Category Archives: Book 1 : Awakening

Chapter VII : The Self Proclaimed Quest

Following the thrill of the Baguio Adventure, i came to realize that i have been missing out a lot by not going around the country. the Department of Tourism, many weeks ago, made an attempt to make me realize this fact sooner. Inspired by the three songs, and by the natural beauty of the country, which i have not seen personally.  i now embark on this quest to experience first hand the beauty that is the Philippines. Mission Accepted!

so Begins – “Operation: Pilipinas, Tara na!”

I have already crossed out some fields. but there are still a lot more to do and see

— End of Book 1: Awakening —



Filed under Book 1 : Awakening

Chapter VI : The Diner from the Past

The cab from Wright did not take that long to the burnham area. after several minutes, the four of us found ourselves wandering towards the agora near Burnham park. We decided to look for blankets, since our friend Jaypee was itching to get his hands on authentic baguio blankets made of fleece. I, on the other hand wanted to procure bonnet headgears, as my ears are starting to get numb due to the low temperature. and my hair was messy too, probably shaken from the mishap at Wright (see Chapter V).

Young ones selling bags to adventurers

Old ones Selling more than Bags

After finishing our restocking and procurement of supplies and homebound gifts, we decided to go to Burnham park. based on my research and interviews, i found out that Burnham park was named after the city planner of Baguio, and the Lake fronting it is actually man made! before actually reaching the lake, we sighted a monument of Igorots, funny how fascinated i am about this particular indigenous group. probably because i expected to see them and interact, yet to my dismay, i never did. ūüė¶

The Igorot Monument

The lake looks really good, it emits this aura of calmness and serenity. The park gave an ambiant feel and invitation to adventurers for slow strolls, photo shoots, sport activities and even family picnics on the grass. Amusement of boat riding was offered to adventurers, and wandering camera men made their presence known by displaying their portraits to adventurers who may have neglected to bring their cameras to the park.

After a series of photo shots, we decided to end our baguio trip by having lunch at a diner we saw two days ago. We backtracked to the area of Wright, Mansion and Hotel Elizabeth to try out the 50s Diner.

it was like spiraling back to the 50-60s era. Of course, my knowledge and comparison are based on how movies portrayed the 50s and 60s. but the feel, the sound and heck, im not sure how i thought possible,the smell gave me the impression of said era. the seats and tables reminded me of the setting in grease, though not at all 50s and 60s but made the experience more authentic. the music were shifting through elvis, nat king cole and i could have sworn i heard a patsy cline once in awhile.

The common thing that was evident in the diner was “Happiness”. All of the patrons seemto be smiling at each other, or laughing their hearts out. i thought maybe the food was really great. the four of us ordered the bestsellers, i ordered the Gangsta, Gangsta along with a Vanilla Ice Cream shake. Justin ordered the same, with a chocolate milk shake to accompany the viand.

Gangsta Gangsta – Combination of Porkchop, Fried Chicken, Chicken Roll and Mixed Vegetables with Rice and topped with a sunny side up Egg. (135 pesos only)

Watermelon shake (50 pesos), Chocolate Milk shake (70 pesos) and Vanilla Milk shake (70 pesos)

Franz and Jaypee both had the Guys on the Hood accompanied by a a watermelon shake.

 Guys on the Hood Р Combination of spaghetti, Fired Chicken, Pizza, a slice of garlic toast, French Fries, and mixed vegetables. (130 pesos only)

we waited for at least 5-7 minutes until our food was served. to our surprise, the servings were indeed intended for big appetite fellows. the food wasn’t bad either, but wasn’t spectacular as well. but what made the experience fun was we, even for an hour, felt that we really were in the 50s. oh, and did i say that the prices are very affordable?

after pigging out at 50s Diner. Franz, for a moment, and this i just felt, had separation anxiety from baguio. He wanted one last stroll around the place, or until he realizes that we all are tired and wanted to be on our way home. after that stroll, we finally agreed to head back to Manila.

my List as of Oct. 3, 2011. Not Bad!

