My mom’s friend is leaving to migrate in Canada sometime soon.  He’s a close family friend, and as his last treat to us, he wanted to take us all to Baguio for a quick relaxing trip.  They set it for the weekend (May 17 and 18).  Believe it or not, it was my first time to climb the city of Baguio.

"I’ve got a couple of things to work on".. that’s what I gave as an alibi.  "I’m sure I can’t go with you guys to Baguio.  It would mean sacrificing my schedule."  I was sold out with the decision of not coming.  The ‘real’ reason?  Well, I knew that though Baguio is the summer capital of the Philippines, I felt that a visit to Baguio in summer would be what most travellers would do.  Ergo, I don’t like cramming myself amidst a bunch of other people.  I wouldn’t enjoy the visit that way.  Also, on a sidenote, I didn’t want to visit Baguio during summer.. to me, it felt like it would be just another warm city.

Alas!  I got what I wanted!  (I should’ve wished for another thing)

We stopped over in Pangasinan for breakfast.  Inside the bus, it wasn’t cold.  Maybe I’ve gotten used to the cold temperature of around 12-14 degrees in the office.  Duh, it seems, climbing Baguio and experiencing its cool temperature wasn’t much of a challenge for me.   It was windy at the stop over, but a thrilling escape from heat in Manila.  A few hours later, we arrived Baguio City.  And what?  Damn, it was cold!  :P I was almost chattering in the cold air.  The drizzle made it even colder.  Good thing, I was prepared, I brought a heavy jacket with me.  We really didn’t have much of a good agenda for the day.  It was much like malling and strolling around a big city of lower temperature.

It was almost noon when we hit the city proper, so we dropped by SM Baguio to have our lunch there.  Afterwards, we took photos in the balcony, then headed out for Minesview park.  By the time we left SM Baguio for Minesview, we were already skipping Burnham park because the rain was getting harder.  At Minesview, we had a semi bad experience.

First, we had to use the restrooms for it was cold, and we needed to freshen up after the lunch meal.  They claimed to have clean and usable restrooms, and of course you have to pay for it.  It was 5 bucks to use the restroom just to pee, and it will cost you 10 bucks to poop.  Fair enough.  But that of which was not fair was the fact that you can’t use the water without paying another 5 bucks!  Isn’t that hassle enough??  Why wasn’t it even posted anywhere, and yet we were charged with another round of 5 bucks each for using water to brush our teeth??  It was purely a money making device!

Second, we were off to see the ‘mines’, yet we saw none.  It was super foggy and the rain made it even harder to take pictures!  I couldn’t even bring out my phone to take photos!  Arrrgghh!!!  The fog was so thick that only a strong wind can sweep them away for a very short while.  Absolutely nothing to see, and the rain was soaking us wet little by little.  The wind carried drizzle enough to make you wet.  Sigh.  What a visit.

We left Minesview park to visit the grotto.  We wanted to stay longer and maybe drop by the other parks, but to no avail.  It was then that we heard the storm "Cosme" changed its route and decided to drop by Baguio too!  What a coincidence!  This made the trip so much better and worst at the same time!

At the grotto church, I prayed intently for some of my wishes and hopes for me, my family, my career and my personal relationship.  It was quite a statement arriving at the church with a wedding ceremony taking place.  Hmm.. It was a big church, but it was solemn (and cold).  By the time we left, it was almost 4pm, and the rain was getting harder.  It was becoming harder to stroll the place.  So, then we head back to SM Baguio.  To and fro the places, we took FX taxis as our transportation.  Cool though, they don’t really need aircons to do their thing.  haha..

We grabbed the 17:20 trip back to Manila.  It was 16:30, but we had our dinner early.  Its bad for me to go hungry.  It was a blessing.  It was the first preparation for the nightmare to come.  The whole waking up at 2am for the trip, and technically the whole day was tiring.  I immediately fell asleep in the bus.  I woke up at around 19:00, and found that we were on a stall.  We were stranded.  Now, the nightmare begins.

