Monday, April 10, 2017

March Walks

Summer's here!

I've been documenting some of my walks not just through MapMyWalk but also through short video clips.
For my walking routes, nothing new I'm afraid, except for one short hike up Mt. Yangbew in La Trinidad. I'm planning to do the traverse soon--just looking for a willing hiking buddy. ;)

Here's a list if you'd like to check them out.

Mt. Yangbew: Jump-off to summit
Torres Street (near Mines View) to Wright Park
Wright Park to Mines View
Mines View to Teachers Camp via South Drive
Mines View to Wright Park (with a bit of jogging around the pool)
Torres Street to Ketchup Food Community

I'm thinking of doing another project that involves plenty of commuting (with bits of walking, of course). All for the love of going places--even those close to home. :)

Here's one of my short videos, made during my walk on the last day of March.
A post shared by Lauren Villarama (@123sajeepney) on

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Walking in Baguio: Mines View to Session Road

"This is suicide," I said to myself as I stepped out of my building on Sunday.

The area where I live--Mines View Park--is usually crowded on weekends, but that weekend was exceptional because it was THE Panagbenga weekend. The annual Baguio Flower Festival brings in thousands of visitors from all over country, Manila mostly, and it's expected that the traffic would be more terrible than usual.

Right after the Grand Float Parade in the morning, Session Road would be closed to vehicular traffic to make way for the stalls for Shawarma Session Road in Bloom.

I've already resigned myself to walking to town and making a photowalk project out of it. So here we are.

Since my work schedule extends to the wee hours of the morning, I woke up on Sunday a couple of hours before noon. After fortifying myself with a breakfast of oats, I set out with one of my film cameras (the plan was to use up the entire roll), turned on my MapMyWalk tracker, and strolled at a leisurely pace to town.

The walk included photo-taking, stall-perusing, and checking out the goings-on around Session Road.
View the details of my walk here!

What wasn't surprising was the number of people going to Mines View and Good Shepherd. The stalls were lined up all the way past the Veteran Pine. What did surprise me was that past the area of Sierra Pines, there was hardly any traffic going all the way to town.

I made a shortcut when I got to Wright Park. Instead of going down the road past the Mansion House, I turned right toward the pool and the steps going down to the riding stable. On my way there I tried this:

The code led me to this page:

I wonder how many people actually take the time and effort to check these things out. 

Baguio City was the venue of the 8th National Jamboree of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

Here's something I learned recently. One of the 24 Philippine scouts who died in a plane crash on their way to the 11th Boy Scouts World Jamboree in Greece in 1963, whom many folks in Manila would probably recognize as a street name, Sct. De Guia, is from Baguio. Victor De Guia Jr. was a son to the late Virginia Oteyza-De Guia (Baguio's first woman councilor, vice mayor, and acting mayor) and brother to Eric De Guia, aka Kidlat Tahimik.

In 2016, Mayor Mauricio Domogan declared Oct. 1 to be the Scout Victor O. De Guia Jr. Day. The Philippines also celebrates National Scouting Month every October.

I hurried past the riding stable and the pony boys shouting "Horseback madam!" and went toward Leonard Wood. Didn't stop for photos until I saw:

A few more meters and I'd be in Session Road. I didn't know what to expect. I assumed the Grand Float Parade was already finished by then, so they're probably setting up the stalls.

Yup, they were. The usual Baguio weather: cloudy and foggy at times, then the sun would unhide itself and make you curse for wearing a fluffy jacket. Then things would get chilly again. I love it.

I couldn't resist wearing the mask Jollibee (Session corner Assumption) was handing out. Of course I had to take a selfie with the kids and the mom with the (very bold) statement tee.

[I didn't get to finish the roll in my camera on Sunday. I went out on Monday again instead. After my camera rewound the film I headed over to Fuji to have the film processed and scanned, and I got a pleasant surprise. I wrote all about it in my film blog celluloid shots.]

Walking from Mines View to town was nothing new for me, but what made it such an accomplishment this time around was that I did it in the afternoon when it was hotter, and that I really plunged myself into the Panagbenga crowd. Will I do it again? Probably. Next time though, I'm eating ice cream.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Walking in Baguio: Yellow Trail, Camp John Hay

the view

My cousins (and aunt and uncle) recently visited Baguio to celebrate my uncle's birthday. I asked them if they wanted to go on a short hike, and they said yes. So I decided to take them on a trip along the Yellow Trail in Camp John Hay.

