Let's Go to Baguio (Part 9): Strolling Right in Wright Park

Our Leisurely Stroll in Wright Park of Baguio City

After buying ube jam and other yummy pasalubong in Good Shepherd Convent, La Familia Ahab journeyed on to another Baguio tourist spot. Which is another park. Which is connected to another American governor general. That tourist spot is the Wright Park.

Information about Wright Park of Baguio City

Wright Park was named after Luke Edward Wright, who was the governor general of the Philippines from 1904 to 1906.


The park is very accessible to tourists. We reached Wright Park from Good Shepherd Convent by riding a jeep. We disembarked just across this stairway:

Stairway to Wright Park of Baguio City

It was another very high climb! This reminded me of another stairway to Baguio Cathedral that we climbed the previous day. 

Up we go! My Beloved Wife, my firstborn son Samuel, and me climbed to the top. My youngest child Samantha had it easy because I carried her all way.

Going up to Wright Park of Baguio City

The view was underwhelming when we reached the top of the stairs. What we saw is a relatively empty space made of concrete. This is not a good reward after that long and exhausting climb.

The kids' reaction was different. They viewed the open space as a good place to run. As for me, I found a bench to rest.

Promenade of Wright Park of Baguio City

Wright Park is popular for the Riding Circle, where visitors can ride a horse for a fee. Too bad that we didn't know about that. We could've let our children experience riding a horse. 

I was almost disappointed with Wright Park until I saw the "Pool of Pines".

Pool of Pines in Wright Park of Baguio City

The rectangular shallow pool is lined up with pine trees on both sides. At the end is the white-colored The Mansion. The place is quite scenic.

We had very good photos at Wright Park. Me and my wife also had a good rest while sitting on the bench and enjoying the cool shade provided by the pine trees.

Pine trees in Wright Park of Baguio City

Our little ones, on the other hand, enjoyed running in the pine tree forest.

Little Ahab running under the pines in Wright Park of Baguio City

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2019 List of No Visa Country for Filipinos

Philippine Passport

How far can a Philippine passport bring us? This is the question that Filipino Sojourners like me asked when I received my passport. Some of our kababayan OFWs use the Philippine passport as key to a better future. For others, the Philippine passport is the key to tourist destinations outside of the country.

According to Henley Passport Index, the Philippine passport can only bring us to 67 countries and territories without applying for a visa at the embassy or consular offices. Passport issued by other countries can take their nationals to more destinations. The Japanese passport, which is the top 1 on the list,  can bring its holder to 189 countries visa-free. It just show that many countries wanted the Japanese people as visitors. The Philippine passport, on the other hand, is ranked 73rd  out of 104 ranks.

67 countries and territories that offer visa free entry to Filipinos is still good news. So pick up your travel bucket list and write the names of countries and territories included in the 2019 List of No-Visa-Entry Countries for Filipinos:


ASEAN

1. Brunei
2. Cambodia
3. Indonesia
4. Laos
5. Malaysia
6. Myanmar 
7. Singapore
9. Vietnam

Asia

1. Hong Kong
2. Kyrgyzstan (Visa on Arrival) 
3. Macao
4. Maldives (Visa on Arrival)
5. Mongolia
6. Nepal (Visa on Arrival)
7. Sri Lanka (Visa on Arrival)
8. Taiwan
9. Tajikistan (Visa on Arrival)
10. Timor Leste (Visa on Arrival)

Africa

1. Benin (Visa on Arrival)
2. Cape Verde Islands (Visa on Arrival)
3. Comores Islands (Visa on Arrival)
4. Cote d'Ivoire
5. Djibouti (Visa on Arrival)
6. Gambia
7. Guinea-Bissau (Visa on Arrival)
8. Kenya (Visa on Arrival)
9. Madagascar (Visa on Arrival)
10. Malawi (Visa on Arrival)
11. Mauritania (Visa on Arrival)
12. Mauritius (Visa on Arrival)
13. Morocco
14. Mozambique (Visa on Arrival)
15. Rwanda 
16. Senegal
17. Seychelles (Visa on Arrival)
18. Somalia (Visa on Arrival)
19. Tanzania (Visa on Arrival)
20. Togo (Visa on Arrival)
21. Uganda (Visa on Arrival)

Oceania

1. Cook Islands
2. Fiji
3. Marshall Islands (Visa on Arrival)
4. Micronesia
5. Niue
6. Palau Islands (Visa on Arrival)
7. Papua New Guinea (Visa on Arrival)
8. Samoa (Visa on Arrival)
9. Tuvalu (Visa on Arrival)
10. Vanuatu

