October road trip to Baguio

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Road trip led us to SM City Baguio.

Our road trip to Baguio was just exciting, fun and at the same time, we learned many things, both old and new in Baguio. Our trip was by the invitation of our friends from SM Malls to cover the SM City Baguio tree planting activity that happened on October 24, 2012.

Together with SM Mall Digital and Marketing Officers Jesse Herrera and Abi Altares, we headed on early morning of October 23 towards the road going up to the northern province known as the City of Pines.

Riding on a Toyota Fortuner, we hitched our ride with Pop Azrael and Recycle Bin of a Middle Child (Alex) for a long 6 hours but fun-packed ride to the north.

RBofAMC, Pop Azrael, and the author during our pit-stop at Shell  Select Bocaue

Ms. Mel Corbito, SM Mall Group Marketing Manager met us at the Shell Select Bocaue NLEX where we had our first meal of the day. Ms. Mel handles other SM Malls located in the northern part of the country like Baliwag, Rosales, Baguio, and soon-to-be established Dagupan branch.

It was 8am and the sun was clearly shining and promising a clear weather day amidst the Typhoon Ofel which hits the Visayas and Mindanao provinces that day.

A wonderful clear skies perfect for a fun-packed road trip.

We enjoyed the morning ride as we passed by key provinces like Pampanga, Tarlac and Pangasinan. While passing Pampanga, we were reminded of the devastation that Mt. Pinatubo caused when it erupted in 1991 but on the good part, the area that was greatly damaged eventually bounced back and at the present is haven for tourist spots and destinations. Mt. Pinatubo is now open for tourists and travelers who want to experience great adventures.

When we reached SM City Rosales, we went down the ride and took our hearty lunch meal at Gerry’s Grill. SM Rosales was one of the establishments greatly affected by Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng on 2009 and 2010. Now, SM Rosales stands as one of the busiest and well-visited recreational establishment in the flourishing town of Pangasinan province.

Sunlight beaming through SM City Rosales logo.
Adobo Flakes and Kare-Kare at Gerry’s Grill in SM CIty Rosales.

After our lunch, we hopped back to our ride and trailed on for three more hours on the road.

The famed Lion’s Head along Kennon Road greets visitors of  Baguio City.

Exactly 3pm, we arrived at SM City Baguio. we went straight to the Admin Office where we were welcome by Dave Dulay, SM City Baguio Marketing Officer. Dave introduced us to some of the mall’s officers and brouht us to the office of Ed Canta, Consular Office and Regional Director, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Baguio. Dir. Ed accommodated us and gamely answered some of our queries regarding the e-passport processing in their place. Dir. Ed was fun to have conversation with. He shared to us the reasons of convenience that paved the way for DFA to open up additional satellite office in SM City Baguio which was originally set-up in Legarda.

SM City Baguio DFA Satellite Office.
DFA Consular Office and Regional Director Ed Canta sat down with us as he shared his vision for the newest branch. Also shown in photo is Dave Dulay (right), Sm City Baguio Marketing Officer.

After our conversation with Dir. Ed, we were toured at the Pine Nursery where all the saplings of Pine trees are being taken care of, from seedlings until they reach the young age for the right time for planting. More than 50,000 seedlings and saplings combined are nourished in preparation for planting activities spearheaded by SM City Baguio as their commitment to preserve the environment in Baguio. Janssen Pe, SM City Bauio Mall Manager accompanied us to the nursery area. He jokingly mentioned that he now memorize all the Botanical terminologies and proud that he is now a self-confessed forester.

Janssen Pe (right), Mall Manager, SM City Baguio showed us the Pine Tree Nursery located within SM City Baguio premises while Pop Azrael (center) looks on.
Saplings ready for planting for the next day activity.

Since 2005, SM City Baguio has already planted more than 8,000 varied tree saplings. Around 3,000 Pine trees were planted at Busol Watershed; 900 at Mt. Sto. Tomas; 1,500 at Buyog Watershed; 2,000 at Burnham Park and 800, within SM City Baguio mall premises, according to Sun Star Baguio article on February 4 & 5, 2012.

And like what we have mentioned above, our visit in Baguio was to cover Let’s Plant 50,000 Trees on the following day.

The saplings are very beautiful to see and we really expect that this advocacy of SM City Baguio will continue for more years to come.

Tip of the sapling nurtured inside the Pine Tree Nursery.

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Dinner time. Our group enjoyed a sumptuous dinner at Kangaroo Jack Steaks & Grill, one of the new tenants of SM City Baguio. Being a regular customer, Sir Janssen recommended the All Barbecue (P645) and Steak & Ribs (695) Platter. Man, for a group of 8 persons, these platter servings can really fill up the tummies with the right combinations of seafood, red meat, fish, crisp veggies and side dish! That was our first at Kangaroo Jack Steaks & Grill. We usually see KJSG at SM City North EDSA and we just passed-by it. Now that we have experienced KJSG, we will be coming back for more and like Janssen, we’ll recommend it for everyone to try.

Kangaroo Jack located at the Upper Ground Floor of SM City Baguio.
SM Malls Digital Officer, Jesse Herrera poses for a hefty Kangaroo Jack platter.

(to be continued)


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