Panagbenga Power at The Manor with Alden Richards, Maine Mendoza, Enchong Dee and Bea Alonzo

I always knew that PANAGBENGA was a flower festival. But I never imagined that it would be this elaborate!

It was my first time to attend and I was swept off my feet! It wasn’t so much the variety of flowers as the presentation of the floats that displayed them. Was pleasantly surprised to see floats as big as jeepneys with every last inch of the float covered in flowers or greens!

Here are a few of my favorites:

This one with polar bears complete with sound!

The City of Baguio’s Float

It’s More Fun in the Philippines – The DOT Float 

The Everlasting Monkeys.

Note that the entire monkey is made of Everlasting flowers!

The Green Elephant

The SM Prince and Princess Float

I was also blown away by the costumes of those who walked in the parade depicting flowers! Some of the girls walked the entire stretch of the parade from the Supreme Court compound all the way to past Session Road in heels!

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Naaliw din ako sa headdress ng babaeng ito. I’m sure Gina Lopez would approve of her environmentally conscious hat!

The DILG also gave its all-out support to the City of Baguio with no less than DILG Sec. Ismael Sueño and “PNP Dir. Gen. Bato” present:

And the women of the PNP showed full support wearing these native Igorot skirts

The highlight of the parade for residents, though, was the float that carried the love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza and for ABS CBN the float that carried Bea Alonzo and Enchong Dee. Bea was amazing in engaging the Baguio audience. The Aldub team was more reserved, just smiling and talking between themselves inside their float.

All the VIPs – Alden, Maine, Bea – stayed at the luxurious hotel The Manor in Camp John Hay where my family also happened to be staying at and guess who got a photo op with “that girl” … my mom got her attention by telling her that we are neighbors in Sta. Maria, Bulacan …

"That girl" - Aldub's Maine Mendoza and my gorgeous Mother, Wonder Woman Carmelita "Baby" Salcedo at The Manor at Camp John Hay
“That girl” – Aldub’s Maine Mendoza and my gorgeous Mother, Wonder Woman Carmelita “Baby” Salcedo at The Manor at Camp John Hay

… we also got to meet the charming General Manager of The Manor, Mr Ramon Cabrera (right). If you want a discount at The Manor, look for him, hehe! But if you are a Smart Infinity user – like me since 2008 – you may not need to make sipsip to Mr Cabrera because The Manor and SMART Infinity have tied up for a special program exclusively for their members. According to Ms Marites Pamintuan, Manor’s Marketing Director: Room rates can get anywhere between a 30% to 50% discount.  Smart Infinity members can redeem and use this promotion for the month of March. They can contact their Concierge directly for their room accommodation.”

The men behind the success of Panagbenga (L-R): Freddie Alquiroz, Co-Chairman; Anthony de Leon, Chairman of the Flower Festival Foundation; Ramon Cabrera, General Manager of The Manor at Camp John Hay
The men behind the success of Panagbenga (L-R): Freddie Alquiroz, Co-Chairman; Anthony de Leon, Chairman of the Flower Festival Foundation; Ramon Cabrera, General Manager of The Manor at Camp John Hay

I am definitely coming back next year!

The Manor at Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay, Loakan Road, Baguio City
Baguio: +6374 424 0931 to 43
Manila: +632 584 4892, +632 584 4911


Baguio Diaries 2016: Camp John Hay Turns 25

Margaux Salcedo with her Jack Russel farm dog Stardust

Camp John Hay celebrated its 25th Anniversary since the turnover from the Americans.

While we wax patriotic and are obviously ecstatic about the Philippines taking over, we must admit that there are things about the old John Hay that are sorely missed.

So this September, The Manor and The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay, in memory of those good ol’ days of the Star Spangled Banner’s presence, threw a retro party, with music from yesteryears, a vintage car, and, best of all, the old John Hay menu including its steak and burgers!

Camp John Hay Anniversary hosted by Bob Sobrepena and the US AmbassadorChef Billy King of The Manor and Forest Lodge whipped up a spectacular buffet that included a steamship steak, the best chili and the famous John Hay burger.

