My zero tolerance for the cold was tested when I went to Baguio for this year’s Panagbenga Festival. I hate the cold, I go to great lengths of drinking near-boiling water in our arctic office just to keep myself warm. So, suffice to say that for my four-day stay, I was the only one dressed for an Alaskan expedition. Warm and cozy in my thick coat and furry hat while the rest of the crazy folks around me, who I criticize for living their lives on the edge, donned shorts and tees. I amused myself by marveling at the fact that I could actually see my own breath (twice on record now).
Save for the absurd climate though and my flaky unmoisturized skin, I absolutely loved it! My family’s not too big into traveling so when I’m offered some away time for work, I jump at the chance otherwise I’d never get to go anywhere.
Baguio was amazing. Okay, I wasn’t exactly thrilled by the strawberry taho but I love fresh strawberries (and I ate them everyday there). It’s so different from the city. I’ve been to several places that are trying a little too hard to reach the “chic-ness” of Manila but Baguio’s just, well, Baguio–cold, cool, calm and other things that start with a C. Even their hilltop, aircon-free SM was spared from the shoebox-type architecture that so defines Henry Sy. The whole place is just as chill as the weather and there was just so much… GRASS! I seriously wanted to roll over and just gaze at the cloudless skies, chomping on some raisin bread with the raisins picked off (I just like the raisin juice flavoring my bread).
Even the market place was different, and I’m not saying this just because every other little boy I saw was wearing a knitted V-neck pullover like they’re part of Gossip Girl. I don’t know, maybe it’s just that strange feeling that anything new is always better. It’s the second time where we see actual holes, so remind me to blog again after I have a second Baguio trip. But I like the maze-type layout and I’ve been to many palengkes in my life. Unlike other markets where vendors practically cajole you to buy their merchandise, Baguio sellers just smile, letting their products do the selling. They barely even mind if you approach their stall just to take photos of the delicious fresh produce without the smallest intention of buying. If you don’t want to buy, that’s fine, carry on. I’ve only met one pushy kid who actually tried to carry my bayong
like a snatcher much to my “No, kaya ko nga yan eh.” Kid, walang masama maghanap buhay, k? Just do it with a little integrity. I might have given you a chance kung di ka lang bastos. Anyway, Gaby even managed to make herself full by feeding on the generous free-tasting in and around the market.
What I did not like, however, and this is partly because I am one cheap sonofagun, is it’s quite expensive in Baguio. And I’m not just talking about their famed “quality” ukay. An 8-oz jar of jam for P120? I can make my own jam, thank you very much. Also, I’ve never met a more hostile crowd! So uncharacteristically Filipino! Standing just to stretch my legs for about 10 seconds at the Panagbenga parade was met with outrageous jeers! “Umalis kayo diyan! Magdamag pa kami nandito! Magrereklamo kami! Hindi naman kayo mga media talaga e kasi mga bata kayo!”
Two things: One, thank you for saying I look young enough NOT to be working for one of the country’s most prestigious media companies; two, teh, wala pang araw andun na rin kami.Relax ka lang, hindi ka namin guguluhin.
I had to sit back down immediately for fear that they might throw their strawberry tahos at me.
I can’t blog about Panagbenga yet but it was truly an amazing (but exhausting) trip.
*Baguio photos care of Karen. My shots are in Jason’s computer.
P.S. Discovered wonderful (old haha Gaby) and new friends, plus a new hobby–wait for it! (Food) photography!