2015 started great for me. For the past years, I have neglected my blogs (ended up closing a few) due to a number of reasons, but when I celebrated my birthday last May, my only prayer was to make this year my best year ever. Of course, prayers do work, but it would be up to me if I would continue to sulk in one corner or help the universe do its purpose to make my year a great one. So, when I found out about this getaway, I was very grateful to have been selected to be one of the attendees.
Our getaway started last Friday, the 26th of June. I opted to go for the 10am ride thru JoyBus - the deluxe coach of Genesis Bus. On the bus, I was with fellow bloggers - Athena, Lou, Jing, Angie and Marco. It was my first time to ride JoyBus and it has been a smooth ride up north, especially that the bus took SCTEX and TPLEX, which allowed us to travel in just four hours! If you want to travel to Baguio (or back to Manila from Baguio), I highly recommend you take any of these deluxe buses. There were no stops, the bus has its own rest room, the seats are spacious and comfortable (you can fully recline it, too), and passengers were also given snacks (a small bottled water and a pack of sandwich crackers) and blanket.
From the bus terminal, a van from Azalea Residences picked us up going to the hotel. I have seen the hotel's signage from the road the last time I traveled to Baguio, but it was just my first time to see the place. I was in awe at how beautiful it is, but I wasn't able to take pictures because of the rain.
A welcome drink and welcome letter was waiting for us in the room. Prior to the trip, we already chose who our roomies would be, and I was in the same room with Jing and Angie. We were given the two-bedroom suite, and I decided to occupy the smaller room (with single size bed), because it was near the kitchen - making it easy for me to get water from the fridge should I wake up in the middle of the night, and also because the smaller bedroom has no big windows - nothing to scare me while sleeping.
Some bloggers traveled earlier that day, so after dropping off our bags, we hit the road to meet them at Casa Vallejo. This place houses my favorite local book store - Mt. Cloud Book Shop.
Seeing fellow bloggers (the ones who arrived earlier than us) enjoying a great time over drinks and pastries made me a little jealous - that I should've opted to travel earlier, too. When I first went to Hill Station a few months ago, I have always wanted to try their pastries, but because time wasn't enough then and now, so I will definitely look forward to this chance. :)
By 6pm, all bloggers for this getaway were already present. We are a mix of lifestyle, food, and travel bloggers from Manila and Baguio - some are considered pals, while some I just met for the first time. Right then, I knew this would be one awesome getaway.
For dinner, the Azalea Baguio team took us to Café Yagam, where we sampled four Cordilleran dishes, as well as two Cordilleran drinks - Sagada coffee and the tapuey (rice wine). More details about this very interesting and culture-rich dinner will be shared in the next post.
Since some of us met for the first time today, we had a little get-to-know slash talent night after dinner. We were given a picture each, and we had to look for the other half of the picture. I was paired with Baguio-based blogger Chiki, and we performed a short performance of Sia's "Chandelier," I sang, he danced.
The dinner was our only activity for today, but we were told to rest well because tomorrow's activities will definitely drain our energy.
More stories on the next post!
*** Jenn ***