I never really imagined I would be part of this getaway. I have followed the first two group getaways and I hoped to be part of one, too, although I felt it was impossible as I closed my travel blog early this year for a number of reasons. Actually, I closed a few of my blogs, but I just couldn't close this blog because I remembered having a long absence from this blog years ago and one person believed in me to follow my blog and since then this blog has been the most successful of all my blogs. Closing this blog would mean letting down that one person (whom I don't know personally) who believed in me and in my blog. Anyway, I first saw Azalea Baguio's Facebook post about cooking up another bloggers getaway, and I remembered telling myself I wish to be a part of it. Imagine my surprise when a blogger friend Azrael (azraelsmerryland.blogspot.com) posted on his Facebook page about this getaway, at which my sister tagged me to. I really wanted to join, but thoughts were debating in my head - if I was worthy to be a part of it and if I could deliver what is asked of me to deliver. Anxiety has been a dark cloud above my head for the past few years, but with encouragement from my sister, I decided to sign up. Imagine my happiness when I received the invitation to be a part of the getaway!
I decided to take the 10am bus trip from Cubao to Baguio City via Joybus, the executive coach of Genesis Transit. I had the solo seat so I was able to recline my seat fully and enjoy the scenery, my book and food. The trip lasted only 4 hours (compared to 6 or more hours to regular airconditioned bus) because it had no stops (it has its own rest room) and if you are traveling to Baguio City, I suggest you take any of these Deluxe buses because it was so comfortable to travel this way.
It was raining when we arrived in Baguio City, but Azalea Baguio took care of us as soon as we set foot in Baguio City. I am not used to this lavish type of accommodation, that the minute I saw how beautiful Azalea Baguio is, I whispered a prayer of gratitude for experiencing this.
|Photo grabbed from Angie|
One of things I was grateful for was my roomies. I am out of the blogging scene for a long time now that I am not familiar of the other bloggers in this getaway, but Angie and Jing are already considered friends / family because we are part of Max's pool of bloggers for many years now. We were given the two-bedroom suite, and they both occupied the master's bedroom and I chose to occupy the smaller room.
By 6pm on our first day (26 June), all bloggers for this getaway were already present. Some of them I already know, while some are new faces to me. Eating lunch at Café Yagam, we not only shared good food and hearty laughs, I also appreciated Azalea Residences' way of breaking the ice for us, by doing a get-to-know slash talent night. It was just the right way for us to warm up to each other and by then I already knew I am in a company of great, happy people.
|Sun says good morning|
Second day started great. The warm, fluffy comforters of my bed allowed me to recharge well, and the breakfast served at Tradisyon ensured I have enough energy to carry on with the day.
|The Erotica Gallery. Shhhh....|
The very first place we visited was the BenCab Museum. I first visited this place last March, but my second visit allowed me to appreciate the museum even more because I had a healthy exchange of views about the artworks with fellow bloggers Kenny and Patty. The museum has a lot of galleries, expect to have a great time while you're there.
Food has been a big part of our day. We had lunch at the Balajadia Restaurant, we had snacks and hot drinks at the Tam-Awan Village, we had a club sandwich while traveling to Tartland factory, and we had food samplings at Tartland as well.
I guess all those food was just the thing we needed because we had the Fright Tour next. I don't have a third eye (I don't hope to have one), I still haven't seen any paranormal entities, and I don't really believe in it, but I do respect them. I would be lying if I would say I wasn't scared of this tour, but knowing I have my new found friends by my side and that I have my rosary in my pocket, I was given enough strength to carry on. Sadly, this fright tour wasn't finished - we only got to visit the Baguio Cathedral, the Teacher's Camp and the Laperal White House, we weren't able to visit the old Hyatt Hotel and Loakan Road because one of our companions fainted while we were inside the Laperal House. I actually don't know what caused it - if our companion was too scared, was suffocated inside the small cabinet (she volunteered to try out one of the mini activities), or whatever... but at that moment, I felt it was just right to cut the tour short. It was disappointing, yes (I think all of us were, including our companion who fainted), but like what I said, I respect anything paranormal, so I will just leave it at that.
Besides, we still had enough fright left - Azalea Baguio set up a film showing and we watched the Korean horror film "Wishing Stairs." It wasn't really scary, but it was really interesting.
Our last day in Baguio City was short, so we had to squeeze a lot of activities. We toured different rooms being offered in Azalea Residences, we ate breakfast...
... and as early as possible, we were ready to rock and roll! Biggest gratitude I had for this getaway was being with this group of people, whom I shared the van with. They are just the craziest bunch of people, and our driver Lem (in orange) added more fuel to that craziness, making us the noisiest all the mini-groups on this getaway.
|Vegetable shopping with the English-speaking vendor|
Our group of 19 bloggers were divided into three vans, and since all of us in the group were already ready as early as 9am, we decided to went on our way to shop. We were grateful that the line at the Good Shepherd / Mountain Maid Training Centre was short the time we got there, that we were able to shop very quick, allowing us to travel to the public market to buy some more. I decided not to buy a lot anymore.
We were done with the shopping with more time to spare, so we asked Lem to drive us back to Laperal House for a short photo-op, and we roamed around the Camp John Hay as well, before returning to Azalea Residences for lunch and farewell gathering.
Recalling that weekend, I just couldn't believe my luck for being a part of this getaway. I have traveled to Baguio City countless of times, but this getaway allowed me to experience a lot of firsts. Not only that, this getaway also helped me develop my self-esteem. Coming home, I have new found motivation to carry on with my blogging, and as soon as I transferred the pictures on our laptop, I also looked back on the past food pictures I took, which I am now excited to share on this blog.
To Azrael, Azalea Residences, its staff, and my co-bloggers, thank you for the great weekend. I hope we can do this again.
*** Jenn ***