Friday, July 29, 2016

Walking in Baguio: Mines View Park to Teachers' Camp and Back Again

A footpath at Wright Park

It sure feels good to be back in Baguio and walk along its roads and parks. There's really something refreshing about this city, especially if you need a break from the skyscrapers, crowded streets, and bumper-to-bumper traffic of Manila.

For this morning's walk, I started at the little rotunda at the other end of F. Torres Street near Mines View Park. Down Moran to Arellano Street and downhill again to J. Felipe via Baltazar Street. This brought me to Romulo Drive.

No overlaps! View the MapMyWalk details here.

Baltazar Street. The brick/brown building is the Philippine Treasures factory.
When I got to Wright Park across the Mansion, I took one of the footpaths that cuts across the grassy area. Wright Park is popular for its horses, and I suppose few know that there's this nice tree-filled park on the hill.

It's a really nice place, but it's disappointing to see pieces of trash here and there. I mean, why couldn't people hold on to their trash for a few more meters and dispose of it once they see a garbage bin? It's such a simple thing!

Anyway, once you emerge from the path, you'll find yourself wanting to join these ladies at their taebo session. Perhaps I will, one of these days.

I took the stairs down to the horseback riding area and saw one of the city's famed St. Bernard dogs waiting for fans to arrive and take a photo with him (her?).

Top three tourist places where you can buy potted plants in the city: the Orchidarium, Mines View Park, and Wright Park.

After Wright Park I continued along Romulo Drive toward Pacdal Circle and to Leonard Wood Road, and went in to Teachers' Camp, my turning point. I jogged whenever I could -- it was a downhill journey, anyway.

The track oval at Teachers Camp. I was able to try it out one summer morning several years ago and remembered how nice it felt then.

At Teachers' Camp Road going up to South Drive, I started to gain some elevation back, so I picked up my pace to make the most of the cardio workout. Yup, it's time to go back uphill! I jog-walked South Drive going to the corner of Ilusorio/Baguio Country Club Road and made my way to Outlook Drive (which seems to be unofficially the "practice driving road" in the city).

Mt. Sto. Tomas + Mt. Cabuyao (with the two radiotransmitters/ "ra-dar" in these here parts) viewed from Outlook Drive. The forested area is Camp John Hay.
I continued going up Outlook Drive. I stopped for a bit at Kiwi's Bread and Pastry Shop, but they didn't have pan de sal yet, so I just went ahead to Mines View Park, where I stopped my tracker and got a bit of rest before heading home.

Weather: bright and sunny. A cap is a must-have.
Note to self: if you're wanting to walk 6K (or more), Laurie, better start early!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Walking in Quezon City: La Mesa Ecopark

La Mesa Ecopark

When I went home to Quezon City a few days ago, I took the opportunity to visit one of my favorite haunts, the La Mesa Ecopark in Fairview. I'm lucky to live near the park, a 15-minute (leisurely) walk from my house. When I'm there it doesn't feel like I'm in the city at all!

Entrance to the park is free for both folks on foot and bikers before the park starts its operations at 8 in the morning. It's an awesome place to spend the early morning in. I enjoyed my walk immensely -- that is, until I had to leave and walk along the main road (Commonwealth Avenue) again. :P

Weather: Bright and sunny! I had a slight tan when I got home (I have a bad habit of not putting sunscreen. I rarely put anything on my skin when I go out for walks, because I'd feel sticky-sweaty after a few minutes plus I don't want to attract insects.). Also, I love the early morning sun. :)

I went off-road for this one!See the details of my walk here.
I started tracking my "journey" (using MapMyWalk) from Mercury Drug (across Puregold North Commonwealth). There's an alley a few steps away that takes you into East Fairview. I took the Dunhill Street route and soon enough, I found myself at the entrance to the park. (I also used to walk along all of the streets in that area - it's a really nice village!)