1. View the Mines
2. Seek out the Giant Dog
3. Igorot Ritual
4. Explore the Military Academy
5. Visit the largest Armory and Tavern
6. Seek out the Religious Edifaces
7. Visit the Sanctuary of the Good Shepherd
8. Traverse the Parks of Wright
9. Explore the Lake of Burnham
10. Visit the University way Up.
11. Forge alliance with Igorots
12. Drink the Crimson Concoction
13. Visit the Mansion of the High Head

Baguio, i shall return and finish all my unfinished business! till next time!


—Behind Thick Framed Notes

50s Diner product shots courtesy of Jaypee David


Filed under Adventure, Book 1 : Awakening, Food, Travel

Chapter V : My Encounter with the Steps of Doom!

“4 ¬†more items crossed out” I told Myself.

As soon as we were done with the place, Franz led our party towards the sanctuary of the Good Shepherd.

Justin ventures into the Unknown

My sources told me that Good Shepherd is  a Convent. Knowing that info alone destroyed the image that was built in my head because of many of my friends that has gone to Baguio. all the while, i thought that good shepherd was an agora or a banqueta filled with vendors. partly because, they kept telling me to buy all those pasalubong and gifts there.

The Gates of the Sanctuary of Good Shepherd

the Foggy path to the Convent

The fog is thicker as the position of our next destination is higher as compared to every place we have been to. Aside from being a Convent, Good Shepherd produces some of the “Only-in-Baguio” products like Ube Jam, Choco Flakes, Strawberry Jam and the Peanut Brittle.

4. Visit the Sanctuary of the Good Shepherd

the ever famous Ube Jam for 140 pesos ea

After getting provisions and gifts for our family and friends back in Manila, the four of us ventured to the Mansion. Think of it as a summer palace that the monarchs travel to during the extreme high temperature months. While there, I noticed the seal of the current head of the nation fronting the actual mansion. I asked myself, if that has always been the case?

At the Mansion courtyard
13. Visit the Mansion of the High Head

APES at the Mansion grounds

The park of Wright is just across the Mansion. the rain was making an appearance once again, but that didn’t stop us before, why should we let it bother us now, right?

The Quest for the Hundred+ steps of Doom

The Gazebo at the park of Wright

The Slippery Steps of Doom
8. Traverse the Parks of Wright 

Franz kept talking about a hundred steps located somewhere in the park of wright. we searched and sought it out. after a relatively long stroll, we found it. Our objective was to go down. From where we stood, i could see the landscape downhill, i could see horses a hundred steps away. my party went ahead while i tried to take a mental picture of the scenery – ¬†the Lush terrain, the wet colored flowers and the long aged old beaten stone steps. As soon as i was done, i rushed off to catch up to my party. i remembered catching up to Justin and even had the gull to warn him about the steps. “Its a bit tricky, ain’t it?” – slippery to be exact due to the rain. Almost instantly after me uttering “Tricky”, i found myself sliding downwards the steps, butt down. if not for Justin’s quick reflexes, i may have plummeted down 10-15 more steps. i said it before, and ill say it again. Thanks Justin!

Wright Park and the Steeds

After recovering from the fall, and after significantly laughing about it, the four of us set out for our last scenic stop in Baguio. We ventured to the Lakes of Burnham.

— Behind Thick Framed Definitions
Party Р A Band of Heroes joined together by a common purpose/goal/mission
Agora Р Marketplace.

photos without “Francis Romero Photography Signatures” belongs to Jaypee David.


