the construction of new structures in order to protect the historical fabric of our country's oldest mountain road which was completed in 1905. I hope the National Historical Institute or the National Museum act fast before it's too late.

Anyway, we finally crossed the Benguet-La Union boundary and just a few kilometers away, the boundary of Pangasinan. I had to pass by Rosales for a while to talk with the mayor. I was pleasantly surprised that the restoration of the old municipal hall was finally complete. Unlike other towns such as Moncada, Tarlac which bastardized their elegant colonial-era town halls, Rosales chose to preserve theirs. In fact, even the pre-war statues of a farmer on a carabao with his wife were rehabilitated and repainted, bringing out the vivid colors that were very chic during the pre-war days.

Our last stop for the day was the Isdaan Resaurant in Gerona. This one is an attraction in itself. I congratulate the owners for such a great concept. If you've heard of the Tacsiyapo Wall (tacsiyapo is a Kapampangan expletive), you can find it here. From cups at PHP15, to clocks and working television sets, customers can purchase these items to hurl at a wall to release their anger. On the wall, several target words are painted such as 5/6, ex-wife, professors and classmates; sugal, alak and babae; boss, managers, and supervisors; and many others.

The food is a bit pricey though and expect to spend at least PHP200 per head. But you go here for the experience. And the food is great too. We ordered Innapoy rice rolls for our appetizer which was suman with longganiza, bakang maanghang and chicken curry in it. It's something new and I really liked it. For dinner, we had binalot rice meals. Anyway, after this dinner stopover, we continued our trip back to Manila.

I have class tomorrow and a report at that so I guess I'll just be home preparing for it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Benguet: The strawberry fields of La Trinidad

After an exhausting day the other day, and since I was on vacation, I decided to wake up late yesterday. Ching was up early since she had errands to do and meet some friends too. At 10 a.m., I passed by for her and Joyce at the Baguio Cathedral and from there, we drove to La Trinidad, Benguet to check out the strawberry fields of the Benguet State University.

We easily found the place. You simply made a left in front of the last gate of BSU where a large sign pointed you towards the strawberry fields. We had planned to pick strawberries but since a lot of people had visited the day before, all the ripe strawberries had been harvested already. If you picked your own strawberries, the price at that time was PHP200 per kilo. Anyway, we just walked around the fields and took photos.

Of course, the strawberries there were relatively cheap since they were in season and you were buying them at the source. One kilo of small strawberries was just PHP60. I got the larger strawberries for PHP80 a kilo. There were really large choice strawberries at PHP100 a kilo. I regret not buying more to take back to the lowlands.

The day before, while waiting for the parade, we had strawberry flavored taho on the street. Taho vendors added strawberry bits and syrup to it. In the BSU area, the sorbetero naturally had strawberry ice cream with strawberry bits. Yummy! I also bought a serving of fresh pinipig (or duman to us Kapampangans) which I had been munching on since this morning.

From the strawberry fields, we went the Benguet Provincial Capitol to meet up with Ryan. Before lunch, he brought us to the store of the Entrepreneurial Project of BSU to buy some local treats.

Aside from the staple peanut brittle, strawberry jam and ube jam (their ube jam is quite popular), you had pure arabica mountain coffee (PHP50 for 250g); honey products such as creamed honey, raw beepollen and propolis, and honey wine with herbs; yacon and bignay wine; yacon and lemon grass herbal tea, powdered roasted soybean drink; chayote champoy, santol candy and pineapple-papaya jam among others.

We then walked across the street to this hole-in-the-wall type of place for lunch at the Strawberry Fields Arcade at Gladiola Center in front of BSU. Jolly Yan Meals is hidden in one corner but people flock to it since meals are cheap but tasty. The “meat plus meat” package (two meat dishes or your choice) served with mountain rice and soup was just PHP45. Another option was “meat plus veggie” just for PHP35.

Anyway, I had to rush back to Pampanga to do some work. So after our trip to the store, we drove down via Kennon Road since we wanted to check out the scenery. Kennon Road is actually a heritage road and its stunning natural scenery should be protected from unsightly urbanization and vandalism.

And sadly, election graffiti was all over the place. Shame on ANC party for painting their initials on every single rock along the road! Same goes to candidates Defensor, Osmena and Pimentel whose names are also painted all over. Mike Defensor even has his non-biodegradable paraphernalia nailed to trees! I hope the Comelec acts on this immediately and issues an ultimatum to candidates and parties to remove the paint before other candidates follow suit as a result of their inaction. Let’s spare Kennon Road and the environment around it from all this election trash!

More photos in Multiply.
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