Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Biyahilo - Baguio City and Intramuros

A month ago, a friend told me that Cebu Pacific's fare has plummeted to a 0 fare rate, we immediately jumped on the bandwagon and purchased two round trip tickets to Manila from Cebu. After a few minutes, I was able to confirm my reservation over the internet for a total of PhP872.00 only! Imagine that. After printing the tickets, it suddenly dawned on me---Heck! We did not have an itinerary. What will we do in Manila??? No offense to all the ManileƱos out there, but there really is nothing to see or do in Manila (other than go to theaters, strip clubs, malls, pubs and alike or the over-rated Ocean Park, take photos of endless city lights during wee hours of the morning which other people have already done, not to mention the timeless torment of taxi drivers), hmmm...I guess there are things to do in Manila only they are not the things we want to again, there really was nothing much to keep ourselves busy with that may be worth our time. There, I think I phrased that right.

Maybe, we can do a side trip to EK (Enchanted Kingdom). Maybe. I was not that excited since I have gone there back in 1997 and wanted to keep my memories of the place exactly how I left it. But I really wanted to go back to Baguio City and revisit places that I loved and finally visit the places that I have not gone to despite of staying there for four years back in college.

And so, the decision to go to Baguio City became final and everything else was just an add-on to the itinerary.

Day 1:

We caught the 4:50AM flight out from Cebu and arrived in Manila at 6:00AM. Since we also took advantage of the Go Fare (Php200 discount on all trips without check-in baggages), there was no reason for us to linger at the airport. Being the cheapskates that we are, we hopped on the airport shuttle and paid PhP20.00 each so that the driver can drop us off at Tramo. Since the Victory Liner Pasay Terminal was just a 15-minute walk from where we were dropped off and it was still not that hot yet, we decided to walk instead of hailing a cab for very practical reasons. We were able to catch the 7:00AM trip to Baguio City. The last time I checked (which was 4 years ago) usually, it took only 5 hours to get to Baguio City but our bus was traveling slower than usual, hence, we arrived at 2:20PM which was two hours later than the expected time. With nothing but our backpacks, we decided to walk from the terminal to Session Road for a late lunch since we already made reservations at the Blue Mountain Hotel. However, we were greeted by a very persistent little man who was promoting some nearby transient houses which we can get for 200 pesos less than what we will be paying the hotel. And so off we went into his van and jumped from one transient house to another. In the end, we decided to rent a room at the DPS Compound and got a cheaper rate for our 2-day stay in the City of Pines. The rate---PhP 600.00 per night and it will be good for two people only. I am quite sure anyone can find a cheaper place if they still had the energy to go "shopping" for a room but if you were hungry, tired and anxious to roam around like us then a PhP600.00 room will be good enough. After checking in, off we went to Session Road for our very, very late lunch.

On our way there, we decided (actually, I decided since I dragged my boyfriend with me) to visit UP after 7 years. It sure has changed a lot. Well, Oble was still standing the good old Audi, Breha, and 20's are still there but everything else looked brand new. It did not feel like UP anymore. Oh well, we can't expect UP to stay rotting like a corpse as years passed, right??? After bothering Manang Violy for a copy of my TOR and to be so kind as to send it via LBC since I was not sure if Kuya Humpz can do it for me, we left UP without looking back. Gone is the feeling of being 'home'.

While walking, we dropped by the Baguio Cathedral. What can I say. The Church is definitely the grandfather of all successful businesses. I will not elaborate on this for fear that I might offend some readers. Plus you have to see the old Baguio Cathedral and the current one to understand what I am trying to point out.

Burnham Park was the next in the list. Yes, I have been here before. In fact, this was where my bestfriend and I used to go skating in college. I just wanted Rez to see the place since a visit to Baguio is never complete without a stroll in the said park or at most, an experience paddling like loonies on a swan or sea horse-like boats (whichever you prefer). While there, we were lucky enough to find a man who was selling my favorite "Binatog" for PhP20.00 (fu*k!ng) pesos. Talk about being ripped off. I guess we looked too obvious.

Wait, what happened to the lunch? To the very, very late lunch? By then, Rez was already complaining and was very grouchy because he wanted to eat already. So we walked to the nearby Abanao Square since that was where the old 50's Diner was located. After walking for almost forever (you know how it is like when you're hungry and tired and two crossroads felt like 30 miles away),we found out that the diner has relocated. And so off we took a taxi ride to the new 50's Diner. It was smaller. The food was more expensive. The crew can hardly manage. The food was bad. So again, another disappointment.

After lunch, we decided to walk around town and have some coffee. We ended up at La Fondue, me with my much-deserved ginger ale to help me with my cough and Rez with his hot corn and mushroom soup. We lingered for a little while and decided to hit the sack at 9:00pm since we still had places to go on the next day.

