The “Summer Capital of the Philippines” is best visited after summer to avoid the high volume of visitors and enjoy the cool places that Baguio has to offer. Most of those who have visited Baguio have probably gone to Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Botanical Garden, and other cliche places, but Baguio is more than that and Azalea Residences knows just where to take you.
Azalea Residences Baguio is located at Leonard Wood Loop, Brgy M. Roxas, it’s just right across Teacher’s Village and the Botanical Garden, and only a few minutes away from Burnham Park, Session Road and SM Baguio. It has crafted 99 well-pointed and multi-occupant apartment suite rooms which includes 46 Deluxe, 17 One-Bedroom, and Three-bedroom all fully furnished. I’ll get on the room details on another post, for now we’ll tour around Baguio City and experience new places, great food, and the breeze.
We left Manila at around 7AM and arrived at Azalea Hotel and Residences after 4.5 hours and were welcomed with refreshments, warm towels and some pudding to help us regain our HP (yeah, Pokemon Hunter levels). A bouquet of fresh flowers greeted us in our room but we didn’t get to explore our room just yet because we were just to leave our luggage and go back down for lunch.
Lunch is at Azalea Hotel and Residences restaurant called Tradisyon. They serve Filipino comfort food using fresh vegetables from the mountains of Benguet. For dinner they have different buffet themes, Mexican Fiesta on Wednesdays, Mongolian on Thursdays, Chinese Hot Pot on Fridays, and Pizza, Pasta and Salad on Saturdays. For our lunch we had the best kare-kare in town.
After lunch we were given time to refresh before we head to our first stop, Tam-Awan Village. It’s located at 366-C Pinsao Proper in Baguio City. It was drizzling when we reached Tam-Awan Village but it didn’t prevent us from enjoying the view and art works displayed.
Before the rain starts pouring we made a quick tour of the village. It was steep and slippery and we didn’t too far because we don’t have an umbrella with us plus the path is getting slippier evey minute but we got to take a few photos.
After descending we went to visit some of the galleries to marvel at the paintings made by the local artists.
Then, we were immortalized in to a piece of paper within a few minutes. Mine will be framed and displayed at The Louvre Museum hanging beside Michelangelo’s Monalisa. Kuya artist will be peymus, his work will be known as “God’s work of art transformed into human art.”
While waiting for others to finish we started munching on the their club sandwiches and warming up our tummies with turmeric and mountain tea. It was the perfect snack for that rainy Wednesday afternoon.
We were lucky to have be at Tam-Awan Village in time for a documentary production for a local TV show so local indigenous people present were on their costumes and presented a dance ritual.
After the dance we went back to Azalea Hotel and Residences to prepare for dinner. We were surprised to find a basket full of fruits in our room. Since it was Wednesday we had a Mexican Fiesta Buffet. The following morning we we’re up early for our trip to Camp John Hay to ride horses.
We arrived at the venue just in time as most of the horses were available for the trail ride. The young ones shared horses with their parents and some where brave enough to ride on their own. There are two trails, one is for 30 minutes and the other is for the more adventurous rider which can last up to an hour.
I decided not to mount my own horse so that I can walk around and take photos. The trail was made challenging by yesterday’s rain but we have our guides to assist us along the way.
My wife and Maki were the only ones who took the shorter trail while Ben and the others took the long one. As for me, I was busy sitting there, adding a few degrees of hotness into the cold Baguio climate. The place where I’m at is where the short and long trail meet.
Benedict excitedly told me how he was able to make his horse gallop and how adventurous the long trail was. We all went hungry after the tour, so hungry we could eat a horse(just kidding)!
Azalea Hotel and Residences prepared a picnic lunch that we can eat inside Camp John Hay. The picnic can be part of the package if you wish to add them into your itinerary. Azalea Hotel and Residences has got you covered from drinks, food plates, utensils, table cloths and even tents if it rains.
Only a few minutes after lunch the raid started to pour again good thing our next stop was Choco-late de Batirol. There were unoccupied tables when we came but people started coming in as the rain continues to pour. Choco-late de Batirol is the place were locals and tourists go to if they want to warm up and sip on their famous hot chocolate drink. I’ve passed this place a couple of times but never actually went in because it’s was always crowded when I pass by.
We were given demonstration on how their famous chocolate drink was made, then we were served their special suman and bibingka and I demonstrated how it was to be eaten.
We stayed for few more minutes until the rain is subsides before we go back to our lovely rooms at Azalea. The kids have a scheduled art activities and parents went to buy pasalubong with our Azalea as our guide.
On our last day at Azalea Hotel and Residences we went to La Trinidad, Benguet to visit the strawberry farm and buy fresh lettuce to bring home and make salads. On our way to the farm we saw the clump of concrete houses in Barangay Balili that was recently beautified and turned in to a colorful art mosaic.
We stopped for a few minutes to take photos and appreciate what the did to beautify their place. They say that the whole picture shows a sunflower and a bees. I saw parts of it but I couldn’t get a better angle to see the whole picture. When we arrived at the place we, people were no longer allowed to do strawberry picking because it’s off season and the strawberries they have in the farm then were for commercial use and sold to market.
We just got ourselves strawberry taho and strawberry ice cream. We bought Sagada oranges and lots of lettuce for the vinaigrette we bought in Bukidnon. Benedict bought himself a small bottle of strawberry wine and a bracelets to give to his classmates.
After Benguet we headed back to Baguio to visit a cafe museum and art library – Arca’s Yard Cafe. It’s located 5300 ft above sea level and with a a magnificent view of the mountains.
The scent of pine trees were brought by the cold breeze through the open windows of the cafe. There were lots of artworks and artifacts to be found inside the cafe. Emma had her photo taken at the wooden utensils as it represents her love for cooking and my love for eating.
We tried their best selling Camote Pie and the Cloud Tea.
Arca’s Yard Cafe displays a lot of art works including paintings, wood carvings and a collection of books. There photos displayed around the place which I’m guessing is related to the owner or the owner itself. The place also serves Benguet coffee and taragon tea.
Arca’s Yard is beautiful in every corner. I can imagine myself living here with just books and art works surrounding me(and WiFI). The view is breathtaking and the climate is much colder than in Manila. It’s place that I would bring my friends to if they visit Baguio and I would like to thank Azalea Hotel and Residences Baguio for bringing us there.
Azalea Hotel and Residences proves that there is more to see beyond Burnham. Aside from the accommodation they also offer family tour packages to some of the destinations we visited. We visit Baguio almost every Christmas season and we have been going the sames places doing the same things. Azalea Baguio just gave us more exciting stories to tell our friends and happier Baguio moments to treasure. I’ll be posting about the hotel and its amenities on my next post so watch out for it.