Monday, June 30, 2014

The Summer Capital Retreat (Last Part)

I will run away one of these days, unannounced and planned in secrecy. And until I have my fill; until my heart grows weary of devouring what my eyes have yet to see, I shall be unbound. The memories I will gather will be my selfies.

And like the sandbar at the middle of the sea, there remains a part of me, untouched and untamed. I will stay obscure and distant, until the neverland in me is found.

May 27, 2013

On the third and final day in the Summer Capital did I remember, at long last, the number of times I have been to the City of Pines. 

"Alam mo Dy, pang 5th ko na pala itong akyat sa Baguio." I told the Gundam Pilot as we strolled down Burnham Park. We were on our way to the Cafe by the Ruins to have breakfast before our departure back to Manila. 

He pressed me to go on and tell my story.  

"Yung pinaka-una kong punta eh mga 8 years old ako." I never told him how my uncle managed to trick me into baring my teeth, and show my nostrils every time the camera snapped our pictures. The result was a bunch of photos with unflattering images of me.

"Nung pangalawa eh nung mga Grade Five ako." That was the time I snuck out and left my relatives who were having lunch to look for a copy of Funny Komiks. I recall finding a fresh issue at a news stand along Session Road at past lunchtime. 

It was a bit pricey unlike in the lowlands.

"Yung third naman was in college." I was catching my breath because of the thin cold air. "Sinama ako ng Aunt ko ulit tapos nag-stay kami sa Camp John Hay." Once again, I sneaked out of our hotel to check the local attractions. I cannot remember how far my feet took me, only that I had company. A guy, the same age as me, and who is a son of my aunt's colleague.

"At last naman bago ito ay nung 21 ako." I paused. "Hinatid ko sa Baguio yung ex ko kasi dito daw siya magnew-New year." 

"Bumaba rin ako the next day." 

I let my boyfriend guess which of the four did I remember the least. Without reluctance, his answer was the first.

"Nope. Bukod sa akyat natin ngayon, noon lang ako may pictures dito." While I was too young to remember, there were vague memories of us having to disembark the car and walk. The road was too steep for my Uncle's Ford Laser to climb with passengers on board to our lodging house.

"Yung last." I finally answered.

The Baguio retreat was the third long-distance travel I made, with the significant half in tow. And the days spent with him need to be written, not for the sights and sounds of the city, but for the joys of learning who we are as individuals in this common trip.

The Gundam Pilot said he was a food explorer, and for this reason, our tastebuds never touched meals we could easily get in the metropolis. We had lunch at a kitchenette next to Hotel 45 (whose name I no longer remember) on our first day; had Ilocano Empanada and Strawberry Taho for snacks; and pasta prepared at Vizco's for breakfast on our second day. We had to dine at Star Cafe, whose doors will forever close next month after serving soul food to a spriteful city for over half a century. 

He was also a nature lover whose aesthetic taste makes him a great companion when checking out galleries and ruins. The off the beaten path destinations we've seen would be the envy of travel bloggers: The Diplomat Hotel on a foggy afternoon, the artists' haven and Igorot mountain trail at Tam-Awan, the overpriced strawberry picking in the fields of La Trinidad. It would have been perfect to catch the sunset in these places, but in the hours we should have been strolling, the bf and I were under the sheets in our cozy room at the AJ's Pension House.   

There were sideshows as well. Like when we met this friendly lady up in the hills who introduced us to the tenets of Judaism, or when we sat at a table with Papa Tagay and friends at Nevada because they were in the Cordilleras to see the gay bars. Dubbed "Casa In The Sky," our buddy from the city had a great time knowing a pair of friends will lift his spirits as he ventures into the dim and dank chamber of Hercules. It was the first time he went into such place.

And there he did the unexpected.

Invited at the stage, we witnessed how gamely he performed a song number with the cross dresser entertainer. Between the guffaws and chuckles, there he was, with the hood of his jacket shrouding his face forgetting the reason he went to a gay bar in the first place. We parted ways without seeing the boys go "all the way" with their sensual body gyrations, gentlemen's drinks and offers of sharing seats at our table.

I could go on writing endlessly to encapsulate this fifth trip to Baguio - from the selfies and stolen kisses, and recollections of our histories while taking showers together, to the destinations that should have been part of our tour, and tourist spots we skipped because we found them cliche. What I felt through and through is the magic of our companionship. This, I realized when I told the Gundam Pilot why the fourth remains unremembered, save for the near walk-out and unplanned return trip back home, which the ex was only able to prevent when he ceased picking fights with me.

"You are the sum of all the joys of this trip." I thought to myself as I looked at the Gundam Pilot while waiting for our breakfast to be served. 

"And I will fondly remember this city today and forevermore, because there's you who gave this place a new meaning to me." 


tipzstamatic said...

<3 ;)

kalansaycollector said...

jowa + baguio = love love love! :)

Anonymous said...

C H E E S Y :)

Mistersandiman.... said...

Love this post and the fantastic slideshow! I can feel how much in love you are! So happy for you! :-)

red the mod said...

"Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume."

- Jean de Boufflers