Day 2:

We woke up at 9:00am because we were supposed to meet Kuya Humpz at 10pm in Session Road. Guess what???He was still sleeping at 10pm and texted us 30 minutes after that he may be late since there was no water in their area. Hmmmm...this excuse sounded very familiar. We can't blame him though since there was always a water problem in Baguio City. Well, at least, the last time I was here that was the case. I had hoped that they have fixed this problem by now. Because I knew that he will not get to us (he lived in La Trinidad) in an hour or so, we agreed that we'll meet up at 12:00noon instead at the old Steaks and Toppings (yes, I preferred the old and the original...the new ones gave an impression of "trying too hard") for lunch. Rez and I, just went to Camp John Hay instead.

While at Camp John Hay, we (guess what?) walked and walked and walked still until we got to the Butterfly Sanctuary. Entrance fee was only PhP40.00 per person so it was no big deal. It was a very small nook in the huge camp, canoppied by a dog-eared net and mush of vines and poppies with black and white butterflies cooped everywhere. Top it off with a mini pond and a supposed nymph in the middle. Perfect. We even got to take pictures with the not-so-shy butterflies. And guess what we did again after that???Yup, we walked and passed by the Conventon/Cultural Center, took pictures again like typical tourists and finally hailed a cab to town for lunch.

As mentioned a while back, we were to meet Kuya Humpz at Steaks and Toppings in Session Road. I forgot to specify which one as there were now 2 of them both located in the same area which caused a little delay later on. When I was in college, my friends and I loved to eat at the original Steaks and Toppings (it's the one near the Baguio Cathedral at Upper Session Road) for three good reasons---it was cheap, delicious and it has an ample serving! Whether it was clean or not, we didn't care as long as we had our money's worth.

After lunch, with Kuya Humpz assistance, we went to Mines View and about a hundred or so tourists also had the same idea. While there we got to see one portion of Baguio City full of greens, whilst the other portion is jammed with both tattered,rusty and some new roofs. The contrast was inargueably a Filipino trademark. Of course, we did not stay there too long as we had to practice proper ettiquette and give considerations to the other tourists who also came all the way from whichever part in the archipelago just to see what the park was able to offer, which was not not much. Well, except for the PhP10.00 costume we donned to look like fools and the photo with Douglas, the St. Bernard who was kind enough to stay put while Kuya Humpz tried to take a snapshot of us with him for the lame price of PhP25.00. Yes, everything has a price in Mines View Park (even those who strongly demanded for a so-called donation).

Our dearest tour guide decided to tire us even more by making us trot all the way to Wright Park where the colorful horses were found. But not a single complaint came out of our mouths as we were quite appreciative of his services (I guess I am complaining now) despite of our calves screaming "STOP!" already. After sniffing around a bit, we walked to the Presidential Palace called "The Mansion". I have nothing significant to say about the Mansion other than it has a beautiful ironed gate and a perfectly mowed lawn.

We hailed another cab to take us to the Easter Weaving School where you can buy not-so-cheap souvenirs and watch in amazement the weavers. You'll be amazed alright, you'll be amazed at how unfriendly the weavers are. They all hated being there and whoever disagrees with me, can shove his opinion up his ass. Our time there was approximately 18 minutes. We all wanted to get out of there.

Next stop was the Chinese Temple or Bell Tower in Buenget. Have you visited a Chinese Temple before???Well, you'll see the same thing plus a bronzed statue of a warrior. I forgot the statue's name but he was supposed to be very important back in his days. That much I can remember.

After the Chinese Temple, we left for the Strawberry Farm. By then it was already around 3:00 in the afternoon, so the fog was thickening and it was getting colder. When we got there, countless tourists were already there picking fresh strawberries for the unbelievable price of PhP200.00 pero kilo. Because I did not want to pay that much, I asked (or maybe Kuya Humpz did?) the lady if I can use her portion of the land and pretend that I was picking strawberries while my friend took pictures. She said yes but she added with this statement "Ading, baka gusto mo bumili ng strawberries ko---PhP40.00 la-ang." Do you get it???And so off I went to pretend that I was picking strawberries for the price of PhP40.00. Fair deal I guess since she deserved to get something out of it as well.

Last stop was Tam-awan Village. For a fee of...errr...I forgot the fee but there was one, but it was not much so I willingly paid for it. Once you were inside, you will see huts---traditinal huts where you can stay in for only PhP900.00 per night. And if it gets too cold, a bonfire can be requested. A group of artists will also sketch your portrait for PhP100.00 only. I was lucky enough to have 6 sketches, although not all of them looked like me, I took all 6 home with me for vanity sake.

After our visit to Tam-awan Village, we were lucky enough to have caught a ride on a jeepney going straight to the wet market so we can buy our goods like strawberry/ube jams, choco flakes and alike for a bargained price. And since it was getting late by the time we were done with the shopping and we were all hungry, not to mention, tired, we agreed to have dinner at the Tea House but first, we have to make a quick drop of the items we bought at the Transient House where we were staying.

