coffee

BAGUIO 2015 (Panagbenga)

Panagbenga is the annual flower festival held in the City of Pines. People flock the province to see the grandiose floats and dance parades. Participants came from different municipalities in the north.

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It was a month-long celebration but I was only there, with my friends, during the weekend when the grand dance and float parade will take place (Feb 28 Sat and Mar 1 Sun, respectively).

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After the morning parade, we did a┬áside trip to BenCab┬áMuseum. It’s one of the famous attractions in Baguio and it certainly did not disappoint! After going around the three-storey exhibit, you should relax and eat at Cafe Sabel. Great food with a stunning view!

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We saw the whole grand dance parade but missed on the float festival the next day. We woke up a little late from the previous night’s craft beer tasting. Instead, we went to Camp John Hay for breakfast.

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After an underwhelming meal at Tsokolate de Batirol, we went to Session Road and spent a few hours in Patch Cafe of Bloomfields Hotel. Their Caramel Macchiato and New York Cheesecake are divine!

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Before heading home, we stopped by the local market to buy pasalubong. I didn’t plan on buying too many but ended up carrying almost 10 kilos of vegetables, fruits and jams.

I wrote on my planner that I need to go back next year to finish what I started this year. I need to witness the grand float parade! Hopefully I’d be able to get better accommodation next year.

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TIP: Make sure everything is ready at least 1-2 months in advance to avoid hassle. Victory Liner in Manila doesn’t sell roundtrip bus tickets though. As soon as you arrive in Baguio, buy your tickets immediately for your trip back to Manila.

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It was the summer of 2008 when I first set foot in this place which is located just almost near the north end of Roxas Boulevard in Manila. Since then, it has been my third home. My refuge. My haven.

It is still clear in my mind the very first time I went here. It was a scorching hot weekday and a venti frappuccino was really a great refreshment. I was with my ‘superfriend’, a high school friend whom I never got to hang out with anymore since college started. I fell in love with the place right away. Seriously, just after I had my first sip in a comfortable couch in that two-floor shop, I knew that this place would be a home for me.

And I was right. College started and this coffee house with all its friendly baristas and jazzy music has been a haven for me and for some of my friends. We had spent hours here working on Algebra and Statistics problems, English and History papers, Econometrics models and a lot other school shitloads. It has also been a place where we celebrate and just chill whenever school permits us to, a destination after school.

But above all those, this place has been my refuge – like my evacuation area whenever I’ve been devastated by a great typhoon or like a concert hall every time I want to reward myself for a job well done. It has been a place to crash for me. Well, almost.

Now that I got to think of that three years of good and bad memories I had in this humble place, I can’t help but be nostalgic about how it has witnessed my transformation as a man. I remember all those people I shared a table and a cup of coffee with. Some of them are still here but most are gone. It’s a lot to take. I look in every spot here – couches, tables, corners – and I still clearly remember some unforgettable moments with those people who had been here with me.

Now, I’m about to finish college. And I am still here. Somebody told me that I need a new environment because of the present situations in my life. But no matter what happens, I will still be coming back here. I don’t care if I’ll be sitting all by myself or with somebody new. It’s a part of me. This is my home. My refuge. My haven.