Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Flashback! I remember very well the last time I was here when I almost skid over one of the big slippery stone going down the observation deck.  That was exactly a year ago and much has changed around the park – for one, no more glossy slippery rocks!
Located approximately five kilometers from the “plaza” or Burnham Park, the Mines View Park is one of the popular sights of the City of Pines.  It is very easy to get there by public transport (jeepney) from its terminal at Lower Mabini Street, not far from Session Road and Harrison Road.
Mines View Park’s main attraction is an observation deck overlooking the Benguet gold and copper mines, a legacy of the American occupation, along with the beautiful mountain ranges. 
Panorama of Benguet gold and copper mine at Mines View Park.

Beautiful as it is, it is not a place to linger longer, it ain’t the NF Aguian Viewpoint in Banaue where I have spent a couple of hours reading a book overlooking the breathtaking rice terraces unperturbed by occasional tourists spending a few minutes before heading onto the next viewpoint..  At Mines View, few rounds of selfies at the deck and you are out of there, rummaging through Baguio-printed shirts and souvenir items from the long lines of shops at the park.
Nowadays, the panoramic view is just a part and parcel of the whole touristic experience that includes several things that amuses every visitor like – a photo-op with the huge (and workaholic) Saint Bernard wearing a sunglasses (see pic above).  I wonder though if the innocent animal is still enjoying its celebrity status with a 9-to-5 work schedule.  Its daily income (I mean the owner’s income) can certainly sustain an average-size family, 2 photo shoots costs P50 which means only 6 to 7 (set of 2 each) snap shots and the owner already earned his daily minimum wage!  With thousands of tourists coming to the park everyday, I highly doubt shots of lesser than a dozen.  I am not sure if I pity the dog or commend its effort, not only for the fascinated tourists, but also for providing livelihood to its proprietor.
The view deck gazebo.
Speaking of workaholics, same thing goes with the ponies with pink-colored mane, and who would suppose they are real?  I hope they have used some animal-friendly hair-colorant to dye those beautiful strands of hair.  You can ride on its back like a cowboy, though I’m pretty sure no one will believe you that you went even beyond one and a half meters riding a pink-dyed-hair pony at the Mines View Park!  One snap shot with your camera or smartphone costs P10 and should you consider cheating the owner, don’t be a smart-ass, it won’t happen.  He will position himself right behind the snapper to count the number of shots taken.  Well… if your camera has a burst shooting option (simultaneous shots in one press of a button), you might get away with several, then again, it’s gonna be seconds-consecutive moves which will come out as almost similar poses.  So I would suggest that two shots would be sufficient, pay the guy P20 and go!
Pink-dyed horse?

This one I like and it’s available anywhere in Baguio’s touristic venues - rent one of those “Igorot” costume for P20, complete with head gear, weapon (wooden spear and shield), and strike a pose to your heart’s content, no one will be counting your shots.  Fair enough.
In full "Igorot" regalia, selfie more!

In the souvenir shopping spree department, there are rows of shops near the observation deck up to and along the main road housed in 2 to 3-storey buildings selling all sorts of souvenir stuff like Baguio shirts which costs 2 for P150 for the white ones and P100 each and up for the colored ones, the funnily-christened local sweet called sundot-kulangot (sounds gross?), bottled strawberry jams, key chains, fridge magnets, native handicrafts and thousands of other stuff.  I will not be surprised if the rows of shops crawl beyond Outlook Drive someday soon.  A lot of things have changed since the last time I was here, and that was just a year ago – beautiful or otherwise, it depends perhaps on each person’s perspective on modernity, development, nature preservation and convenience. 
For instance, the slippery stone-covered steps were already replaced with concrete or cemented walkway and there’s even a well-paved winding footpath with metal railings for the elderlies and PWDs. An arch-entrance right at the main road has been built along with the tall fences.  Although the observation deck part has not improved as yet, there still stand the old gazebo on the big shiny hillock of a rock.
Wheelchair and elderly-friendly park.

As for me, I’d conclude my park visit walking down the winding road to Outlook Drive South, revel in the fresh pine-scented air, and beat the cold January weather with a sumptuous bowl of freshly boiled Bulalo which is deliciously cheap at P90 a bowl of chunky tender beef or the aphrodisiac soup made from cow’s innards called Sinanglaw at P60 a bowl at the native hut Kainan Sa Bamboo restaurant located on the left side of the road few steps down Mines View Hotel.
My favorite bulaluhan - Kainan Sa Bamboo.

Hot chunky-licious bulalo!

How to get to Mines View Park:
The Mines View Park Jeepney Terminal (click for Google map location or copy and paste near Burnham Park is located along Lower Mabini Street which is a street that connects both Session Road and Harrison Road, almost opposite Dane’s CafĂ© and Bakeshop, and few steps above BPI building or down opposite PNB.  The jeepney terminal at Mines View Park can easily be found just beside the arch-entrance to the park.  
Fare is P10 per way. 
After Mines View Park, stopover at Wright Park, The Mansion and Botanical Garden before heading back to town. 

If you love long walks, you can actually take a stroll from Mines View Park to Wright to the Mansion up to the Botanical Garden, then take a jeepney (fare is P8.50) back to town.
Or if you have time and want to checkout something spooky, pass by the Laperal White House after Botanical Garden before heading finally back to town.


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  2. wow!!! the last time we visit botanical garden it only has a plenty of flowers

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