Dinner at the Tea House was wonderful. Delicious food for a reasonable price and let us not forget the huge slice of Blueberry Cheesecake they gave me. We were all so full and bloated after dinner that we thought maybe coffee will do wonders to our condition. We hiked up to Upper Session Road to drink coffee at Oh My Gulay but they closed early. That was our sign then to call it a night and bid farewell to Kuya Humpz who was generous enough to spare his Saturday with us for the tour. Thank you Kuya Humpz. I owe you 1 kilo of danggit.

Alright readers, I am tired of typing and although we still went elsewhere after that and I still want to tell you more about our trip, I just can't go any further. I am already tired so here is a summation of what we did after.

We passed by Victory Liner first to buy our tickets back to Manila. Went home and slept like babies. Woke up at 5:00am for the 6:00am trip. Was on the bus for 7 hours. Got off and checked in at Malate Pensionne. Had lunch at Robinsons Place. Went back to sleep again. Had dinner with my big brother at Friday's. Went back to sleep for the night. Check out at 12nn and backpacked through the Walled City of Intramuros where you will get to experience how Manila was like when Spain was still the boss and the Filipinos were merely branded with the name 'Indio'. Ate lunch. Went to the airport and waited for our flight which was delayed like always.

There. I am done. Whew!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stripped From A 6 Year-Old Thought

And Den, 21 years old, wrote:

A quote from a movie: "When you dim your light so someone else's could shine, the whole world grows darker..."

A rather dark note to carry in your head but this may be true in my part. For a person with so much to offer to the world, it is a shame when her gifts are wasted just to give way for someone or for something. For many years, I have been doing this. Sometimes by knowing and sometimes caught unaware. I wonder now, what could I have been if I decided not to think of my family. Or how my friends would react. Or what I would feel. Or what people would do. I wonder. I ponder on so many things that I forgot to step out there and share the gifts that I have been blessed with. For those of you who knew me and somehow became avide readers of "me", you know what I meant by this. Right now, I want to stand there on that stage that I love so much and dance. Dance like I was Salome again, ready to ask for John's head. And sing, beause I know I can. Be the performing artist that I always dreamed to be. A star.


Just a passing thought.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pervert Alert

hey daddy-o what do you know
your stench is leaking in the gallows
wretched wrinkles you crease with your smile
time is running fast, better run many miles
you recall wartime perks and past glories
like a child crying for bed time stories
you sit your big, buffed ass all day
only for Ms. Titties to play
oh you swine, you call yourself an honorable man
with a rank of two stars that we women should ban
you sniff me like a dog sniffing a bitch in heat
can't you see you disgust me, you creep!
your filthy hands sometimes wander to places
some girls shrug it off like flies in mazes
you're a different kind of spiderman
one i love to smash with a rusty can
Mr. Colonel you make my skin crawl
go back to the sewers and roll
i wish someone would just shoot you in the head
or better yet, electrecute you like Ted
oh it gives me so much glee just thinking about it
when dead, we'll throw your body in a garbage pit
there, the rats will feast on you
best for us but too bad for you...boohoo!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Contemplating Bahrain

what is this tapping
of foreign hammers on a sand-coveted roof
and the cold mist engulf you
at the garden of eden.

i wait for time's hand to draw together
an early lunch maybe
tick, tock
a short exchange of words with a former dancer
how is possible love possible
when no promises were made
the wind shakes the trees to wake
the house is stirring, wake up!
banging now
endless fixing
the birds and ravens chirp continuously
in constant announcement to fly off
summer fear
tick, tock
the ninth hour is close to an end
why do my thoughts end with him
seventy-one days have passed since i last saw him
that kiss lingers still
do i grace his mind once in a long while at least
i dream so
those locals again
dark men with piercing eyes, hair everywhere
some women cloaked, black as their sand-stormed nights
leaving their BMWs and mini coopers unlocked, unwashed
funny how common there are here
whilst garnering millions back home
the dancer is back for another session
i should get her name
my manners has turned as crude as their English
camel dreaming
so, this is Bahrain

Monday, March 2, 2009

Just Ranting

I agree. I agree that most people are indecisive by nature and like most people, I happen to be one of those who have difficulty making decisions in most of the "important" aspects of my life. Making one, for me, is no where close to the experience of rummaging through piles of hand-me-downs and easily choosing the perfect ones to bring home or to walking into a cafe and immediately selecting the right drink. I agree. I agree. I agree. So shut up already!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sticks and Stones: A Debate Between Ex-Lovers (Volume 2)

Continuing Volume 2: What It Was Like

did i not tell you they loathe me
they hate me
believed that beer bottles exist in my womb
instead of a mere boy
they spat at my back
as if i do not know
and rolled their eyes whilst they consoled me

do you here me, husband?

woman, stop your wailing.
did i not tell you that life will be like this
but you believed otherwise
i am trapped in your web of lies
with a gun forever pointed to my face
do i not suffer also
i do not want to see what you want me to see

do you understand?