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An occasionally belligerent mother of five and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Parks and Recreation: The Botanical Gardens and The Burnham Children's Playground

We've all heard of the saying "The best things in life are free", and to a certain extent, it is. For this edition of The Mediocre Wanderer, I'm featuring two places In Baguio where you could bring your whole family, give your kids a wide open space to run, have a picnic, take pretty pictures, or to simply be one with nature.

First up is The Children's Park found in Burnham Park.

It seems to me that this park has been around for forever, as far as my lifespan is concerned. Since I was 3, I could remember either one or both of my parents, bringing me here once a week, right after Sunday service.

This place, situated right beside the bicycle area, had swing sets, slides of varying heights, monkey bars and gliders, not to mention these life sized elephant statues that dad used to perch me on top of.

For a long while, this part of the park went into a slow decline, until thankfully, the City government stepped in and rehabilitated it.

Aside from the standard playground implements, there are a lot tree shaded areas on a  wide expanse of grass. As it is enclosed by a pretty sturdy perimeter fence, having a picnic while the kids run themselves tired is quite plausible. It's also quite clean.

There's actually a person stationed at this area of the park who ensures the proper maintenance of the place. Of course, the rest of Burnham park is free and still quite enjoyable to walk through.

Another park that has found a resurgence of sorts, is The Baguio Botanical Gardens.

Back in the 80s, this was known as The Imelda Park, named after our ex first lady, Mrs. Imelda Marcos. I wasn't born then, but old maps of Baguio have hinted that this was once a zoo (think 70s). According to Baguio old timers, the animals did not fare well with the cool climes of the city, and died off one by one.

Now, The Baguio Botanical Gardens is a place to commune with nature, check out local art from the Baguio Arts Guild Gallery and see the various areas that were created to match the various sister cities of Baguio.

One area also houses tourist shops and snackage. There are, on occasions, horses for rent within the park.

As most of the terrain was left unchanged, stairs or driving through a dirt road are your options in entering the grassy surface of this park. It is not stroller and wheelchair friendly. It is however, perfect for picnics.

kids have to be looked after in this place, given the terrain

Tall pine trees surround the area, and I swear, the air in this place comes off clean and crisp, and the temperature, slightly cooler than the city proper.

Prior to bringing MAX over to go on horse rides, The last time I was here was when I was around 4 years old. It was during the Holy Week and I remember someone thrusting a mic towards me with a camera pointed in my direction and my mom beside the cameraman. I had to say the words "Hi my name is Maila. Good morning Manila" (for a PTV 4 AM program) with Baby O'Brian. It took 19+ takes and it was my first tv appearance :p

Of course, while all these areas are free of charge, a visitor must always make sure to do right by it. Leave it the way it was. Don't leave anything behind, especially your trash. Don't pick flowers and take the local flora as your own, everyone deserves the chance to see them. And lastly, don't vandalize. Multi colored shades of spray paint is not a product of mother nature, it has no business coloring the area.

From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!

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