Filed under Adventure, Book 1 : Awakening, Travel

Chapter IV : We Seek out the Giant Dog and Impersonate Igorots

Waking up to the chill of the air was one of the worst and best feeling that one might get in the early morning. the temperature was frigid enough to turn my toes to solid blocks of ice, yet feeling this air affirmed that my prayer has been answered. the storm has passed! Quiel has moved on and left us in peace.

despite the wounds from our battle the night before, Рour fight against tequila and social media embarrassment, we again prepped to set off in our adventure. looking at the mental note that i made prior to the baguio trip, i crossed out several items on the list to see what is left, and what else needs to be done!

1. View the Mines
2. Seek out the Giant Dog
3. Igorot Ritual
4. Explore the Military Academy
5. Visit the largest Armory and Tavern
6. Seek out the Religious Edifaces
7. Visit the Sanctuary of the Good Shepherd
8. Traverse the Parks of Wright
9. Explore the Lake of Burnham
10. Visit the University way Up.
11. Forge alliance with Igorots
12. Drink the Crimson Concoction
13. Visit the Mansion of the High Head

we say goodbye to Elizabeth. such a good host she is!

still quite a handful. im sure with the limited time that my party have right now, we could only go to a few more. So without any more delay, we set forth on our adventure. the rain has not stopped completely, it was drizzling from time to time. However, the mist has already covered most of the roads that our carriage passed through. its just like heading into the unknown, pretty much exciting! our first destination was the Mines. they said, that the scenery here is fantastic, you can sharply see the slope going down the mountain where this destination is situated. my friends, Jaypee, Franz and Justin opted to obtain sustenance by purchasing the famous “Strawberry Taho”. i am not a fan of taho, yet i still tried it out for the sake of discovering why it is talked about by many people. it was too sweet for my taste, but my friends seems to have enjoyed it.

but this already made me cross out item 12 on my list!

12. Drink the Crimson Concoction 

after the sustenance stop over, we proceeded to our trek towards the view of the mines. it was foggy still and the rain was pouring at a faster rate compared to 20 minutes earlier. we sometimes spend time at the mountain side vendors to avoid the pour, and went on as it stopped for a minute or two. a few steps after our last refuge stop, we already sighted ¬†KING – the Giant Dog! ¬†fascinating size yet very hospitable to its visitors and admirers. never did i feel any hostility from it despite its superior size. other adventurers were lining up to capture the moment with King. our party did the same. the handler told us to donate 50 pesos for the Dog’s sustenance in exchange for the audience and photo opportunities.

Apes with King – the Giant Dog

2. Seek out the Giant Dog

Right after, we tried searching for the igorots. the rain was still pouring, and to our dismay, we did not see any. but we had the chance of being Igorots for a small amount of time, think about a very small serving of polyjuice!

 Apes РIgorots
3. Igorot Ritual

After seeking out the Giant Dog and Performing the Igorot Ritual of dressing up, we finally reached the View of the Mines. disappointed, i was, because the fog covered the entire view. but the travel was very much worth it! the rain still hasn’t subsided, we backtracked our steps and proceeded to our next destination. but the experience was really good, i spent less than a hundred pesos just for the memorabilia opportunities. 50 pesos for the Giant Dog, and 40 pesos for the igorot dress up. 10 peso a person/garb rental.

The Foggy view of the Mines

1. View the Mines

Next Stop: The Sanctuary of the Good Shepherd!

— Behind the Thick Framed Glasses notes:

photo credits to Jaypee David : view his Flickr set here


Filed under Adventure, Book 1 : Awakening, Travel

Chapter III : The Sudden Squall

My alarm went off at 8AM on the 1st of October. In my excitement, my mind is picturing the things i wanted to do, and the places i wanted to be in. based on the recommendation of a lot of my friends in Manila, I wanted to see the giant dog, the igorots, have my picture taken at mines view and sample dishes that can only be found in Baguio.

Breakfast was served, and rightafter,  the four of us were setting up our cameras in anticipation of the adventure that we going to embark on. But the wind was howling, and water was slamming on the glass door separating the common area of the hotel room to the balcony. The mist was replaced by a strong gust of wind accompanied by the rain. I felt the fear of not being able to go about my plans for the day, I felt that the storm is going to thwart my planned adventure. I felt defeated.

but still, a second plan was formulated, and we found ourselves travelling to SM Baguio for supplies.

