So what’s new in Baguio? Aside from what I’ve written about Baguio lately, there isn’t much really aside from new eateries, events and activities. Most of the new stuff are extending far out of Baguio’s corners. We had time to kill for the afternoon after lunch so we decided to go to this one lesser known landmark that I haven’t been to which they call the Bell Church, found up north of Baguio at the border of La Trinidad.
I got empty stares and disapproving nods when I asked a few taxi drivers to take us to the “Taoist Temple”. I had to be specific with “Bell Church” before we got a driver to understand where we’re going. It seems paradoxical to call a temple a “Church” which is a references to the western Christian religion. Has religious references in the modern times been liberated that much that we can interchange them? I’m not sure. I can’t even clearly differentiate a Taoist from a Buddhist temple.
The road in Baguio is like an intestine with its narrow intersecting streets. It can be confusing if you’re new in the area but like any other place, spend a few time there and it’s easy to adapt. It didn’t take too long before we reached Bell Church. It’s exactly just before the La Trinidad Arc border. Jeeps going to La Trinidad from Baguio center pass by the area so it’s an easy find. From the street the Temple or Church can be seen up on a hill just past a bridge and alley where dragons lead on the sides.
It’s a fairly new temple, a fusion probably since some of the structures are already modern except for the distinct oriental roof and colors. Drumbeats from children studying the correct beat and timing on hitting the drums drew us on the main plaza grounds with a small fountain at the center. While the girls do the drums, some of the boys were practicing their dragon dance routines.
The well manicured garden with several pathways attracted me to explore. I actually liked the pagodas at the top but they were closed for further inspection. But the view was nice with the bright red arc in contrast with the disconsolate hills of houses on its backdrop. Honestly, I think Baguio’s real estate is being filled to the brim.
Nevertheless, the temple or Bell Church is a really nice side trip in Baguio. It’s a bright and solemn spot with a garden that is ideal for quiet introspection. Just read the signs – it’s not a dating area. But couples can get their fortune told at the temple so I heard. We headed back to town central Session Road and had an early dinner at a fave restaurant Oh My Gulay. Baguio is a nice place to be a vegetarian. Their veggies are so good you’d love it even if you’re not a green-eater.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.