I was a happy shutter bug at Camp John Hay and could have spent the entire afternoon there if I hadn’t checked the time. It was already 3:40pm and I still had a few places in Baguio that I wanted to visit.

It had been a long time since my first trip in Baguio (eight years ago). It happened during an education tour when I was still in high school. We visited the attractions of Baguio and the nearby Balatoc Gold Mine.

Of course, an initiation to Baguio wouldn’t be complete without going to the touristy spots like Wright Park, The Mansion, and Mines View Park. I wanted to revisit these places to take new photos and know what had changed all these years.

Welcome to Baguio City Wright Park

The Mansion Baguio

From Camp John Hay, it took less than 5 minutes by taxi going to “The Mansion,” which is located at the far end of Wright Park. The Mansion (also called The Mansion House”) is the official summer residence of the President of the Philippines.

The Mansion was built in 1908 during the American-colonial era to serve as the residence of U.S. Governors-General. It was badly damaged during the Second World War and was rebuilt in 1947. Since then, it was used as the venue of many important events such as the first meeting of the South East Asian Union during the term of former President Elpidio Quirino.

The Mansion Gate

Mansion House NHI Historical Marker

The Mansion Baguio

There was a huge gate at the front where visitors could take photo-ops of the mansion. I was not sure if walking up to the mansion itself was allowed. I did not bother since the view of Wright Park’s lagoon looked more captivating.

Wright Park

I had not noticed the lagoon back then. I guess my short adolescent attention span was to blame :)

I loved this park now. It’s one of my favorite spots in Baguio. Good thing there weren’t swarms of tourists around. The view of the lengthy lagoon bordered by tall pines was very scenic. I could imagine spending many lazy afternoons here.

Wright Park Lagoon

Sad Horses at Wright Park

Went down a flight of stairs and saw the horse-back riding area. I suddenly had a rush of nostalgia.

Being kids, we were very excited to try horse-back riding. Fulfilling my childhood dream of riding colorful ponies perhaps deluded my perception of things.

What was once a place filled with cheerful and happy memories turned into a sad and gloomy void of tourist trapdom.

Seeing past the colorful decor were the sad faces of the horses. Maybe I was just humanizing the body language of these critters too much but they just looked so sad. Their hunched backs, glassy-eyed empty stares, and frowns were so obvious.

Sad horses at Wright Park Baguio

Wright Park pony Boys Association. P300 per hour, P200 for 30 minutes.

Mines View Park

From Wright Park, there was a jeepney route which looped around Baguio City Proper, Wright Park, and then Mines View Park. Commuting in this area was very easy.

I did not like Mines View Park even before. Back in 2003, there were already a bunch of rooftops ruining the great view of the mountainside. Now, it had taken a turn for the worse.

Baguio has become too dense that many of its outlying areas have started to be filled with houses and commercial buildings. I’ve seen much better views along the highway en route to Baguio than in Mines View Park.

Mines View Park Baguio

The view

Good Shepherd pasalubong shop beside Mines View Park

Concrete Mountains

On the jeepney ride back to Baguio City Proper, I noticed this uber dense urban area and decided to drop-off to get a better view. So disheartening to see concrete structures covering entire mountain tops.

Overpopulation is a problem in almost all major cities in the Philippines. No city is perfect. Each has its set of own problems but I think Baguio is more prone to the negative effects of degrading environmental conditions.

Sunset at SM City Baguio

Went back to SM City Baguio hoping to take sunset photos. The balcony at the upper floors affords a good westerly view.

I got lucky. I didn’t know sunsets in Baguio could be this beautiful!

Sunset in Baguio. 6pm




I savored every moment at the balcony of SM City Baguio until the red hues of the sunset dies out. I wasn’t in a hurry to leave. I had a strong feeling I’d be spending another lonely night at the empty hostel … and I did.