The storm "Cosme" changed its mind and passed by Baguio directly.  Imagine being inside its body, imagine experiencing it inside a bus.  It has been an hour since our last nudge forward, said my mom.  There was a big tree lying in the middle of the road, and nobody can leave or enter the road.  It was a waiting game.  I looked outside and saw that the trees are nothing but wildly swaying to the strength of the winds.  The whole bus too managed to sway in its weight!  It was really scary.

I began praying that less trees would fall on the road, and that none would hit the bus itself.  A coconut tree was in danger of falling.  I prayed harder for it to stay strong and steady.  Luckily/unluckily, the tree infront of it fell.. infront of our bus.  Whew! God listens to prayers!  I was worried about my cat, and kept thinking of her.  I kept thinking that we will get home by midnight, she’ll be alright.

It was 10pm and we moved by just 40 seconds worth.  The locals managed to clear out the fallen tree, but then, we were trapped by another obstruction in the road.  I thought, give it some time.  We managed to watch the whole stretch of GMA’s lined up shows from 7pm to its signoff, and there was nothing at all.  Some got off the bus, and slept out in the cold (for it was getting hot and stency inside the bus).  I was dropping in and out of sleep, and at 4am, I thought, we could use some nagging.  It was a crazy day and I was tired.

I saw a car passed by, and thought how come it was able to pass through, yet we can’t.  Nobody knew anything.  If anyone knew something, they never said a word.  It was a guessing game, and a waiting game I could not manage to play anymore.  I had work the next day, and I can’t come in the office looking like I never had my weekend.  Then, something snapped.

I ratted out to the driver to explain to us what it is that we were waiting for.  He said that there is something blocking us and the bus can’t get through.  A couple of seats back, some guys were already babbling along with me.  I was urging the people to work together.  Only one spoke out that he wanted to help.  It was time for bayanihan.  That moment, I knew I had to grab the upstir and take it uphill so that we can all go home and rest.  Some didn’t even have their dinner that night before, and it is a genuine pitty  I can offer them.  When I heard one voice say he wanted to help.  I knew I had to make the move.  Without further thoughts, I went down the bus to check on the outside situation and assess what the rest can do about it.  It didn’t matter to me whether it was still raining or not.  I just wanted to go home.

We alighted the bus, and found that a tree didn’t completely fall off.  Half of its trunk was hanging down and that’s what was keeping the large vehicles from getting through.  We looked at the situation.  My honey and I thought of stirring up the bunch of male passengers for a bayanihan move.  I managed to move some branches around to clear the middle part, the guys managed to move the huge trunk in the middle towards the side.  It was already 4:40am.  I went back to the bus.  I wanted to take part in that manual labor, but rather did not.  I wanted to stay of the scene where my honey need not worry about me.  I took care of the brainwashing and teasing inside the bus.

The bus driver was completely a coward, and uncooperative.  He and his conductor were not much of a team.  They didn’t heed advices when asked to try and see if the bus would fit it or not.  He didn’t even want to turn on the headlights for the use of all the men clearing the road!  I hate his ass.. It took me time to actually have him heed the advices of helping out those men sacrificing the comfort of sitting in the bus and travelling safely home.  He was a complete waste!

"Cosme" was uncooperative.  It even rained hard that time when they were in the process of clearing the road.  A huge gas tank was infront of us.  That truck’s driver was cool and helpful.  He offered his light to the men in the dark working in the wee hours of the morning without a decent dinner the night before.  1, 2, 3, pull!!!  My honey overheard the sound of a chainsaw in nearby road.  Without fear, he walked towards the sound and sought help.  He went alone.   He came back afterwards, with a man with the chainsaw.  This guy helped us out.

After so much commotion, everybody in the bus were revived.  Everyone’s got the spirit of brotherhood, joy, and relief.  It was one experience I would never forget.  My honey and I proved to be the best team there could be.  He spearheaded the men in the road, while I did the shameless coaching and babbling.  ;)

I worried a lot about him that time.  I kept on looking for his whereabouts.   In the end, when the men who boarded the bus by 5:20am, my honey was the last one to come in.   He came in, and he was more of a man than a kid.  I’m really very proud of him.  He had many apprentices, most of them were bystanders, but he was the leader.   And that was how Baguio awakened the heroes.