La Mesa Ecopark
If you're wanting a good cardio/leg day workout, take the steps up the flower terraces. Once you arrive at the top, refrain from taking photos of the reservoir (it's not allowed). You can look all you want, of course! Then, turn around for this view:
La Mesa Ecopark
Go back down, and climb up again if you want ;)

La Mesa Ecopark
The picturesque lagoon

The park also has a nature/fitness trail that lets you leave the pavement for a while and walk underneath the trees. The paths crisscross at some points, and if you don't pay attention to where you're going, you might find yourself walking in circles :P

One of the paths in the nature trail.
The nature trail is a great place for those who are only just starting with trail running, especially if they don't mind literally running around in circles! :)

La Mesa Ecopark
The view along one of the paths
La Mesa Ecopark
La Mesa Ecopark
The amphitheater, viewed from the nature trail's trailhead.
resident kitty
*wonders about the myth/creation story here* 

Before 8 a.m. I left the park and walked to where Commonwealth intersected with Regalado Avenue. I'd seen a shop there that sells toys, and I checked it out and bought some plastic balls for our dogs before heading home. Took a jeepney ride because the heat had started to irritate me and I've begun to feel tired (or hungry, or both). All in all it was a nice walk, one I would do again (mental note: start earlier when it's cooler).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Walking in Baguio: South Drive to SM

I've long wanted to take a stroll along South Drive--not too many vehicles pass along that road (during off-peak season, that is) and there aren't that many establishments, either.

I actually started my walk at around 9:48 a.m. from Mines View Park going down Outlook Drive but I forgot to turn on my tracking app (I use MapMyWalk). I waited until I was in front of The Mansion to start tracking.

Route: Mines View Park - Outlook Drive - Romulo Drive - Pacdal Circle - Park Road - right to South Drive - Upper Session Road - SM Baguio

Going to SM via jeepney from my starting point usually takes around 20 minutes (with traffic) via Leonard Wood Road. Fare is Php 10. Via taxi, fare is usually around Php 75.

Weather: Overcast, with the sun peeking at times.

 Wright Park/The Mansion to SM Baguio route
Wright Park/The Mansion to SM via South Drive
Click to see the details of my walk!

Since I started out kinda late, I didn't think I would still see joggers, but there they were running uphill (you guys rock!). Strolling along South Drive was really nice, and generally safe in daytime except for the few spots--just a couple of meters--where there was no sidewalk to speak of. 

I initially planned to head over to the Baguio Museum for a look-see. I confess I haven't been there at all (perhaps when I was younger? Will have to ask my parents, haha). Shame I've been living in Baguio a year but yeah, there are still plenty of places I haven't visited.

Aside from an umbrella, I brought along a light jacket (just in case, because when you're in Baguio in July the weather can change dramatically over the course of an hour), my on-the-go sketching kit (for drawing museum stuff and whatnot), and a few other essentials (money, wet wipes). I didn't bring water because I didn't think I'd be thirsty and I was going to town anyway.

South Drive, Baguio City
South Drive, near the Lutheran Theological Seminary

When I got to Upper Session Road, I started to feel hungry. I had a light breakfast of oats, but I guess it all got burned up pretty quickly. I checked my watch--almost 11. Hmm. How about having lunch first before heading to the museum? So I stopped my tracker and headed to the mall. :P

So I had lunch (Japanese), bought a magazine from Booksale (Monocle), checked out some Sandugo trail shoes (I'm eyeing the Mudtrax), paid my rent, bought the week's Baguio Chronicle, and walked along Session Road to the jeepney terminal for a ride home.

I saved the museum trip for another day. Heading there on foot will be another reason to walk along South Drive, anyway.

Monday, July 11, 2016

One foot in front of the other

"A walk?" said Catharine.
"One foot in front of the other," said Newt, "through leaves, over bridges---"
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Long Walk To Forever 

This morning as I was having coffee, I debated with myself.

"You haven't worked out."
"It's been raining. I've been waking up late because work."
"Then do yoga."
"I know. But I'm not in the mood."
"You should go for a walk, then."
"It's raining."
"You can bring an umbrella."
"Sounds ok. Where should I go?"
"Go to town."
"Or Camp John Hay. I can time myself."
"Yeah, but there'll be another day for that. Go to town, buy Baguio Chronicle."
"Remember when I walked from town to Mines View?"*
"Of course."

It was at this point when I realized I can take up a suggestion made in the Walk Happy group in Facebook: take note of the time it takes to get from one point to another on foot. I already know the average time it takes for me to get from Mines View to Wright Park (around 17-20 minutes, downhill), so why not add to the documentation? The thought made me giddy.

Initially I thought to just make a quick blog post about my "new venture," but the ambitious side of me had bigger plans. Why not start a blog about walking? Not just documenting where, how far, and how fast I've walked, but everything about the experience?

So here we are. Welcome to Walkdays with Laurie, where I'll be sharing my thoughts, experiences, observations, and everything in between about walking.

Walk with me?

*Another story for another post. :)