Sunday, December 7, 2003

Feeling a Little Nostalgic...

As I was doing almost everything all at once while online, I got this email from our yahoogroups about Sir Willy spending a few days in dear, old Baguio. Kindly read on...

Hi to all,

I just arrived (actually about 4 hrs ago, 8pm, Manila time, the 6th) from Baguio. It was cold up there. I was told that the temperature yesterday evening (the 5th) even dropped to 9 degrees Celsius. I was planning on staying for at least three days (I arrived Baguio Thursday, the 4th) early morning, about 6am and spent the whole morning sleeping. Too darn cold to get out of bed! Had lunch at Sizzling Plate at Session Road. Try their "Boneless Bangus", sizzling (what else!), served on a hot iron plate with sidings (potatoes and beans) and a cup of Java rice (was it orange or yellow). Really good and boneless. I was told that the bangus came from Bonoan, Pangasinan, reputedly the best place to harvest the fish. Not too salty. Just right for the palate. Not too filling either. As a foodie, I recommend it. Best for supper (so one doesn't feel stuffy in the evening; you know what they say about risking a "bangungot" on a full stomach!). Actually, I had it for supper also and, for breakfast, today at the same place.

The new SM mall, at the site of the former Pines Hotel, especially its viewing deck, gives visitors a panoramic view of the City. Imagine yourself high on the mountains---and I mean really high---you'll see Harrison Blvd, Burnham lake and Park, the full facade of the Cathedral, City Hall, Session Road. Veritably a 180 degree panoramic view of that side of the City. And on other side of the deck, Leonard Wood, and the rest. I thought that the last thing Baguio needs is a mall, especially an SM Mall. I was wrong. The architect and the owners of the Mall made sure that citizens of and visitors to Baguio have an opportunity to see our (yes, I hereby claim and, rightly so, Baguio as My city even if I wasn't born, raised, studied or even live there; I do know and read its history and culture though, urban planner that I am!) beloved city. The Mall being labor intensive provides a lot of employment; even observed some getting familiar with the electronic cash registers!

I was able to get three very good titles at National Book Store at the SM Mall: a book on marketing; a good translation of Machiavelli's "The Prince" and Colleen McCullough's "Caesar", part of her series of works on Republican and Imperial Rome. You might wonder what Julius Caesar has in relation to Baguio's weather. Well, it was so darn cold outside that I spent the better part of the day reading McCullough's book in my hotel (Burnham at Calderon Street) room. Made 100+ pages on my first day. I recommend the book; one will get a good insight to the character of Caesar and the glory of Rome. It also narrates, quite vividly, the man's campaigns against the Gauls and Celtics in Western Europe. They say that cold weather leads to "amorous" encounters. Well Baguio's weather certainly didn't, at least for me and I'm quite sure for many others. If at all, the weather was an amorous depressant! I must admit though that that kind of weather was conducive to things cerebral like reading. Incidentally, my idea of a Baguio visitor is one who lugs a book or a magazine or both. The Baguio visitor and the Baguio citizen are intellectuals, or at least on the road to being one. I don't think that Baguio has room (thank goodness!) for near-idiots. The rest of the country has enough of these dimwits! Sadly, more than enough during election years!

Some news: BCF (Baguio Colleges Foundation) has just been granted university-status which makes it the fourth university in the City (U.P., now an autonomous university, and officially known as the University of the Philippines in the Cordilleras; St. Louis; University of Baguio; Baguio Central and now BCF). Baguio is veritably a university town with its own share of battles between town and gown! With at least 60,000 university students, I reckon that at least 750 million pesos is pumped by these scholars (and I don't mean those on scholarships but people who are in school) every semester. And that's on the very conservative side.

But for all of the above, I had to leave earlier for Manila. Baguio's weather was just too much for a lowlander like me. I was told that it'll be this way up to mid-February. Aaargh!
Still, one dreams of the city of pines.

Cheers to all,

Being typical of me to reply to emails that invoke certain emotions, I gave my own feedback. I just wish I can revisit this cold city that elicit in me warm memories.

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It is always refreshing to know what is in your mind. Thanks!