Best bonding moments in Baguio
- Tina Santiago-Rodriguez () - March 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Over the weekend, my family and I were blessed to be able to go to Baguio to serve in our community’s weekend retreat. Hubby gave a talk, and I shared about our mission experiences in Timor Leste. It was a fun experience for all of us, and despite my qualms about riding the bus with our two little ones, we had a great time bonding as a family. We even got to spend time with friends who also had their two kids with them at the retreat.

Last weekend reminded me once again of why Baguio is included in the list of top 10 family-friendly places in my article in Smart Parenting magazine’s March issue (Forgive the shameless plugging here, but go get your copy now at any major bookstore or newsstand near you! Hehe!).  Aside from its cool and crisp weather, friendly people, and lovely scenery, there are numerous places where families can unwind, bond and simply build perfect moments together.

We got to Baguio early Friday morning, and had to wait about three hours for our room key. We stayed at Teachers' Camp, because that’s where the retreat venue was. Three hours out in the cold is a long time, believe me! Thank God though that the kids were able to cope! Look at us trying to keep warm! Haha!

 

Once we got settled in though, things were much better. We gave the kids time to rest from the long bus ride and decided to stay in for the rest of the day. On Saturday, after doing our talk and sharing at the retreat, our friends invited us to join them for an afternoon of family bonding.

Our first stop was Burnham Park.

We went boating together and managed to get a boat that could accommodate all nine of us. It was pretty hot on the lake, since we were there at about 3 p.m., but we had fun nonetheless! Our little man Tim had such a fun time helping his Papa row the boat!

 

We were all a bit hungry after that, so we had some yummy snacks to boost our energy levels! When in Baguio, try to get a taste of the strawberry-flavored taho! Being a taho lover myself, I couldn’t help indulging my sweet tooth with this unique Baguio offering. Even our little princess had a taste!

She enjoyed her sweet corn on the cob more though! Kuya Tim also had his fill of this nutritious and filling snack. Our kids absolutely LOVE corn!

 

I love the fact that food-tripping for our family need not be expensive. It is indeed a blessing that we are happy and content with the simple things in life. Of course, having more than our basic needs is a great blessing as well.

After Burnham, our friends recommended that we go to the Good Shepherd Convent to hang out. Since we had never been there before, hubby and I agreed. We had a lot of fun there (despite our very tired Tim throwing tantrums! Hehe!), basking in the beauty of God’s creation, and taking lots of pictures as well! The kids enjoyed running around, goofing off, posing for pictures and playing with the pinwheels in the garden.

 
 
 
 
 

Ah, the simple things in life! Thank the Lord for them! Being at Good Shepherd Convent reminded me that our family’s anchor verse (Matthew 6: 33-34), which is also part of my blog’s header, is so, so true! When we seek God’s kingdom first, i.e. put Him as our number one priority, everything else will follow. He will take care of everything we need! I would love to go back to Good Shepherd again, maybe even visit the Chapel or have a mini-retreat with the hubby, this time minus the kids. Hmmm... for Holy Week, maybe?

After Good Shepherd, we took a cab to the 50’s Diner. We had all heard from friends that it was a good place to try out in Baguio so off we went. There was a really long line of people waiting and it took about more than 30 minutes for us to be seated.

There were a lot of options in their menu but I settled for sweet and sour pork for myself, and ordered spaghetti and chicken for the kids (who were clamouring for Jollibee! Haha!). Hubby got himself one of their burgers.

 
 

I am sorry to say though that I was a bit disappointed with my meal. The sweet and sour sauce was a tad too sour for my palate. Despite that though, we had fun having dinner with our friends. We have known Lawrence and Anna ever since our single missionary days, and he and hubby used to serve together in our community’s campus-based youth ministry. I enjoyed swapping wifey and mommy stories with Anna, and really admire her for doing her best as a stay-at-home mom.

A tip though for families with little kids who plan to dine out in Baguio – make sure that the kids have had enough rest, or that you have back-up food (i.e. snacks) for picky eaters (like our Kuya Tim!). This way, you can avoid the embarrassment of your kids throwing tantrums over their food. Yes, he threw tantrums again! Such is life with our beloved son! I have to admit though that I overreacted a bit (must have been tired too!) and should have been more understanding and patient with him.) Raising a headstrong preschool-aged boy is always a challenge but nevertheless, it is also a wonderful opportunity for us parents to learn more about love, patience, tolerance and forgiveness.

Having said that, let me go on to the last few insights brought about by our Baguio trip. The whole weekend was a timely reminder that the old saying “The best things in life are free” is really true. One of the best parts about our Baguio trip was that our transportation and accommodations were free of charge! (What a generous God we have, and thank you so much CFC Metro Manila East A Sector!) Being surrounded by nature was a refreshing change from the smoky, littered streets of Metro Manila, and I was reminded about how precious our environment is and how we should do our part to conserve it. I was also reminded that I need to be more patient, kind and understanding as a mother and a wife.

But probably the most meaningful part of our Baguio trip was this: being with hundreds of couples who are just as “crazy” as we are – ready to “put on the full armor of God,” as our theme for the retreat went – to fight for what is true and just and right in the eyes of our Lord. What a great way to spend the first weekend of Lent!

 
 

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