Caribbean

1. Dominica
2. Haiti
3. St. Lucia (Visa on Arrival)
4. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
5. Trinidad and Tobago (Visa on Arrival)

Americas

1. Bolivia
2. Brazil
3. Colombia
4. Costa Rica 
5. Ecuador
6. Nicaragua (Visa on Arrival)
7. Peru
8. Suriname

Middle East

1. Armenia (Visa on Arrival)
2. Iran (Visa on Arrival)
3. Israel
4. Palestinian Territory

The 2019 List of No-Visa-Entry Countries for Filipinos was referred to the Henley Passport Index.

Henley Passport Index ranks world passport according to the number of destinations that their holders can enter without a prior visa or visa issued by embassies and consular offices. 

Filipinos can enter countries and territories listed above without applying for visa in their embassies or consular offices in Manila. It is notable that countries and territories in Europe, North America, and first world countries are not included in the list. In short, we Filipinos need to apply for visa to enter those countries. 

The countries and territories listed above are not that bad. Israel, for example, is part of many travel bucket list of Filipinos because many of our kababayan wanted to visit the places associated with our lord Jesus Christ. I, for one, want to go to Israel and do a sort of pilgrimage to the holy sites in that country.

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Let's Go to Baguio (Part 8): Buying Our Favorite Good Shepherd's Ube Jam

Buying Ube Jam in Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio

My most favorite pasalubong from Baguio is none other than the famous Good Shepherd Ube Jam. The delectable and sweet ube jam is always my request to anyone who care to ask me what pasalubong I want to have from the City the Pines. It is sweet and creamy that I can almost finish a jar in one sitting.

Ergo, when we visited Baguio City, we made sure that to spare time to visit the source of ube jam yummy goodness: Good Shepherd's Convent Baguio.

Gate of Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio

How to Go to Good Shepherd's Convent


Commuting to Good Shepherd’s Convent from Burnham Park is quite easy. Just ride a jeep going to Mines View Park at the terminal located near Harrison Street corner Mabini Street. The jeepney terminal is located in front of Danes Bakery.

Good Shepherd's Convent is around 500 meters away from the entrance gate of Mines View Park. We went to the convent after our lunch at Cinco Antonios Bistro. The convent is above the hill so it was a walk against gravity. Good thing that our little ones were able to recharge during lunch break so they managed to walk to the convent.

Our Experience at Good Shepherd's Convent of Baguio


Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio

We were welcomed by St. Joseph upon entry through the gate of Good Shepherd's Convent. He is a model worker, thus, he is a perfect patron for the hardworking people of Good Shepherd's pasalubong factory.

St. Joseph in Good Shepherd Convent Baguio

It was still an uphill climb from the gate. Good thing that trees and vegetation within the convent area so we walked under the shade.

Walking to the Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio

At the end of the road is the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Jesus in Good Shepherd Convent Baguio

The Good Shepherd’s Convent is not the original structure in the area. The site was given by the Baguio City government as gift of gratitude to the American Governor-General William Cameron Forbes, who was considered as the Father of Baguio because Kennon and Naguilian Roads, Burnham Park, Mansion House,  Baguio Country Club, and other city projects were finished during his term.

History marker of the Top Side in Good Shepherd Convent Baguio

The governor-general named the place “Top Side”. He later sold it to Elsie and Samuel Gaches when his term as governor general ended in 1913. The Gaches were the owner of the Heacock's Department Store, which was a prestigious department store in Escolta.

History of Good Shepherd Convent Baguio

The  Good Shepherd Sisters, officially known as the Religious of the Good Shepherd, was established in France by Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier in 1835. Their pastoral work is focused on the care and education of girls and young women in difficulty.



The Good Shepherd Sisters went to the Philippines from Burma in 1913 in response to the invitation Bishop Joseph Petrelli of the newly formed Diocese of Lipa. The sisters established St. Bridget Academy in Batangas City.

Old gate of Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio
Old gate of the Good Shepherd's Convent in Baguio (source: RGS website)

The Good Shepherd Sisters first went to Baguio to escape the summer heat. They stayed in the convent of other religious sisters. The sisters wanted their own vacation house in Baguio so in 1948 the Sisters Mary Dominica Long, Holy Name Hamilton, and Evarista Mullaney toured the city until they came upon a half-open gate with a fading "FOR SALE" sign. They discovered the abandoned house of the Gaches that was damaged by bombs during the War. Despite these, the sisters still bought the place where they built their convent and a chapel. They also built a cottage for visitors.