Camp John Hay Billy King Steamship Steak
Steamship steak that could double as hand carry luggage – that’s how big it was!
Camp John Hay Burger. Photo by Margaux Salcedo.
Can you taste it? Best burger in the country. Chef Billy King’s John Hay burger.
Camp John Hay 25th Year Anniversary. Forest Lodge, Manor, Baguio.
Vintage Menu from the old John Hay.

The highlight of the night, though, was the presence of the US Ambassador, an inevitable guest since John Hay was the 37th Secretary of State of the United States who was responsible for the Treaty of Paris.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg at Camp John HayOf course I had to find out who in revered history is John Hay that an entire US Camp would be named after him. Apparently he was responsible for the Treaty of Paris of 1898!

John Hay was sworn in as Secretary of State on September 30, 1898. He needed little introduction to Cabinet meetings, and sat at the President’s right hand. Meetings were held in the Cabinet Room of the White House, where he found his old office and bedroom each occupied by several clerks. Now responsible for 1,300 federal employees, he leaned heavily for administrative help on his old friend Alvey Adee, the second assistant.]

By the time Hay took office, the war was effectively over and it had been decided to strip Spain of her overseas empire and transfer at least part of it to the United States. At the time of Hay’s swearing-in, McKinley was still undecided whether to take the Philippines, but in October finally decided to do so, and Hay sent instructions to Day and the other peace commissioners to insist on it. Spain yielded, and the result was the Treaty of Paris, narrowly ratified by the Senate in February 1899 over the objections of anti-imperialists.[x]

And the Treaty of Paris paved the way for Philippine Independence!

The Treaty of Paris of 1898 was an agreement made in 1898 that involved Spain relinquishing nearly all of the remaining Spanish Empire, especially Cuba, and ceding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. The cession of the Philippines involved a payment of $20 million from the United States to Spain.[1] The treaty was signed on December 10, 1898, and ended the Spanish–American War. The Treaty of Paris came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged.[2]

Fabulous party! Props to the Sobrepeñas for maintaining Camp John Hay and keeping it gorgeous even after 25 years!


Margaux Salcedo with her Jack Russel farm dog Stardust
Vintage car at the Forest Lodge in Baguio with Stardust
Marites Pamintuan and finance guru/musician William Russel Sobrepeña. Camp John Hay, Forest Lodge, Baguio.
Marites Pamintuan and finance guru/musician William Russel Sobrepeña
Camp John Hay 25 Years, Dino Datu of Cook Magazine, Rica Palomo Espiritu of ManilaSpeak
Dino Datu of Cook Magazine, Rica Palomo Espiritu of ManilaSpeak at the Forest Lodge
Camp John Hay 25 Years Anniversary with Cong. Mark Go, Berg Go, Marbee Shing Go
My relatives (?!) – Cong. Mark Go, Berg Go and lovely wife Marbee Shing Go – and me (!) MarGAUX :))
CAMP JOHN HAY 25 Years. Vicky Perez de Tagle and Peng de Tagle
Top executive and jazz patron Peng de Tagle with lovely wife PR queen Vicky Perez de Tagle.
Camp John Hay Us Ambassador Philip Goldberg Baguio
Having a great laugh with the Ambassador. We were trying to decipher the etymology of words like “bayot” and “p*tang*ina” LOL


Summer at Eve’s Garden, La Trinidad

I had to submit an article on healthy food to Inquirer Red and just had to include this memorable healthy meal that included not only greens but also flowers right from Eve’s Garden up in the mountains of La Trinidad, Benguet.

Yes, we have treasures like this here in the Philippines if you know where to look.

Here’s a flashback to September 2012 when I visited Eve’s Garden with my favorite couple in the universe – my parents 🙂

It was a looooong drive. The lady on the phone told us that it would take only fifteen minutes to reach Eve’s Garden from the Manor at Camp John Hay. But it took us a whole hour.

Continue reading “Summer at Eve’s Garden, La Trinidad”