Friday, January 20, 2006

Just a Typical Baguio Joke

I just got back from a trip to Baguio and this is what I got. Well, yes, just a typical Baguio Joke.

One day, a guy was walking down Session Road and decided to take a taxi to La Trinidad. He was lucky to get a taxi right away but he wanted to make sure that he knew what he was going to pay for so he asked the driver "Mano ti bayad nu i-drive nak idiay Trinidad?"(how much would I pay if you had to drive me to Trinidad?).

The taxi driver asked him back "maymaysam?" (Are you alone?) to which the man answered back, "apay haan ka nga umay?"(why, are you not going with me?)

This joke really gave me a blast. I could have lots and lots of Baguio jokes..from kiangan bread to painting the town red.

Have you got one?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Read my post!

That's right! Want to know more about me? Read my post at

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


EVERLASTING!! That's what Baguio is known for during the months of March and April when graduation exercises happen. When I was young, our relatives from the lowlands would come and visit us and just before they go back, they would buy these leis as presents to our relatives who would be graduating.

As a person growing up in Baguio, I used to think it was so "baduy" to be wearing one of them. However, as I was scanning through my pictures when I was younger, I just realized I had one hanging on my neck when I graduated from elementary. Oh well, I can't deny it now. It was given by one of my aunts as her way of recognizing my effort to bag an award.

Seriously though, these everlasting flowers are truly what their name implies..everlasting. They make good bouquets when they're fresh and last forever once they're dry. Sad to say that i have never appreciated their beauty until I went around Pike Market in Seattle where a few stores sold them. They were so expensive. A bunch cost about $8.

I bought a few for our home. It must be the presentation that made all the difference. 'gotta show some pictures to my friends who own some flower shops in Baguio when i go home this year.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Baguio's Commerce

Sometime in the 70s, the stores at the foot of Session Road were owned by a group of “bumbays”. Bombay Bazaar, Bheroomul’s, Pohoomul’s, etc. Just recently, I met a lady who hails from La Union but has worked in Baguio in her younger days. As soon as I told her that I grew up in Baguio, she somehow felt a common bond between us. She said she used to work at Bheroomul’s. She is now 65 but she endlessly reminisced her days living in that city on top of the mountains.

These Bombays used to scare me. My mother used to buy my underwear at Bombay Bazaar and she’d spend more time than she should, talking to the owners. Somehow, I was always drawn to the forehead of the owner’s wife. I was scared, more than intrigued with the red dot on here forehead and the way she dressed. The incense was of course something I did not appreciate when I was a kid.

If you went closer to the city market, the environment was different. The wealthy Chinese families owned most of the stores from Mido Inn to Lapu-lapu Street. Just below Mido Inn is Sunshine Restaurant. And then another bakery (I forgot the name) and U-need Grocery store. A few stores from these of course is Tiongsan Bazaar. The family who owned Tiongsan Bazaar were by far the most well known Chinese merchants. Tiong San was strategically located along Magsaysay Avenue that people usually made it a meeting place.

Next to Tiongsan was PangHoi Restaurant and another dry goods store. I used to buy my plastic covers for my books and notebooks here if Tiongsan Bazaar got so busy. For some reason, it was mechanical for me anyway to buy my soy sauce, vinegar and other dry goods at Lapu-lapu Street. My father is part Chinese and he would never miss buying a “lapad”, a variety of dried fish and dried pusit. Sometimes when the queue is not that long, I buy them at Sunny’s just inside the city market. Sunny’s was a funny store. You get served on a first come, first served basis depending on how good you squeezed yourself in to get to the front.

Saturdays and Sundays were always trips to this Lapu-lapu Street. Fertilizers for my green-thumbed mother, a yarn at Evelyn’s for my school projects including a treat of Kiangan Bread. Oh it was just rows and rows of small Chinese grocery stores.