The old convent of Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio
The old convent of Good Shepherd Sisters in Baguio. (Source: RGS website)

The Good Shepherd's Convent has wide space for vehicle parking. It also has a viewing deck that have a good view of the old mines, which is similar to the Observation Deck in Mines View Park but less crowded.

View of the Cordillera mountains from Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio

The viewing deck is adorned with beautiful flowers. Actually, the whole place is adorned with plants, trees, and flowers.

Sunflowers in Good Shepherd Convent Baguio

At the viewing deck is the image of Good Shepherd's Sisters patron: Our Lady of the Good Shepherd.

Our Lady of the Good Shepherd in Good Shepherd Convent Baguio

Ube jam and other yummy pasalubong are not the only items for sale at the convent. The sisters are also sell organic arts and crafts.

Arts and Crafts Store of Good Shepherd Convent Baguio

After our short tour around the grounds of Good Shepherd's Convent, we returned to the store and patiently waited for our turn to buy my favorite Good Shepherd ube jam. The line is quite long and the parking lot is filled with cars of tourists who wanted to bring home yummy pasalubong from Baguio.

Long line of buyers of pasalubong at Good Shepherd Convent Baguio

The business success of Good Shepherd Sisters was actually born out of necessity. In 1952, the Sisters established an orphanage that serve as home for around 120 orphan girls of the Cordilleras. Unfortunately,  they don't have enough money so the Sisters were forced to beg and the orphans were often fed unsold and rotten veggies.

The Sisters knew that they cannot go on begging forever so they started a business and the Mountain Maid brand is born.

Mountain Maid Training Center in Good Shepherd Convent Baguio

The Sisters first product is the strawberry jam, which they sold at Mines View Park. The reason why they chose strawberry jam is because of the “divine inspiration” of Sister Mary Carmel Medalla who remembered the strawberry jam recipe that she learned during her novitiate training in Los Angeles, USA. The Sisters and the orphans helped in perfecting the strawberry jam recipe. Mother Mary John of the Cross Kroner, the mother superior during that time, also provided a recipe that she learned while growing up in a strawberry farm in USA.

The strawberry jam became a hit to the tourists because they can bring home strawberries, which are easily bruised during transport and have short shelf lives. The Good Shepherd's new enterprise provided fund not only for the orphanage but also for the nunnery.

Good Shepherd Ube Jam

My favorite Good Shepherd Ube Jam was also created by a nun. In 1976, Sister Fidelis Atienza created the recipe of ube jam in an attempt to copy the original Baguio ube halaya Tantamco. Sister Mary Assumption Ocampo perfected Sister Atienza's recipe and the result is the best ube jam in the city. In an article in Yummy says that Good Shepherd ube jam is so delicious because they only use fresh ube (purple yam) sourced directly from farmers, Alaska milk, Anchor butter, and no food coloring or preservatives.

Good Shepherd Baguio Products

Strawberry jam and ube jam were not the only products being produced by Good Shepherd's Convent in Baguio. Their other products are mango jam, orange-lemon marmalade, orange marmalade, pickled sayote.

Good Shepherd Baguio Products


Aside from jams, they also sell cookies and biscuits like chocolate crinkles, alfajor, angel cookies, snowballs, lengua de gato, and choco chips oatmeal. They also have peanut-based products such as peanut butter, peanut brittle, toasted peanuts, and peanut adobo.

Customers buying Good Shepherd Baguio Products

My Beloved Wife waited in line and after 30 minutes we finally got my favorite ube jam. She also bought ube jam and peanut brittle, which are the pasalubong for our loved ones.

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Read more about our adventures in Baguio City:

Let's Go to Baguio (Part 1): The Family Adventure Begins
Let's Go to Baguio (Part 5): Picking Strawberries in La Trinidad, Benguet
Let's Go to Baguio (Part 6): Underwhelming Experience in Mines View Park

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References:

RGS Baguio History and Journey from Charity to Social Enterprise in Religious of the Good Shepherd website.

The Success Story of Mountain Maid: Nuns Sell Baguio 'Pasalubong' Help Cordillera Youth in Business News Philippines

Do You Know What Makes Good Shepherd’s Ube Jam Delicious? in Yummy

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd and St. Bridget College in Wikipedia
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