Monday, January 16, 2017

CHASING BAGUIO

It took a subtle lobbying and 5 ice cold bottles of San Mig Lights to finally be able to chase Baguio after only-God-knows-when.

It was so long ago that I got surprised by the ease of the trip from Trellis of Matalino Street to the Azalea Residences of Leonard Wood, including the two pee stops at SCTEX and TPLEX and the coffee break at Rosario, that took just under 4 hours.


The room I was assigned was as cool as the weather but Ping snored too loud, the lawyer from Iloilo worked on his laptop which kept me up the rest of the evening, and we were fed with a deluge of meat, all kinds of them, by waiters who don't know what gravy is for which, so I accepted Kuya Manny's offer of a room at El Cielito Hotel near SM-Baguio.

And that was how we found our way to the Baguio Craft Brewery along Marcos Highway which unfortunately will open only at 5 pm.  

And that is why we decided to kill time in La Presa, Sitio Pungayan in real life, which unfortunately has been closed to the public.


So we whiled another hour watching the clouds come and go across Bakakeng Central, harassing the female guard to allow us in earlier than 5 pm, then to check why we are not being let in after 5 pm, until we were actually led to beer taps where I taste-tested by the glasses brews with fancy names like "Englishman in New York", "Philandering Pauper", "Message in a Bottle", and "Baltic Porter". 




On that day, I broke my solemn vow to never eat chicharong bulaklak again but it was worth all the curses THAT will entail as I had my best of that pulutan ever, and perhaps the second best sausage platter ever, and a barbecued baby back rib that is actually good but no match for our home cooked version.

That I say would compensate for the disappointment of Rodic's tapsilog [too much rice, not enough meat] and Lido Cocina Tsina's pugon-roasted Chinese asado [wrong kind of sauce and garnish] of two and a day ago, respectively. 



Was it the week's overdose of meat or just too much Johnny Walker Black and Fundador Light I had last Saturday night that made me wobble from bed to the bus to the cab to the plane? 

The wife said THAT was a crazy but happy night for me so I cured a nasty hangover the way an Ilocano would --- a bungar of cold Heineken 3,000 above the earth. 

Monday, January 09, 2017

SEM BREAK BROKEN

I love sem breaks.

It means Bulan going home and we having a "slave' for a month [although Balong feels that he is being slaved too when his Kuya is in the house].

More than that is the happy sound of having a full family: ribs and cookies baking in the oven, dishes getting washed every now and then, a fully seated dining table, and more laundry to wash.

That also mean riding the bikes again, exploring familiar trails, drinking the musky air of rice fields being prepared for planting, and just enjoying the moment of being one of the boys again.  



But good things don't last as I reported back for work in Manila in the middle of the week where everyday business-as-usual was happily broken by the usual early morning bike ride that got me to an empanada stall along West Avenue and ultimately to a tapsilog breakfast at Rufu's Famous Tapa that turned out more of a pares than what it claims to be.   


Then Sunday came. 

Bulan's flight to Iloilo has been booked, the calamansi concentrate from Baguio and boneless bagoong from Munoz has been packed in his brand new luggage, the silvanas from Eriels were hardening in the freezer for the long trip to Miag-ao, and we had our last meal of the sem break together.

The cheese and garlic pizza at Dong Juan is okey except for Bulan's issue on the biscuit dough, while we both agree that Homer's isaw lacks the smokey flavor and crunch of being charcoal grilled.

And yeah, Chizmozza's fried mozzarella and Uncle Cheffy's blue berry cheesecake are forgettable...     


Monday, January 02, 2017

ANG BAGO KONG SAPATOS

Sa Zenco Footstep ng Santiago binili ng Tatay ko ang pulang Adidas "Superstar" na siya kong kaunaunahang seryosong sapatos matapos matanggap ang padala ng Nanay kong nagbitiw sa pagka-guro at namasukan bilang katulong sa Singapore, na tinambalan ng noo'y sikat na Indian Moccasin [aka topsider] at kasabay sa pagpapabaston ko ng mga bell bottom na pantalong pamana ng mga nakatatandang pinsan, para naman makasunod ako sa uso.

Lumaki ako sa mga pamigay at hindi partikular sa mga damit at sapatos, basta't may maisuot katulad ng Bida at Bata na naka-bargain sa Zenco Footstep ng Dagupan, may pasobrang isang pulgada bilang pag-antabay sa paglaki dahil ang mga sapataos na 'yun ay aabot ng ilang taon hanggang sa kailangan nang ipasa sa iba, kaya hindi isyu sa akin ang aking mga lumang Merrel at Reebok na nakarating sa kung saang lupalop ng mundo bagamat tadtad na ng tahi at halos hindi na mapagdikit ang mga nakangangang toe box, na sa tingin naman ni Jowa ay labis na pagkawawa sa sarili ko kaya na-obliga akong maghanap ng bagong sapatos matapos naming samahan si Kuya Jojit sa kanyang pamamanata sa "Bahay ni San Jose", sa kundisyong hindi dapat lumampas sa presyong P3,000.00 dahil hindi na tama para sa akin magsuot ng mas mahal pa du'n, kaya nauwi sa Adidas Neo dahil kahawig ng tennis shoes at Stan Smith na astig nu'ng araw sa Bambang, at sa tingin ko'y bagay sa aking mga maong na kupas.    


Ako'y isang simpleng mamamayan ng mundo, hinubog sa marahas na kahirapan, natuto sa mga masasakit na karanasan, naantig na mangarap sa kinabukasang mas higit pa sa natatanaw sa loob ng balon, nabigyan ng pagkakataong maglayag, at kahit papaano'y nabibili na ang gustong bilhin.  

Pero noon pa man, itinakda ko nang hanggang ganito na lang talaga ako dahil para sa akin ay kumplikado nang dalhin ang anumang sobra, dahil mas masaya ang simple pero magaan na pamumuhay, sa piling ng mga samahan at pagkakaibigang tubog sa panahon, at ang kasiyahang dulot ng isang litsong baboy tuwing bagong taon. 


Suot ko ang bago kong sapatos nu'ng bagong taon nang magtungo kami sa Pozzorubio para sa biglaang reunion ng aming lahi, sa isang ordinaryong resort na hindi pa nagbabawal sa paliligo nang nakapantalon at hindi nagbubuhos ng chlorine sa swimming pool, kung saan ako nangakong tuluyan nang iwaksi ang paninigarilyo, saksi ang dalawang litro ng Red Horse at ang aking mga pamangkin, na para siguradong mangyayari ay ipinaulit sa akin ng aking pamilya sa tirikan ng mga kandila ng Simbahan ng Manaoag.




May isa pa pala akong bagong sapatos pero sa susunod na bagong taon ko na siguro maibabahagi ang kuwento nito...