The morning was perfect--the sky was clear, and it was still a bit cool. After meeting up at the Filling Station, off we went to the trail head. We took our time just walking and taking photos. I forgot to turn my tracker on until around 5 minutes into the hike, and I forgot to turn it off until I was in a cab on the way back to my unit. Anyway, it was great to finally track my time on the trail, even if it was a leisurely one.

The Yellow Trail.View the details of our walk here!

The sights (and feels) along the trail never fail to amaze me. I'm glad to live near a (slightly) forested area, even if it's considered a property of the great big US of A.


If you walk/hike at a leisurely pace, you'll get to the end of the trail (at Treetop Adventure) in around an hour, maybe less. We stopped frequently to take photos (and marvel at nature), so I think we spent around an hour and 40 minutes there.

For me, the best time to go there is in the early morning before or just as the sun comes up. You'll be rewarded with a grand view of the mountains to the east and the sun warming your face (see top photo). 

bright and sunny

perfect weather

I don't think I'll ever get tired of walking along this trail. Maybe next time I'll practice trail running on it!

Friday, February 17, 2017

a wee refreshing walk

It's been a long while since my last post.

Work, erratic sleep times, more work, and just plain laziness have all contributed to my lack of long, leisurely walks and motivated runs, but I know those are just excuses, because of all people I know I can make time to go out and have some fun in the northern sun.

Which brings me to today.

Talking with like-minded friends has renewed my passion(?) for going out, seeing places, and simply being. I revisited old blog posts and journal entries. I've wanted to travel, write, and take photos for the longest time. I may not be able to hop from one region or country to another (for now), but there are places that are accessible to me, places with people and events and stories of their own.

So I've decided to tell my stories about these stories.

I'm not sure yet whether I'll make a separate blog for that. Probably not. As long as there's walking involved (and there almost always is), this will do. :)

Plus, I'm slowly but surely taking up my film cameras again. It's really fun taking them along on a walk. Here are some not-so-recent shots from my lightleaky Olympus mju II (cropped out the edges).

With the major Panagbenga activities just around the corner, Baguio City will surely have more visitors. More visitors means more cars, and more cars means the traffic will be worse. If you're planning on visiting the Summer Capital in the next few week(end)s, be prepared to leave your car and just walk. The weather is really nice, and well, walking is really good for you. :)

I checked out some of the stalls already set up in Burnham Park for the annual Panagbenga Festival a couple of days ago as I was finishing a roll on my mju. The crowd was still pretty thin--it was a weekday, after all--so walking wasn't much of a tiresome activity then. Let's see how things turn out in the coming days.

This morning I just took a small walk in my area, which is one of the top tourist spots in the city. On my way back I chanced upon this little stall selling refreshments. There's a number of these 'lemonade' stalls around the city but none in my area, so this is a real treat for me. It would be great to grab some vitamin C after my morning walks, so yay!

Say hello to The Gibraltar Rind! Or is it The Gibraltar Grind? Or is it both? It works either way, but I'll make sure to ask! :)

Fun fact: I hate cucumbers as food, but I love them as drinks.

I tried out the 16-ounce single orange drink. I like that it's not too sweet.

Hot chocolate, fresh fruits, coffee, infused water, and kuya, meticulously preparing my drink.
If you're in a hurry and want your drink done asap, you're missing the point.
When you get your drink, give the juices some time to really mix ;)

hearts all around

Blurry photo because I was too giddy about hot, rich dark chocolate (16-ounce servings!).

Really pretty colors :)

Topped with mint for that perfect refreshing drink! Cheers!

The stall's currently set up where Cora's Restaurant is in Mines View, beside Budgetwise (our friendly neighborhood convenience store). They're there every day except Tuesdays. They sell oranges too!

Definitely looking forward to more (photo)walks and all-natural fruit drinks in the coming days/weeks/months/years. Here's to spending more time outdoors!

Oh by the way, I tried one of these:

My smartphone isn't NFC-capable, but I do have a QR code reader, so I checked it out if it works. It does! This code led me to this page:

Neat and nifty! Something great to have when you want to actually know more about a place. 

Anyway, I'm off. More posts to come!