Meet the out-of-towners for the #GrabTaxiBaguio launch

The last time I went to Baguio was way back in 2008 with the in-laws. So, imagine my excitement when I received an invite that entailed to visit the place again for the launching of GrabTaxi. We've just returned from a whirlwind tour of that beautiful city and from our 3 days stay, my body is now having a hard time adjusting to the blazing temperature here in Manila. I love the chilly weather there! My head is still spinning from all that we experienced, so I thought it best to nab a few of my earliest thoughts from the trip while it’s still fresh in the mind.
Initially, when we received emails like this, the kind of gig you've always longed for--traveling to places with fellow bloggers--mixed responses and feelings are always present. I’ve been playing full-time mom so long now, I’ve fused with with my children. My kids always questioned why do I have to go? When am I coming back?

There was an uncertainty to go, honestly. I was reeling.
I was anxious and thrilled to the point of feeling like I’m walking in the air.
But then, I have to leave them once in a while, for them to grow. They need to become independent.
When I heard about our Baguio itinerary, one tour that really scared the crap out of me was the stopover at the famous haunted Laperal House and exploring each rooms without a tour guide.
Yes, I'm one scaredy-cat. But when I'm with my kids, I usually transformed into something else, like The Hulk, just to protect them.

The Baguio trip was so enjoyable because of these wonderful Manila Bloggers namely : Lou of LemonGreenTea, Earth of Earthlingorgeous, Enzo of Juan Manila Express and the Gorgeous people from Havas--Ms. Frances, Renzie and Ms. Abi :)
I’ll be sharing more photos from our visit and the highlights of some of the things we did on the trip below.

We went from Manila to Baguio by a van provided by our friends from Havas. The meeting place was at Robinson Galleria and from there , we took the NLEX and then on to the new SCTEX and then the newly-opened TPLEX . Driving through TPLEX was super convenient. We were already in Pangasinan in almost 3 hours I think.
I wanted to punch our driver so bad, he was dangerously driving at an excessive speed of 120mph. Too fast for me. We all know that Baguio roads have dangerous sharp and blind bends. And it was rainy and foggy at the same time.  But I was too excited for the trip so I let go of the frustration and decided to just let it pass by.
We arrived late in the afternoon, as I've said it was foggy, we didn’t have a chance to absorb our surroundings that much. 
The first taxi we saw had Grabtaxi stickers at the back, meaning, they're already part of the GrabTaxi community. The feeling of excitement for the launching was getting into me.

I'm quite an OC when it comes to hotels. I'd usually check reviews ahead of time to see if the hotel is terrible to stay at, or the best one.  I’d check out everything. The bathroom, test the hardness of the bed, try out the wifi..
With so many hotels to choose from in Baguio, you can get a relatively good hotel at a low price. For our trip, we stayed at Crown Legacy Hotel.
But without a doubt, Crown Legacy is NOT the best option when you visit Baguio. Everything was a disappointment. The hotel facilities are so-so and the rooms are dull and gloomy. Key card was not working so a mechanical key was given instead. But the mechanical key was not working as well. On their website they stated that they have a pool but I heard there was no water in it. Ms.Abi told me when she arrived ,there are no available towels as well. I found stains on bed sheets and blankets. The restaurant serves only 2 choices of breakfast. It was truly disappointing, but I still love Baguio, nonetheless.
After that quick but tiring hotel check, we packed up our van and drove to Baguio City Hall and paid a courtesy call to Mayor Mauricio Domogan.
Baguio City hall is hard to miss. Its distinctive building can be seen from afar. It is also a place of several major historical moments. And is still one of the few that survive. 
The walls of Baguio City hall provides exposure to a wide variety of art, thus, easier for me to create my own art stuff, my selfie with all the wall art. LOL
 With the gorgeous Ms. Frances of Havas, while waiting for our turn at the Mayor's office. 
We were a bit disappointed we were not able to have a chit chat with him even just for a while. 
Manila Blogger showed respect to Mayor Mauricio Domogan and took a photo with him as a souvenir, with the whole GrabTaxi Team, of course! Baguio is the 6th city in the Philippines that GrabTaxi operates in.
We were famished from the all traveling we did and Earth of Earthlingorgeous suggested that our next stop would be Forest House, Baguio's best boutique hotel and restaurant, if we want to have a satisfying meal,
Perfect choice for a cold night!
"There’s something about a restaurant that has fireplace that makes you just want to cuddle up on the sofa and sleep. The interiors of Forest House Bistro and Café are definitely the first thing that catches your eye. The warm and homey, log cabin-y place – all brick and pine – makes you wonder why not all restaurants in the City of Pines are like this."- COOK
 Forest House was born of a concept to capture the very essence of Baguio City. 
A place to escape the harshness of reality and take time out for a breath of fresh air.
A place where you can sit back, relax, over a cup of freshly brewed coffee as you pine the hours away . A place where you gather with friends and relatives to celebrate the joys of life. 
Indeed, this place has a cozy and warm ambiance. I would put up a house similar to this one. Who has not dreamed of an idyllic house in the country? I love anything rustic and with a country-feel that has an informal beauty of the natural world.
 Here’s some of the Forest House delicacies we tried, and we all loved it! I highly recommend you to order their hot chocolate drinks with different flavors. Their bestseller!

