Clark Hot Air Balloon Festival – Baguio Panagbenga Itinerary

After last year’s Hot Air Balloon experience, I am all set now for another adventure up, up, and away.

Clark Hot Air Festival 2012

Clark Hot Air Festival 2012

Together with 5 more buddies we’ll be attending the grand and colorful festivity on the 22nd of February (see the Hot Air Balloon Festival 2013 Schedule of Activities here), then off to Baguio for the Panagbenga Festival on the 23rd, my first time to attend such flowery festival.

And so here’s our itinerary for this budget trip, taking place on February 22-25, 2013.

Date & Time Activity Est Cost
February 22, 2013 (Friday)
4pm Arrival in Clark
Jeep to Downtown 50
Stroll in Nayong Pilipino / Air Force / Clark Malling
Dinner 100
Camp in Clark Air Field for the overnight stay
February 23, 2013 (Saturday)
Hot Air Baloon Festival
Entrance 250
Lunch 100
9pm Depart to Baguio 300
Overnight in Victory Liner Baguio
February 24, 2013 (Sunday) Est allowance for the day 700
5AM Early Morning Strawberry Taho
Eat breakfast
Burnham Park | Session Road | Baguio Cathedral (Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral) Downtown area
Session Road – Cathedral tour – Attend Early Morning Mass
615AM Short walk in Session road to find a good spot for the parade
8AM Start of Grand Float Parade
945-10AM End of Grand float Parade (at upper session road/SM Baguio)
10AM-1030AM Deposited our bags at baggage counter at SM!
Lunch at Good Taste (Behind Baguio Center Mall)
Pizza Volante located in Session Road. The house specialties are Pasta Puttanesca and Vegetarian Pizza. For a budget of only Php300-Php500
Botanical Garden | Wright Park | The Mansion | Mines View Park | Good Shepherd (Leonard Wood Area)
Walk down to Session Road
Reach McDo Session at the lower Session Road, turn left to Mabini Street (marker is Danes Bakeshop) and look for the jeepney terminal with jeepneys going to Mines View Park
Ride and tell driver to “Mines View Park”. Fare is “long trip”.
Mines View – Ketchup Community Series
1PM To Mines View Park
120PM Mines View Park
Arrive in Mines View Park for some photo ops with horses, the view deck and big dogs. No entrance fee but there is charge for photo ops with the animals.
Then ride same jeepney (going back to downtown), tell the driver to drop you off to The Mansion.
Photo ops “The Mansion”. Walk to the side of the mirror lake until you reach the gazebo. By this time you are already in the Wright Park.
Picture taking with the horses or ride the horse (for P200).
Lunch time in Ketchup Community. By this time it’s already noon. If you are on a budget you can get back to town and eat in cafeterias or fast food restaurants.
The Botanical Garden – Haunted White House Walk Tour
From Wright Park, head to Leonard Wood Road passing through Pacdal Circle. Walk until you reach the Botanical Garden.
Photo ops inside Botanical Garden.
Walk out of the park and continue walking until you reach the Baguio Haunted White House.
Get inside it. *This is an update: the Haunted House is now open to public since late last year. Entrance fee is P50.
The Camp John Hay Tour and Adventure
From Wright Park, you can turn left going to The Baguio Country Club and finally Camp John Hay. You can take photos of the wide green fields there.
You can also check out there Cemetery of Negativity (where you bury your negative mind setting and being there).
Baguio City Market
Baguio City Market sells almost anything. The place boasts its cleanliness and cool environment. You can also find great deals and bargains for items (especially if you are good with haggling). This place is ideal for last minute shopping for souvenirs and gift items.
Your stay in Baguio may be short but you know that the memories will be treasured forever. The long ride can be tiring but the environment and weather of the city can relieve you from your pains and aches.
Evening – Night Market
Wait for the Night Market to open along Harrison Road. Night Market opens at 9PM.
Ukay-ukay to the max (second-hand goods and thrift goods market). This is where you can buy jackets, hoodies, pants, shirts, bags and more…at the cheapest bargain!
After the Night Market, you can try café or night bars (with or without dance floor). Paddis Point and 18 BC are night bars.
February 25, 2013 (Monday) Est allowance for the day 700
4am Bell Church | Strawberry Farm (La Trinidad Area)
Jeep to La Trinidad (Market)
Walk to La Trinidad Strawberry Farms
Souvenir Buying at Strawberry Farm
to Bell Church in La Trinidad, Benguet
visit Rito’s along Marcos Highway. This restaurant serves bulalo and crispy pata.
Option 2 The Grotto-Diplomat-Tam-Awan Tour
From Lourdes Grotto, you walk your way to Diplomat, or ride same jeepney, then drop off to the foot of the Diplomat Road.
Photo ops inside Heritage Park. Diplomat Hotel Ruins and the World’s Largest 10 Commandments Tablet is there.
On going back, you ride same jeepney (Dominican Hill) back to downtown. Near the Abanao Square, the terminal of Jeepney going to Tam-Awan Village is at Shagum St cor. Kayang. Signboard says “Quirino Hill” or “Quirino Hill via Tam-Awan”. You can also ride jeepney going to “Long-Long”.
Walk a bit to Tam-Awan Village (driver will instruct you).
Photo ops inside Tam-Awan Village. It’s another hiking thing so you have to prepare for this. Picture taking of the different artworks is strictly prohibited.
Visit Arko ni Apo that is just across Tam-awan Village. Different metal works and wood works art gallery are showcased in this place.
Continue your tour with a visit to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto and this has 252 stairs before you reach the top of the grotto.
The last place to visit is the Ben Cab Museum
On going back, ride the same jeepney going back to downtown.
Departure from Baguio 300
Arrival in Clark 100
Terminal Fee (Back & Forth) 400

