I celebrated Father’s Day (sans my Dad who passed away in 2005) in Baguio’s famed Café in the Sky and Sitio La Presa. Actually it’s not part of Baguio City, but of Mt. Santo Tomas, in Tuba, Benguet. Living here for a few days, away from a hectic schedule and city buzz, makes one feel time-warped. I had that sense and it’s an awesome feeling!
Coming up here was a bit tricky. FYI: environment officials have made Mt. Santo Tomas off-limits to visitors. That’s because it was once the shooting venue of the local television series “Forevermore” starring Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano. I didn’t watch it, but this popular TV series made this place one of the most sought-after local destination for people wanting to find a place to unwind and escape. Tourists flocked to this mountain to experience and see firsthand life in a strawberry farm. It was so popular that in the end, the government had to put its foot down and ban visitors in the area and declare Mt. Sto. Tomas, the highest peak in Tuba, as a restricted forest reservation area to prevent tourism from damaging the place further.
Thus, we planned our stay here, first by contacting owners of Café in the Sky for reservation as we planned to stay at their B&B for three days and two nights. Upon our arrival in Baguio early Friday morning, my friends and I went grocery shopping at SM Baguio first to buy as many food and necessities we can bring up because it would be difficult to go down the mountain again. Good thing we have our own vehicle.
Afterwards, we contacted one of their personnel who accompanied us from the foot of the mountain, past the DENR checkpoint and up to our temporary abode…
I love the fact that we had the place all to ourselves. We did nothing but cook, share stories, laugh, sleep, and just chill out. Literally, chill, because it was sooo coold when we arrived at our house. You can barely see Baguio City because of the fog. So we just all settled in and started cooking. The water was so cold and supply was intermittent. It took us some time to finish all the dishes we need to cook. We took our lunch at 2 p.m.
Later in the evening, when everyone was trying to come up with a dinner menu, I had the chance to look out the terrace and finally take some pics of the city, the restaurant and breathe in fresh air. Had to wear my jacket coz of the cold breeze…
We slept early that night eager to see the sunrise the next day. Unfortunately, the “bed weather” condition made me get up past 6: 30 a.m. One of my friends beat me to it. He woke up at dawn and took a magnificent shot at the break of dawn…
After breakfast, we started preparing for our afternoon visit at La Presa. Some of my pals took turns washing the dishes, clearing up the table and took turns at the bathroom. Good thing, I hit the shower as soon as I woke up.
So while everyone else is busy, I roamed around the restaurant grounds which is just a few steps beneath our lodge to take a few snapshots of the Cafe’s exterior.
I had to cut short what I was doing after they called me out. My friends were talking to our tour guide who advised us its best to visit La Presa before lunch time. So we changed our plans and immediately boarded our service van.
We were not prepared for this, really. But going up higher at the edge of Mt. Sto. Tomas was a series of breathtaking views that’s just simply inexplicable.
It really lived up to its name: the place where heaven meets earth. It was glorious indeed…a piece of God’s masterpiece, right in our own backyard in the Philippines.
There’s some cottages at one side of the ridge where they say were set up for agricultural seminars. The view from here is equally splendid…
Afterwards, we headed back down again and this time stopped by at Sitio La Presa… which by the way is not really La Presa, but Sitio Pungayan.
Sitio La Presa is the name of the fictitious community of strawberry farmers in “Forevermore.” Because it gained fame due to the TV series, the locals here decided to rename their village to what it is now known. They tried to preserve everything the production crew used here including this house that they rented for the show. They also set up some sort of memorabilia for the actors of the teleserye.
It’s absolutely a pleasure to take pictures of the place and much, much fun to interact with the locals here who were so proud of their basic, simple, and laid-back lifestyle. We spent the rest of our visit taking pictures of the children, and talk to some farmers who are waiting and tending to their fields. We planned to pick strawberries, but unfortunately, they are still out of season and the field is instead full of broccoli plants.
After an exhilarating trip, we headed back to our ‘home’ and started preparing for lunch. It was my turn to cook. I cooked two batches of curry for the hungry pack: one chicken and one pork curry. Yumm…
During the afternoon, I decided to go back down to the restaurant. This time, three of my friends accompanied me. We are still so full so we decided to just order some snacks and coffee. By this time, the restaurant is so busy with many visitors lounging at the view deck…
We paired our coffees with their famous Skyrolls. It’s actually lumpia with cheese filling. We didn’t try other menu simply because we are still full from our lunch. We just wanted to savor the ambience of the place over coffee.
We spent the rest of the day cooking, eating and chatting away. I opted to sleep in early because we’re leaving morning on Sunday, Father’s Day. We can’t afford leaving the place without having to buy pasalubong and souvenirs for our loved ones back home. Some of the boys with us are eager to go back to their families to celebrate Father’s Day. Me? Just the thought of being here is enough to know that I have a heavenly Father whose love for his children is just immeasurably wide and unfathomable. Thank You, Lord! 😀