I had the Fusilli Pasta with Pesto which is priced at 275.00. It is one of their bestsellers that is tossed with their special chef ’s pesto, squid and shrimp.

Enzo of Juan Manila ordered this Forest House Lamb which is priced at 525.00. It is a Grilled Lamb marinated in mustard with garlic and Japanese soy sauce
You will definitely enjoy your stay in this quaint , rustic, country style restaurant for its simple ambiance, basic facilities and understated class.
The romantic glow of lights and lanterns within the restaurant is truly magnificent at night.
You can also enjoy an outside patio with spectacular view of the Baguio mountains.

We returned to the hotel after that wonderful and satisfying dinner, and went directly to a nearby KTV house. One of my favorite things to do is to sing in front a Karaoke machine. We sang our hearts out all night and made new friends.
We rented out a room and had more fun. The karaoke machine was easy to use, we had enough space for us. Drinks are reasonably priced and they pretty much serve the usual bar drinks.
We definitely had a blast!
They had every song I can think of. They even have the hits currently playing on the radio. However, I had more fun singing Micheal Jackson's and Boys to Men hits.

So, our second day started with the usual routine. Although I'm a mom of 3, I'm more of a night owl than a morning person. But we all have to start our day at some point,right?

I usually put my phone on the bed beside me so I could hop easily online to check the happenings on social media. That's usually my morning routine. But our itinerary for the day was to visit the Baguio market , Good Sheperd store and my much avoided trip to Laperal House.
When we went to Good Sheperd House,it was truly unfortunate that there were no Ube Jams or Strawberry Jams available that day. I bought Strawberry jellies and Peanut Brittle instead.
When we went to the market, the first thing they bought was a Baguio Reed Broom or the Walis Tambo because it is priced much cheaper there than here in Manila. Added to our market list were lemons and strawberry coin purses for my daughters.
Our road trip continued to Hill Station restaurant to grab a grub before heading to the White House.
Hill Station is located in Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City.
They offer dishes that blend the flavors of Asia's hill stations with the tastes of Old World Europe and New World America.
 This is a quiet place to relax and enjoy the Baguio view. And the perfect place to have a selfie.

I'm not really sure if they were excited about the dishes or the visit to the White House. They've been planning a strategy once they are inside that mansion. And as for me, I was planning how to get out of that house alive.
Earth loves anythin with lemon in it. She ordered for this Lemon Chocolate cake and Lemon Brazo down below.

 I love pastas in olive oil. I ordered Linguine with Sundries Tomatoes and Pecorino
made with best Roma tomatoes, white wine and ‘Malagos’ pecorino. The white wine was too overwhelming.
 This is the Malunggay pesto pasta with garlic bread
 They opted for the sizzling sisig with egg and tapas with bread. 
Casa Vallejo is just across SM Baguio and a few steps to the busy street of session road, just walking distance to the cathedral. You can feel the old Baguio feel when you visit this place.
Tan tananan!
Here it is, my friend.
The #14 Laperal White House or famously known as the HAUNTED White House that will give you the creeps each time you have a tour of this place.
Before anything else, Laperal House is now open to the public and you have to pay for the entrance fee of 50 pesos to scare yourself. But did you know that scaring yourself actually has some health benefits? But I'd rather be unhealthy than to go inside again.
I'm not totally sure why Lucio Tan would buy something scary like this. He saw a hidden treasure, perhaps? A passageway to Neverland? We will never know. The only thing I know that this place is haunted.
No, I'm not gifted to have a third eye but I did feel a strong presence of some kind the moment I entered this place. And now, it's freaking me out while trying to finish this post.
I only visited the living room area and never made it to the second floor. I had plans on exploring the second floor, but after the first 10 minutes exploring the first floor, I looked around me and I felt a little panic start to rise inside me. I felt that were too many people around me. Like you were riding inside the MRT during rush hour. Intense, exactly!
But my mind pushed me and told me that I had to do it. I looked at the stairs and meditating not to be scared but someone or something was at my back and I felt I would hyperventilate and lose my mind anytime soon.

