Friday, January 23

My Baguio Chronicles - 1

645 am. Arrived Baguio.

The kids were able to sleep on the six hour bus trip but husband and I had hardly been able to relax, what with him trying to check on us every then and now, to my obvious annoyance, as he keeps getting up and walking the isle, asking if we were okay. Every time that he did, the other passengers would let out a dagger look, or something that sounded like a grunt…..or maybe it was just me getting too self-conscious. It would have done me much better if he had held on to one of the kids, because I was cramped in the two-seater with all bits and pieces of our luggage but both children physically cling on to me for dear life, as if all sense of safety is lost on them, were they with someone else, in these temporary but rough conditions. This was the first time that we will travel this far, and I being the mother, know how difficult it was for the kids to settle down where comfort is in short supply. However, it amazed me how easily and fast they could fall asleep. All I could manage to do after that is put Sam in front of me and try to catch a few minutes of rest, while she was beginning to fall deep into slumber and was now lording it over sleepyland with her loud snoring. That little girl, she terrifies me with her sound sometimes...

After a couple of stops, and leaning over to check where we were, six hours had gone by, and I caught the first light of morning. Marcos highway was covered in fog as our bus climbed uphill on the zigzag road. It felt like an endless trek, and the higher we went, the thicker the fog seemed to grow. In spite of the bus driver meandering the roads with such confidence, my fear started to seep in again, unfortunately at a time when I had wanted to use the last few minutes of our trip to catch some shuteye before we hurtle ourselves off the bus . I felt terribly tired from my daughter’s weight, but my mind was relentlessly creating scenarios of us falling of the cliff accidentally and me waking up to find out that I have lost a limb, or worse, a life or lives other than mine. So that in the course of all that horrible mental fumbling, I never had the opportunity to rest for a second more. It was such a relief however, that finally we reached a plateau, and a "Welcome to Baguio" sign told me that my worries were now pointless….

We arrived at the Teacher’s Camp. The lady I talked to on the phone a day earlier wasn’t available, so the night guy, offered to deposit our things at the reception, and told us that we could get some breakfast and come back in half an hour. It was drizzling outside, but the cool air, the log cabins, the fresh smell of pine trees, and the faint morning light was such to behold, that I could only remember it in one of those dreams I’ve had way back in years, and really it would be strange if I got carried away into a trance so early in the day, but I rather tried to soak in it and felt humbled at the beauty, unmindful of the fact that all this has cost me a precious night of sleep. My body wasn’t caving yet anyway, so why the fuss. I decided to take out my camera and do some snapping. I had made a mental reminder to myself back in Manila, that getting to Baguio would be a perfect time for me to hone my skills with my new DSLR, a gadget which I would like to proudly blabber about at a later time. When finally, I had enough photos to warn me that we still had two full days left for photographing, I stopped and we took the first cab down, or rather up, the street. One thing, I would most certainly promote about this place, is that the taxi drivers are the most respectful, honest, and cool drivers one could ever ask for. For a moment there, you stop being wary of being robbed off of your precious hundreds, and they can cruise you to your destination like a breeze. Anyway, we were told by our driver that we were lucky to be up there at such a time when it was the real “cold” season. He did not warn us, however, that it was going to be biting cold at night, and we would be literally freezing our asses off in bed. We were thrilled nonetheless at the fact that we had made a good decision to come here after the holidays and experience the real “cold”. Down south, it would have been nippy too, but not like this one, that stings your face and gives you the unqualified pleasure of knowing you’re way above the sea level, and pretty much on top of the world…..

To be continued….
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