|At our favorite rendezvous|
The next day, the whole family trooped to Baguio for the family reunion. Ewan ko ba kung bakit doon pa. I'm not complaining. If you've been reading my blog, you'd know by now that I love that place. I was just wondering 'cause it was still cold in Baguio, and the reunion was held in the [dubious] honor of my two titas who went home from Canada and New Jersey, USA, i.e., both cold, cold places. I mean, why not just go here in Dumaguete, where it is sunshiny all day, everyday? Oh well, like I said, I'm not complaining. It has been so long since I saw my tita from Canada. I was pregnant with Sharkteeth pa when she left for Canada, and ngayon lang sya bumalik. I remember her calling when it was near my due date, comforting me, advising me not to get nervous about giving birth. Well, I wasn't really nervous about it. I figured the human race wouldn't reach this number of population if it's as dangerous as she was purporting it to be. Mas ninenerbyos pa ako nun sa gagastusin ko sa ospital eh. :) My other aunt, Bebeng, visited sometime ago, but I don't remember when exactly. Needless to say, I missed them both and was quite excited to see them again.
The trip to Baguio was uneventful and was fairly quick -- ~4 hours via NLEX and SCTEX. We were all cramped in a van: 1 driver, 6 thandercats, 4 middle-agers/forever young, 3 kiddielets. Given the chance, the kiddielets would have brought their pet Siamese and Maltese. Buti na lang hindi dinala. I cannot share my space again with a dog, no matter how much I love animals. In fairness, comfortable naman. I managed to get dibs sa last row ng van and was able to get some sleep.
We got to St Patrick's Village (SPV) around 10 am and it wasn't check-in time yet. We proceeded to Mile Hi Camp John Hay, a string of duty free shops. I was able to buy a couple of stuff, but the store wasn't impressive at all. Their dollar-to-peso conversion rate was close to 50 pesos, 49 if I remember it right, which was significantly higher than the prevailing bank rate that day (January 24). There are lots of clothes, shoes, bags, and food, but many of the clothes are surplus supplies, which you can get cheaply at SM Surplus Shop. What is so galling is that they're selling blatant fakes. Fake bags, fake clothes, fake shoes. Fake! Fake! Fake! I do not have much objection against fake fashion products, but I would want to know if I am buying one, and with Camp John Hay's veneer of kasosyalan, them selling fakes leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Or perhaps that's all there is to it, a veneer.
Anyhoo, after eating brunch, we got a call from SPV that our unit was already available. SPV is beautiful. As in. The villa we got has a driver's quarter, 5 bedrooms (each with either en suite or adjacent bathroom), an attic, a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen. It's so peaceful and relaxing there, as it's quite far from the noise and hub of the city.
There are electric fireplaces, which are quite helpful when night-time coldness creeps in.
Each unit has its own kitchen and appliances, although I'd suggest that you bring your own plates and utensils. For a group of 14, the plates and utensils provided by the villa weren't enough. We brought a lot of food and chichirya, but for the main meals, we just bought from the city. The villa provides water for each unit. My aunt wasn't so impressed with the kitchen tops, as they were made of wood, which, while sealed, seems to absorb moisture. We had a very hard time figuring out the gas regulator of the stove. There wasn't any crew around to help us, as it was very early in the morning.
Oh, it has a spacious veranda as well. It was so cold there during the night that I barely stayed for more than a few minutes.
The beds and sheets are plush and comfortable. Pero syempre, may baon akong unan. I can't sleep with just one pillow kasi. The crew will provide you with more linens and pillows for a fee. Mura lang naman. Parang 100 per set. Oh, walang aircon ang rooms. Of course, malamig naman, but I kinda miss the white noise an aircon provides. Windows are screened, and you can open them without having to worry about mosquitoes.
|Tulog agad pag aralan; pag TV, puyatan!|
On our first day there, most of us went out to tour the city. Three of the thandercat sisters stayed, Madear, Aunt L, and Aunt Bebeng. The effect of jet lag hit Aunt Bebeng, and she promptly fell asleep, kaya di na nakasama. I think Madear wanted to chat with her sisters, hence she stayed. Meanwhile, we went to Mines View, St. Joseph the Worker Church, the Mansion, Botanical Garden, and Burnham Park. Sharteeth and her cousins and the other thundercatz went to Burnham Park, while my cousin, aunt, and I went the ukayan. I was under strict instructions from Sharkteeth to look for Precious Moments figurines. Alas, I didn't find any. I was able to buy a lot of stuff though. It's a bit frustrating 'cause my cousin and aunt really wanted to go to the ukay yet they weren't able to buy any. Sa totoo lang, sobrang mahal kasi ng high-end designer items sa Baguio. For me, it's not worth buying a 10K+ bag from the ukay. Well, unless it's a Vuitton trunk or an authentic Hermes or Chanel. We proceeded to Burnham Park to meet with the kids and buy dinner.
|Click for panoramic view|
|Dito daw kinasal sina Aga and Charlene|
The following day, after checking out, which was soooooo sad because I really loved our stay in SPV, we went to SM for our lunch. Syempre, papalagpasin ba ni Sharkteeth ang chance to go to National Bookstore? Off-topic: Last December, we went to National Bookstore as well and I found a seemingly stray pack of the Fifty Shades trilogy among packs of children's books. I mean, seriously, Fifty Shades in the children's section?! Aba, this January, andun pa rin talaga. Sinasadya ba ito ng National?
After SM, we went to the palengke, then off to Our Lady of Lourdes. The chapel in Lourdes seems to be a new addition to the place. Even the flowers look newly planted.
Uwian na after ng Lourdes. The kids were so exhausted and slept through most of the trip home. If there is one thing that makes this family reunion distinct from other Pinoy reunions, it's that no one is asked to sing, dance, or perform anything. The whole of the Philippines should be thankful. Hahahaha. We stayed in Bulacan briefly, like for a few hours. Our trip back to Dumaguete was on the first flight the next day and we opted to sleep in the airport. Hay, I'm too old na to be doing this sort of thing, sleeping in airports. But either that or possibly miss our flight again. No contest, really.
While I enjoyed every moment of the brief vacation, it felt so bitin. It seems I wasn't able to spend much time with my aunts, and it would be years before they visit again. Oh well, at least, it's something to look forward to. :)
Credits: Most of the pictures were taken by my beautiful cousin M.