It was kind of claustrophobic, like I was trapped in this place. Like there was only heat and no air movement going on. The weird thing? The house was totally empty. And it was rather cold, colder than outside the house. Creepy, right?

I grabbed Enzo's arms and told him to go with me outside because the feeling was too overwhelming.
Sometimes, experiences like this will make you think that we're not really alone in this world.

Want more of the creepy stories about this house? Find Jay Taruc's video on YouTube.

So after the Laperal tour, we felt that we had to get back to the hotel to regain our lost energies. We slept for 2 hours, took a bath , packed up the van again and went to the Tasting Room at the Baguio Craft Brewery along Palispis Highway, for the #GrabTaxiBaguio Launching.
I loved how the management of Craft Brewery turned the place into something else, like we were in "GrabTaxi Land" LOL
These are the loot bags for the #GrabTaxiBaguio launch

I don't think I'll get tired of a place with a rustic and country touch. There's no such thing as too much wood in a house. I love everything wood. I'm beginning to think my past life was a tree.

 Enzo and Earth tried and tasted the 16 crafted beers to find out which one will be their favorite. But Craft Brewery has 39 crafted beers all in all.  Mine was the Kiwi Flavored beer, with hazy golden color and has a crisp, smooth kiwi finish. Almost finishes like an ordinary kiwi juice with soda which I enjoyed a lot.

This is LAGUD strawberry beer, which has a distinct Strawberry Flavor noticeable. It is a balanced malt flavor and reddish in appearance. I took home 4 of these and gave the 3 to my sister-in-law. She was so happy to receive one from me.

The weather is already chilly but there's no better way to cool down even more with a few more of their craft beers. I had an IDA, grapefruit flavored beer which is on the sweeter side.
A woman cannot live on beer alone so one need to have a bite to eat to line the tummy , I opted for this sort of Dynamite with a twist. Too hot for my taste buds! The grilled fish in pita bread , on the other hand, was a bit bland for my liking. But, still, my mouth is watering as I type this.
I forgot to include the photo of the chicken wings, which were my favorite. I had like 3 plates of was so yummy! They've used Himalayan salt that added the perfect saltish flavor of the wings.
Meet the coolest GrabTaxi Team!

After the launching, we went straight to Always Bean Cafe near our hotel to meet with some of the Baguio bloggers there.
I love cafes!
I love to sit in cafes drinking vanilla frap or hot vanilla with my kids or friends but I don't bring my laptop whenever I'm there. I'd rather use my laptop at home than inside a cafe , unless I need to charge the batteries. 
But this time, I opted for hot choco with mallows on a cold , windy, foggy Wednesday night. My tummy that night was too sensitive to any caffeinated drinks.
The Baguio bloggers we met shared some usual ghost stories heard in Baguio that freaked me out a little...
Big time!
 A blogger friend was able to use the GrabTaxi conveniently and fast!
 DAY 3
 For our 3rd day, we went to Cafe By The Ruins in Shuntug Street before going back to Manila. Their menu is designed to feature natural and local ingredients of the region, to purvey vegetables and fruits in their best season and to provide vegetarian options.
 I had a nice cup of hot Tsokolate made out of Tablea that has a delicious blend of sweetness and richness of milk.
 I also got a free fruit cup with mangoes, banana, watermelons and papaya.
This bacon From Scratch is way better than those bought in stores. I love how these babies were cured and cooked and paired perfectly with the organic red rice.It was truly filling!
You can see how refreshed we were after our 3-day tour in Baguio. Look at our faces! We were all glowing, right?

So, what was meant to be a quick update of our Baguio tour seems to have turned into a gazillion word post and photos!
For the next post, I will be sharing about GrabTaxi Baguio so make sure you check the blog if you’re interested in learning about the most convenient way to get a cab in Baguio.

Thanks again, GrabTaxi and adorable people of Baguio!

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