SM Baguio – our Armory and Tavern for the Adventure ahead

in this case, we bought new pants, raincoats, and SD Cards for the execution of the plan that we are about to implement. right after Lunch, we bid farewell to our original party, and at that moment, the four of us were determined to implement our plan.

we wore our raincoat equipment, and set out to shoot the nearest landmark that we could find. we were informed that the Baguio Cathedral was nearest our location. i was also informed that this is the largest catholic church in Baguio, no one verified that though, but since this could possibly be the only place that we could visit on this stormy day, i let that information motivate me to brave the storm further. after getting wet and a encounter a lot of mishaps that involves puddle splashes and raincoat malfunction – we reached the cathedral

Baguio Cathedral – i got the impression of a pointed Notre Dame Cathedral in France

Seeing this in the rain made me feel gloomy. the colors would surely be complimented by the sun, i surmised. But seeing it in actuality made me smile. mission accomplished i said. we took our time in taking photos of the church, and after satisfying our lenses, we opted to return to the hotel to get dry and spend the remaining time safe from “Quiel, the Storm”. though a bit disappointed, i was still glad that i experienced the entire rain shoot, because of one fact alone, it can never go wrong when you are with friends!

Hotel Elizabeth – Apes cozying while Quiel unleashes his wrath on the city

Behind Thick Framed Glasses Definition:
Apes – what we call ourselves when the four of us are together . etymology “Planet of the Apes, 2011”
Armory – Equipment vendor – (e.g. Film Shop)
Tavern –¬†¬†Restaurant, Fast food.

Photo credits:
Jaypee David (view his flickr here)


Filed under Adventure, Book 1 : Awakening, Travel

Chapter II : We Braved the Foggy North

Franz gave me a call last wednesday night, asking me if i would want to come to baguio during the weekend. i have never been to baguio, and i already missed a lot of opportunities to do so. So without any hesitation, i said yes.

We left for Baguio the night before the 1st of October, the bus trip lasted for 6 hours approximately, and we arrived at Baguio during the dawn of the 1st. the first impression that i got was the eerie feeling and the chill down the spine kind due to the excessive fog and low temperature. Baguio is a lot quieter as compared to manila, the scenery is similar to those i’ve seen in rural america in the movies, or the provincial korea in those tv dramas.

As our cab drove to our hotel, i noticed the beauty of the architectural designs of the houses we passed by. the tall trees embraced by the mist also caught my attention. this exceeded my expectations of the place, and at that precise moment, i was excited to go around the city as soon as the sun comes out.

the Hotel we stayed on was a top a hill, or maybe a mountain. The mist was thicker there, and was moving with the flow of the breeze. the scene kinda reminded me of Silent Hill, a game i played in the playstation way back in college. seeing all these from the balcony of the hotel room, the feeling sunk in. I braved the mist! and at last, i am in Baguio!

the lush terrain outside Hotel Elizabeth. see the fog behind the trees?


Filed under Adventure, Book 1 : Awakening, Travel

Chapter I : The Call to Adventure


Francis, a 24 year old young professional, suddenly had the urge to explore his native homeland. Having to grow up abroad, he never had the chance of going around the Philippines. and prior to this, it never crossed his mind to do so.

It all started several weeks ago, when his friend Jaypee invited him to attend a blog conference conducted by the Department of Tourism. Thus awakening the adventurer inside.

Join Francis in his quest to explore the many regions of the country, indulge in the finest cuisine and experience the diversity of the culture of the Philippines.

“the Philippines today, the World Tomorrow”

Welcome to the¬†1st¬†Book of the Behind the Thick Framed Glasses Series entitled “Awakening”

hope you enjoy


Filed under Adventure, Book 1 : Awakening