Monday, August 29, 2016

Walking in Baguio: Mile Hi Center to Baguio Cathedral

Camp John Hay
Some of the trees in Camp John Hay

This is part two of my Sunday walk (part one's here). All in all, I walked a little over 7 kilometers.
I was in Mile Hi in Camp John Hay looking through store windows (some of the shops were still closed), watching in awe at runners sprinting through the rain, and waiting for the downpour to stop, or at least lessen in intensity.

After a few minutes I finally decided to make good use of my umbrella so I could continue on with my journey to town via Loakan Road

A few meters past Mile Hi I remembered I had planned to test out my new Sandugo Eiger shoes on the ground, so I crossed the street and climbed up the little hill at the corner of Scout Hill Drive and Ordonio.

There's an oft-used footpath there (it's lined with rocks) and with the rain pouring down, I knew the area would be perfect for me to see how my shoes would hold up against mud, wet pine bristles, grass, tree roots, and of course, water running down the hill.

I paused my tracker and, umbrella in one hand and phone in the other, proceeded to look like someone hunting for Pok√©mon observe how my shoes behaved on the wet ground. I wrote about my first impressions on the Sandugo Eiger here.

Walked with wet socks on!
Details here.

When I had finished with my mini-test, I squished (anyone who's ever walked with wet shoes and socks on will understand) my way back toward Ordonio Drive and turned right at Loakan. Good thing my shoes had mesh uppers and drain ports so the squishy feeling didn't last long, but my socks were still wet. I shrugged it off and told myself, Well, you wanted to know.

It took a lot of willpower to stop myself from checking out R.O.X. and possibly wanting to buy things I don't need right now. What helped me look straight ahead is the thought that someday when I'm stronger and more capable of taking the trails on, that's when I'll reward myself with something to motivate me to move forward to the next level. For now, the basics, and hey, buy local whenever you can!

So, back to my walk. Somewhere along Loakan I got hungry, so I took out one of my snacks (some form of bread with custard filling) and relished the feeling of being able to eat while walking. This is awesome, I thought. I can do this every day.

It was my first time walking along this part of Loakan, so I enjoyed taking my time to look around. In a moving car you hardly get to see things for more than a second or two unless you really focus, and that's one of the things I like about walking.

Some of the things to be careful about while walking/running in Loakan (and in other roads) are narrow sidewalks, (drainage) breaks in the retaining wall and sidewalk, and vehicles at blind turns.

I wished I remembered more about the 'haunted' tree that used to be in the middle of Loakan. I first saw it many years ago when we visited friends staying at the then-Hotel Veneracion for a summer writing workshop. Based on a small tarp hanging by the covered walkway leading to the front door of the structure, it's now occupied by the Philippine International English Institute.

I know Loakan has its fair share of ghost stories, but at daytime I didn't feel anything unusual along this stretch of the road. Then again I'm not sensitive in a paranormal sense.
Upper Session-Military Cutoff-Loakan-South Drive roundabout
When I got to Upper Session I checked my watch--a little past 10:30--enough time to make it to the cathedral for the 11 a.m. Mass. I originally planned to hear mass in the evening, but since I was already there... I didn't think God would care that I looked like a wet duck.

When I got to the cathedral wasn't alonethere were other wet ducks huddled in their jackets standing outside waiting for the next mass to begin. I turned my tracker off, pleasantly surprised that I had walked almost 4 kilometers from CJH. The walk felt somewhat shorter.

Baguio Cathedral
The Baguio Cathedral with the gloomy sky as background.

And so ends my Sunday workout-walkabout. Where to walk next?

Map of Baguio
Never underestimate the raw power of a good ol' paper map!
Of course, you'll also need some basic navigation skills so that even when you go off-road, you'll know in which direction you're headed ;)
If it's on the tourist map of Baguio, you can walk it. I've covered most of the eastern side of the city, and I think I'll travel a little bit farther down south (more CJH, Loakan, PMA) next. :)

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