|A couple of our friends posing by the entrance to the academy.|
The last spot on our list was the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Museum inside Fort Del Pilar as well as the vintage war paraphernalia displayed on its grounds. There's the customary vehicle check at the entrance. No slippers or sleeveless shirts allowed inside so better dress appropriately when you visit.
Before heading to the museum, we stopped at a parking lot to pay a fee of Php20 per person to tour the grounds including the museum.
Our first stopover was the Korean War Memorial where vintage war paraphernalia are displayed. There were tanks and canons of different kinds. Only the outer shells of the tanks are there though as the insides are empty.
|Our friends taking pictures of the old tanks.|
|PMA alumni who died in service have their names etched unto this wall.|
|The steps on one side of the site which looked like a garden where these old war machines can rest.|
After taking photos, it was time to head out to the museum. There was a parking lot near the building so we took a spot and walked our way towards the museum. We told our friends that the PMA cadets were quite tall and that they were taught to greet back when visitors greeted them. This made them quite excited to meet some cadets.
|Our friends walking to the museum building.|
It took us a few minutes to find the museum entrance as the building was right along side other buildings. It was also almost lunch time when we located the museum and the cadets must be on their way to their lunch breaks after classes so we greeted them and asked some of them to pose with us for photos. They obliged but we didn't detain them for long as we knew they had a schedule to follow.
|A snappy cadet posing with our friends.|
|We hope these cadets didn't arrive late to their destination because of our interruption.|
We were thankful for the cadets who allowed time for us to pose with them. We then entered the museum to learn more of what the academy was all about. By this time however, our camera had run out of batteries so we were only able to take a few pictures.
|Pictures of early batches in different activities are displayed on the entrance corridor.|
|A display of what cadets' rooms look like with their very neatly organized cabinets.|
There were many pictures of previous batches of cadets engaged in different activities like sports and attending classes as well as during their graduation ceremonies where their uniforms really make them look snappy and elegant at the same time.
A section of the museum displayed a replica of the cadets' dorm rooms including their very organized cabinets and their study space. We wished our closets were just as organized but we have too many clothes.
There were many more things to see such as a display of how the uniform design evolved since the academy started. When we had completed touring the museum, we were ready for lunch so we headed back to the city to satisfy our tummies.
It took us a while to get to Cafe by the Ruins because of the mid-day traffic and we also had to wait for a parking slot at the restaurant because it could only accommodate a few vehicles. So when we were finally seated, we were really hungry.
|Our friends finally able to sit down to order some lunch.|
The waiters were all friendly but I guess they were all so busy as there were so many people. The place was packed so it took us a while to get our orders served. The place was interesting though; the wooden tables and chairs and the overall native vibe was a great distraction from our grumbling stomachs. The restaurant serves food made with authentic spices and ingredients all grown in Baguio so our friends appreciated the items on the menu.
After lunch, we took a short trip to buy items at SM for our journey back to Manila. This time, we had to wait a while for the van to fetch us because the afternoon traffic was even worse than the mid-day one. So in the meantime, our friends took pictures of the city from the upper floors of the mall.
|Last look at the city before going back to Manila.|
|A foggy view of the city from the mall.|
We took Kennon Road on the way to Manila so we made a stopover at the Lion's Head for our friends to look for souvenirs at the shops.
|The Lion's Head at Kennon Road|
|Wooden sculptures and furniture from local craftsmen.|
It was a full day of touring Baguio so the trip home was a chance to relax and sleep away our chilly and aching limbs. We had dinner at one of the stopovers and arrived in Manila at night. We let our friends get their rest. We would fetch them and take them to the airport the next day.
The next day, we spent the extra time to get pictures at the Rizal Monument in Luneta Park as well as the Coconut Palace facade and to visit a Taoist temple. Our friends were game for all this despite the constant rain. We did bring umbrellas along to keep everyone dry.
Then it was time to bring them back to the airport. At the departure entrance they each gave us a tight hug and we couldn't help but hug back. We didn't think we'd miss them that much but we did and we cried a bit as we saw them go inside. They waved goodbye as well until we lost site of them.
We had spent 8 days with these friends and got to know each other and even learned a bit about each other's cultures. There were times when the trip presented difficult challenges but we all overcame them. We were thankful that we made new friends and we promised ourselves to keep on creating new adventures for new friends and old friends to enjoy with us.