ABANAO STREET

One peculiar landmark in the city is located at this street. It is the horse-watering trough that divides the street right after the overpass across Sunshine and Marbay, a reminder of the old Baguio. This street is a short stretch that starts at the intersection of Magsaysay Avenue and Harrison Road and ends where it merges with Naguillian Road and Kayang Street at City Hall.

This is a busy thoroughfare as the route leads to the Baguio City Hall. During the day, the corner becomes a bottleneck as businesses at Marbay and Sunshine Grocery do brisk business and jeepneys turn through Zandueta Street to turn around up Kayang Street and the City Public Market. At night, the street gets busy with nocturnal activities on both sides of the road with the beckoning lights of disco joints and taxis ferrying passengers.

Mount Peak Hotel and Restaurant occupies the corner of Abanao and Zandueta. Prominent among the shops that follow it are Bingo Grocery, the Peek-A-Boo Disco Joint, Pineda's Furnitures, Allied Bank and the Empire Cinema at the end corner. At the opposite side right after Sunshine is City Lunch, another Chinese Restaurant. There is a small pharmacy adjacent to this restaurant followed by Abanao Dry Goods. Joe's Laundry who cleans my father's dress uniforms is next to this dry goods store followed by a Filipino Restaurant, called Bahay Kawayan. It serves pampango delicacies.

Ambassador Hotel is next in the line before the Orange County Disco formerly the Country Tavern. At the corner would be Ong King's Auto Supply. Chanum Street separates this block to the next one. This street is used as a parking area for jeeps plying Sto Tomas Road on one side and jeeps going to La Union on the other side. Mini busses enroute to La Union are also parked on this street. The block starts with a vacant lot that has a temporary structure operating as a beer joint. This is right beside Manila Café, one of the old restaurant's in the city owned by the Lansang family which has become a favorite watering hole of some friends who without fail would drop by for a glass of beer after a court session at City Hall. It has just become a habit for me to look for them first at this joint before looking elsewhere in the City.

LBC follows the café and then a small boutique. There are two gasoline stations adjacent to each other. One is a Petron Station and the other a Shell Station. Beside the Shell Station is Pinky's, a favorite haunt of some City Hall employees. The left side of this block after Empire Cinema is Far East Bank, formerly the First Peso Savings & Loans. The 50's diner who serves burgers & fries, sandwiches and dinner plate's American style with waitresses on roller skates follows this. An old Chevy that hung atop its entrance serves as its trademark. The pictures of Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Elvis Presley, Dinah Shore, and other movie stars decorate its walls.

Listen to songs from the 50's and 60's coming from an old jukebox as you dine. The setting provides a cozy ambiance. It gets a good crowd considering the food is excellent and priced reasonably and John Hay is no longer within reach to most people so they can have a taste of America. This is one good place to visit. An Inn operated by Australians, the Swagman Inn, follows the diner. The inn gets a lot of customer traffic to since it is one link of a chain that is operated all over the country. A trading shop that sells M-Gas and appliances follows this.

What follows next is an old apartment building that had been up for sale for some time now. This place may be a new development by now. The Baguio City Police complex follows this building. The opposite is Baguio City Hall with a new Justice Building to house all the courts behind it. Abanao Extension fronts City Hall where passenger jeepneys plying the Trinidad Route via Bokawkan Road picks up and drops off passengers.

At the corner situated at the road level of Pinky's is a Water Store. While you find purified bottled water in groceries, this store operates as the only water mill in the City. Mother's Restaurant occupies the second building at this road, which was formerly a residential unit. Beside it is the Rizal Park. A promenade connects City Hall to Rizal Park and Burnham Park the stairwell going way down to Chugum Street. Cross this street and you are at Burnham Park.

A leisurely walk along the promenade going down from City Hall will lead you to UCCP at the left side of the park. At the opposite side is a restaurant called Omai Khan. The name suggests the type of restaurant - a Mongolian grill. It is also an invitation in Ilokano. But its history claims that the Mongols came to town. How they did is written on its menu. It claims that Omai Khan descended from Genghis Khan. Reading the store's history will be entertaining. And preparing your own dish at the grill is exciting.

Going back to Abanao Extension, after the park is another residence, which has been converted into a coffee shop, called Café by the Ruins. This café started right after the earthquake in 1990. They serve home baked bread and pastries that are just delicious specially when accompanied by fresh ground coffee. The next block, which is across Carino Street, is the Insular Life Building. This building houses the Social Security System at its upper floor while the ground floor spaces are leased as Physician's Clinics, Boutiques and other commercial offices.

P.Q.B. February 21, 1999
matapat@yahoo.com


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