July 23, 2017

Hello Baguio,

I had lunch delivered today – it’s a Sunday and I slept in… I read that BabaChon will be closing in August, so I called them right away – I know I will miss their lechon sisig – not as much as I miss Dainty’s streamline cake though – but still…

I just feel helpless seeing them leave like that- like old friends you won’t get to see anymore… makapasangit! Yes, I cried last week – when Café By The Ruins had their final cañao – the memories! the fondest would be the bubbles that the balikutsa makes when you drop it in coffee… and those rice grains from the tapuey… bitter sweet! Pretty much what I was feeling when they said they will be relocating… How could it be BY the ruins without the ruins? beats me! But, there’s Café by the Ruins Dua – it’s not the same but the kamote bread will be.

I saw BenCab and Ben Hur Villanueva at the cañao, Oh! and Kidlat Tahimik… Thank God for their beautiful minds we now have artist villages, museums and cafés… But Café By The Ruins will always be your original artists’ haven – don’t you agree? Looking at the bright side, we have Oh My Gulay and Ililikha for arts, Tam-awan Village too! I just love the art we create… too many budding artists – painters, photographers, installation artists, mixed media artists- too many! – but do we have enough carvers, and weavers? Let’s check soon.

Don’t get me started with food, Baguio! Do you remember Tummy Filler’s baked mac & chocolate mousse? and those burgers at Benedict’s? Yes, me too… Mothers’ fried chicken! We all know it’s better than the other fried chicken. I wonder where their chefs and bakers are… Well, I guess I’m totally over the loss though – but not Coney Island – too many childhood memories there! I just can’t! And ChocoLoco… it hurts! Mandarin… those massive red tables with lazy susans! we can’t have that anymore! 50’s Diner, Canto, Happy Tummy – they all have relocated so I don’t miss the food that much, but Mandarin? Yeah, I miss the place! It’s comforting that Red Cherries is still around – but I’m not sure if it could last a few more years with Victoria’s Bakery right beside it – I would still go in for cake sometimes… but those cream puffs at Victoria’s are the best for my taste buds!

What do you think happened to you Baguio? Why all the goodbyes? We’ve been losing too much pieces of you lately – how are you even taking it? I wonder how many more of your local shops would be closing in a few months or years… it would be nice to find a community that supports your local businesses – It could definitely save a few… I’m sad that there’s no more PNKY – I loved going there with a book. I miss that Tree House at Happy Glen Loop too. Sometimes, I still go to Luisa’s for pancit – it reminds me of Daddy and Uncle Steve. I still shop at Sunshine and Tiong San, buy flowers at Aromin’s and Rillera’s, buy school supplies at Laser and The Stable! I know it’s like terribly missing a place that’s unreal and holding on to something that does not exist… Are you imaginary?

I know times are changing… and I’m afraid that the kids won’t appreciate you as much as I do and not fight for you as much as I have, – remember that fight with the big mall on top of the hill?  If I showed them more of Baguio then maybe… – You know, I’ve asked them to read Tanabata’s Wife, had boots made for them at Reeds, brought them to The Slaughter House for half half, ghost stories of Diplomat and The Laperal House… bonfire weekend at Pine Breeze… Chona’s Delight and Palabok at Tea House. Would it help if I brought them tree planting and trail walking? Poetry reading at Mt. Cloud perhaps? A Baguio Mom could only do so much…

It’s sad my friend…The Baguio I know feels like another lifetime… you have aged… I walk down Session Road past Volante and I see the iconic beggar and I’m reminded of you… and it’s depressing that I see so much of you in him… tired, old, begging. Could time and progress be stopped? I still hear the 6 o’clock alarm and prayer… but no one stops anymore… I miss Ionic Cafe – I hear the angelus from their window…

I miss you and the Baguio I grew up in… cold, green, and crisp… laid back and warm but very sharp… I wish I could have taken better care of you when I was younger… I wish it’s not yet too late for us – to start over and get you back on your feet… one tree at a time… one local business at a time… one Baguio kid at a time…

I love you Baguio… Now, let’s go have mojitos at Hill Station!

 

 

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