A Wanderer’s Guide to Baguio: An Abbreviated Travelogue

A trip to Baguio, “the summer capital of the Philippines”, is well worth the drive from Manila. There are stories and memories-in-the making in every corner. The spectacle that is nature, local handicrafts and a rich cultural heritage collide to create the perfect long weekend getaway. These are just some fragments from a decade overdue overnight I took with my friends a few months ago.

 

1. Mt. Cloud Bookstore

This gem of a place was as quirky as it was colorful. I fell in love with the paper cranes and DIY atmosphere instantly.

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2. Hill Station

Simple joys in the form of light streaming through window panes and the immediacy of nature.

If you eat in the restaurant inside, the death by chocolate is a must-try (and must-try again).

 

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3. Burnham Park

Flowers, flowers, flowers. And boats, and bicycles and balloons.

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4. Cafe by the Ruins

A promise of lunch in a scenic, quaint little place with lots of picturesque spots.

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A feast for the senses in the form of local delicacies served alongside freshly picked flowers.

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5. Bencab Museum

The drive was a bit tricky to get here what with narrow streets and stretches of road that were not quite road (being in a pre-paved state), but this place was every bit worth it. It’s art meets killer views.IMG_0915-0.JPG

Even in less than ideal weather conditions, this annex to a museum was just breathtaking.IMG_0916-0.JPG

Other highlights included the Baguio Botanical Gardens (look out for the purple flowers!), stocking up on sweets at Good Shepherd, strawberry taho!!, a mad dash to Mines View Park to snap quick pictures.

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A Belated Note

February has come and gone without any entry.

In spite of the minor setback (induced by attention being channeled to the pursuit of a different goal), I am determined to gain a sustainable, steady momentum in writing. This entry also marks an attempt to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, a Voltairean mantra oft repeated by happiness guru, Gretchen Rubin, as it capitalizes on flow rather than forethought.

Writing has actually been a source of comfort as well as creativity for me these past few weeks. It has been a healthy outlet for heightened emotions as much as a venue for self-expression. The cadences in flowery prose, the beauty in words strung perfectly together, the wonder in phrases left stewing in the mind or on the tip of the tongue have a charm all on their own.

There is joy in the discovery and rediscovery of language elevated to an art form.

The Creative Imperative

Project 2014

Welcome to 2014!

(27 days late, but, hey, better late than never, right?)

I subscribe to the idea that the new year presents a perfect opportunity for goal-setting, for mapping out the big plans one wants to  accomplish in the year ahead. And while I agree that goal-setting should be a continuous process throughout the year and not confined to some arbitrary date, I do think there is something appealing in the blank slate that the new year represents, the fresh start it promises.

I’m probably not alone in thinking that there are a million different things I want to do with my life. This makes defining goals a bit of a challenge. The list of things I want to do or experience or learn is never-ending. For the sake of actually accomplishing something and avoiding paralysis from a vague and overly ambitious to-do list, however, I’ve whittled down my goals for the year to two main imperatives:

1. Read everyday

and

2. Practice creativity

The beautiful thing about these two resolutions is that they complement one another. The things I read shape the way I think and ultimately leave traces upon what I create.

Limitless

I feel like the journey towards becoming one’s ideal self  –  however one defines that – is undertaken daily.  “We are what we repeatedly do,” as Aristotle says. In years past, what held me back from working everyday to becoming a better version of myself was limits. Perceived limits are such a powerful cause for inertia. The things that society or we tell ourselves we can’t do or be ultimately (and somewhat ironically) hold us back. Without realizing it, we put ourselves in boxes that we don’t dare venture out of.

I’m slowly coming to realize that many of those limits are just figments of the imagination. With enough effort and sheer determination, anything is possible.

Create: An Imperative

I have been thinking a lot about regrets lately and how inextricably connected they are to goals. The things I regret not having done on a daily basis are the very things I should be carving out time for.

The common theme in my mini-goals (and inversely daily list of regrets) is creating. I want to learn to draw better, become adept at photoshop, explore photography, experiment with different kinds of paint, start a blog.

Which brings me to my motivations for writing: I feel like blogging serves many purposes, among them being a platform for learning or gaining mastery in a subject, for exploring and expounding upon a topic or new field of interest, for expressing oneself.

 In Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential within Us All, Tom and David Kelley advocate that we “experiment with experiences”, “embrace learning” and essentially treat life as an experiment. This blog will be my own attempt to do just that.