Day Twenty-Eight: A trip I can’t forget. (Baguio)
We didn’t have a fixed itenerary. The plan was to go there, visit some touristy places, and eat. Going to Baguio has become, for me, like going to a friend’s house — a friend who lives six hours away by bus.
I can’t remember exactly why I invited Rodj. I think it was because he was a bit depressed that time and I wanted to cheer him up; I was also itching to get out of Manila and wanted to have just one travel companion. Or maybe because I was already into him at that time. So I invited him to Baguio. It was our first out-of-town trip together.
We stayed at the Baguio Village Inn, a quaint old place made mostly from old wood. We ate at various places, some neither of us tried before. We went to a little fake cemetery in Camp John Hay, the Slaughterhouse district, and my favorite indie bookstore.
We went to the Bencab Museum; it was my first time to enter it. There was an exhibit from Gerilya, a local group of street artists, ongoing at that time and we enjoyed how the group poked fun at the Cordillera tourist culture.
I visited the museum again, several months later, with other friends. Rodj and I were not talking at the time and museum only reminded me of being there with him previously. There was stab of memory when I finally saw That Thing Called Tadhana, which featured the place. It was also Rodj’s favorite movie from that year.
It was on our second day in Baguio, I think, when I took Rodj to look for the Laperal White House. It was an old, supposedly-haunted house but I cannot find accurate details on how we could commute going there. So I decided we follow Google Maps and walk. Along the way, we passed by a convenience store selling imported ice cream sandwiches. It was a day when we ended up eating in at least six different places. When we finally reached the White House, it was closed to the public.
It is said that some of the Manila middle class would go to Baguio if they wanted some soul searching. It involved purging away unwanted memories while enjoying the cool mountain weather. That idea was played in That Thing Called Tadhana, further codifying Baguio as a local soul-searching destination for people with some time, some money, and too many imagined heartaches.
Except it doesn’t work for me. Baguio has become, over the years, a repository of memories. Going back means opening a mental album of experiences, each place a reminder of someone or something.
Here was the added memory: It was that trip in Baguio with Rodj when I first told him I love him.