From the outside, it looks like a run down dilapidated structure with an overgrown tree intruding its space at the entrance. Once we got inside, it’s like going through a rabbit hole and we were transported into a surreal otherworld. Almost amorphous and continuing to evolve into who knows what, Ili-likha Artist Village is a patch of creative space in the heart of the highly urbanized Baguio City. They are just a few steps away from the infamous Session Road.
Figuring out Baguio’s transport system can be daunting at first due to its winding and narrow roads. But staying there for four nights, I got a gist of commuting and can go comfortably off town. While not centrally located downtown near Session Road, C Boutique Hotel has its own special charm. Coming from the mountain haven of Sagada, C Boutique Hotel was a quiet transition. It’s away from the bustling city center and closer to the mountain views in which Baguio is known.
The Philippines has celebrated “Todos Los Santos” quite differently from other parts of the world. While it is only recent when candled pumpkins, trick or treats and cute-monstrosity items adorn some houses. But behind those masked commercialism, many Filipinos still observe the traditional practice of visiting departed loved ones during All Saint’s Day. I remember our usual visits to clean up the graves of our relative and also the talks of supernatural, the regular horror segments at Magandang Gabi Bayan and even a time when Mananangal (half-bodied flying female creatures with bat wings) flew over Manila. Those were interesting times, but traveling brought me to discover places which somehow exude the feel and connection to the otherworld. Here are some places from my archive which I think would be nice places to visit during the Halloween Season.
It’s not often we get an international Photo Tour to come here in the Philippines unlike our competing South East Asian neighbours, that’s why it’s a welcome development that the Jim Cline Photo Tours and Workshops decided to test the waters here in the Philippines where no other Photo Tour Groups have tried. On the helm is Humanitarian Photojournalist Karl Grobl where he took the group on key places around the country for a Photographic journey for two weeks. I assisted Karl on the photo mentorship and was their local guide for their Baguio-Sagada-Vigan leg of the tour which lasted for 5 days. Here’s a rundown of that very interesting segment.
The Halsema Highway is one of the Philippine’s engineering feats. Its 130kms road stretching from La Trinidad Benguet to the Bontoc Mountain Province has an elevation of up to 7400 feet. It is the highest highway in the Philippines and is one of the most scenic drives you can experience in the country. Whenever I embark on a 6 hour journey from Baguio to Sagada via public transportation, I’ve always wished I could somehow stop for a while on some points of the road. That came into a realization when I became the local guide and assistant photography mentor for Jim Cline’s first Philippine’s Photo Tour led by Humanitarian Photojournalist Karl Grobl. With our own mini-bus at our disposal, the group made a few interesting stops along the Halsema Highway.
So what’s new in Baguio? Aside from what I’ve written about Baguio lately, there isn’t much really aside from new eateries, events and activities. Most of the new stuff are extending far out of Baguio’s corners. We had time to kill for the afternoon after lunch so we decided to go to this one lesser known landmark that I haven’t been to which they call the Bell Church, found up north of Baguio at the border of La Trinidad.
From Mines View Park, we headed to Eurotel Baguio where we’ll stay for the night. They were gracious enough to sponsor a night’s stay here since I wasn’t able to join their Blogger Bliss event last time. Eurotel Baguio is their first branch out of Manila from their 6 known branches. Located just a few streets away from Burnham Park, it was easy to find especially from it’s red and green geometrical whatnot exterior.