Fruity Experience at the Baguio City Public Market

Before heading back to Manila after our Mt Pulag trip, we’ve had a quick stop over at the public market of Baguio City for some fruity finds.

Find out what we found!

Of course Baguio won’t be Baguio without the Strawberries!

Baguio strawberry

Baguio strawberry

Baguio Public Market

Baguio Public Market

Baguio Market



Baguio City


Baguio Pasalubong

Baguio Philippines



Baguio Flowers

Ambuklao Dam: The Biggest Rock Filled Dam in Asia


Do you just love dams?

I sure hope you do! For our next stop will be no other than the the Biggest rock filled dam in Asia, yes – it’s the Ambuklao Dam in Benguet!

Philippines Dam

What is Ambuklao Dam?


Ambuklao Dam is a dam that supports a hydroelectric plant in the mountains of Bokod, Benguet province of Philippines.

It is the is the first among the largest hydroelectric power plants constructed in the Philippines, made of earth and rockfull which measures 129 meters in height and 452 meters in length – and is one of the oldest.

Ambuklao Dam

Ambuklao Dam

The facility was constructed for power generation and flood control and runs along the upper portion of Luzon’s third largest river, the Agno River.

Dam Benguet

Aside from generation of electric energy, the water held by the dam is used to irrigate the agricultural fields of Pangasinan. The dam helps minimize floods by absorbing the high peak flows by releasing water over longer periods.

Ambuklao Dam Spillway

Ambuklao Dam Spillway

The Ambuklao Hydroelectric power facility stands as a symbol of one of the biggest accomplishments in power development by the Philippine government, an engineering feat which Filipinos are proud of.

How to Get There

Go to Ambuklao Dam

From Baguio City, take the jeepney or mini bus at Dangwa Terminal (infront of Baguio City Market at the back of Centermall) or at Slaughter Compound in Magsaysay. Take the Kabayan trip. This will take you to Ambuklao Dam using the Ambuklao Road in Baguio near Pacdal Circle. This will usually take you 3-4 hours. Another way is to take the short cut way using a private vehicle: From Baguio, take magsaysay road passing by Trinidad. From the Benguet Capitol Building, take the road going to Halsema Highway. The travel time will be around less than 45-minutes, and there will be a junction point and on the right a rocky road going down. This will take you more than an hour to reach Ambuklao. The Ride will be a bumpy and a “death-defying-cliff edge” experience.

How to go to Ambuklao Dam