Hilltop was a mixture of different merchants. We have the Igorots who at one point monopolized the distribution of vegetables. At the very top are Chinese merchants concentrating on the trading of wastebaskets, dust pans, charcoals etc. If you were frugal, you can buy the vegetables at lower costs at Hanger Market. If you were lazy, you’d content yourself buying at the city market.
If you are from City Camp, Campo Sioco, Camp Seven and QM, another chinese owned store close to where you get your rides from is Sunshine Grocery. I loved Sunshine. Their prices are reasonable and the owner is a hands-on guy. Mmmm..the smell of Bread

Oh, I could go on and on but I’ll save them for later.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Notre Dame de Lourdes Hospital

Notre Dame de Lourdes Hospital used to be the best but most expensive hospital in Baguio. It is all now just a history since all its buildings were condemned after the devastating earthquake that happened in 1990. It used to be run by St. Paul's nuns.

Personally, I thought it was a perfect place to stay while you are sick or recuperating from any medical illness. It had a very massive front yard planted with different varieties of roses and other beautiful flowers. I have been a patient there on several occasions and I must say that I never hated hospitals at all if they were all like Notre Dame. It is where my sister expired while suffering from leukemia, my grandmother while she had a stroke. I could go on and on.

Just before the day starts, you could hear the singing of the nuns in the chapel. They start early too and early I meant 5:00 in the morning. They meals served weren't bad considering. The air is crisp in the mornings and the sunshine you badly need is in abundance.

In one of its wings, the right wing to be exact, Benguet Laboratories used to rent that portion from Notre Dame. Benguet Laboratories was owned by then Benguet Corporation. This is the reason why all miners from Benguet Corporation enjoyed the privilege of staying in the best hospital in Baguio City. The economic dependency of the hospital was partly attributed to Benguet Corporation.

I must say that all miners from Benguet Corporation hold Notre Dame dearly in their hearts but that’s another story.
My sister literally lived in that hospital during the last five years of her life. We've seen love stories between nurses and doctors happen. Now if you are from Baguio, you would know the love story of the late Dr. Calogne but I am not going to tell you about that here. Dra Calogne must have been the most well known and oldest OB Gyne in Baguio and I have come to know her because she was my mother's OB in my mother's childrearing days. We are 7 siblings in the family and she looked after all of us.
Of course the hospital hired beautiful nurses too although I heard they weren't paid well. Who would be in the Philippines anyway? What about the good looking doctors from Manila for internship?

Monday, December 27, 2004

Wishing everyone a happy new year! May we all have long life, good health and prosperity!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Silahis ng Pasko sa Baguio

At this time of the year when I was young, I would be one of those students participating in a parade down Session Road. The parade is called “Silahis ng Pasko” and marks the start of the holiday season.

Actually, people start decorating their houses after November 1. I am talking about how Session Road starts looking like Main Street of Disneyland(it's a dream) where there’d be a lot of people and there’d be a lot of blinking lights.
Taxis would be difficult to grab. Usually, people wait for taxis in front of Mercury Drug at Session Road because that’s where the taxi stands used to be. If you think you were smarter, you’d go one notch ahead of the others and go up to PNB. I thought I was the smartest and I’d go right in front of CID Educational Supplies. Well, sometimes it was not dependent on how smart you were but on how heavy your groceries and shopping bags were to have that energy to go two more notches to get a taxi. As the population became denser, people started going further than CID Educational Supplies. They would reach as far as Patria de Baguio just to get a cab. Now that's history.

Let’s go back to the parade. The City Mayor would lead the parade. Oh it was so fun to see the city mayors without bodyguards then. They probably had but it was not as visible as they are now. The city mayors I’ve come to know were Luis Lardizabal, Ping Paraan and Mr. Bueno (his name slipped my mind). For some odd years, I always thought that Mr. Nars Padilla was the mayor. He was always on the lead. Now I realized, of course he was a media personality and he was to be in front to take pictures to dress his coverage. He eventually become a City Hall Official.

In Baguio, you would know Christmas is coming because there’d be a shift in the fruits being sold on the streets. On ordinary days, fruits being sold would be bananas (lakatan, tomok and cantong). During the holiday season, the vendors' baskets would be full of apples, oranges and persimmons instead. The streets would be full of people not just from Baguio City anymore but from the outskirts. This is the people's opportunity to buy their children gifts for Christmas. For the businessmen, it would be their opportunity to sell their products.
The city market would be a riot. With the prices abnormally going high, so would the number of pickpocketers too. Well, I think I have other stories but I'll save them for the rest of the year.

Tell me about your childhood memories of this season in Baguio.