December 18, 2011

Of Ghosts, Bread, and Laughter--Back to Baguio!

This weekend I returned to Baguio for work. I love that city! Once again, it was nice to be in the cool weather and smell the pine trees.

We took a small plane up to Baguio; the runway is really short so only small planes can land there. It was funny that as we were getting ready to take off one of the guys sitting near me decided to announce that this is same type of plane of the big wreck in Manila last week that killed 10 people. Then went into detail how easy it is to wreck when one of the two engines die. Thanks, thanks a WHOLE bunch for the comforting speech before we take off! HA

 The flight was ridiculously short compared to the long 5 hour drive by land. As we neared Baguio city the view was breath taking. The evergreen mountains folded into each other like a large blanket, turquoise rivers wound through the valleys and colorful square roofs accented the ridges. Large white clouds gathered at the mountain peaks like dancing giants. One of those experiences that even photos cannot capture in full beauty.

It was a short trip, but extremely fun. I enjoyed working with so many colleagues that each took their assigned duty and performed to the best of their ability; the grand sum being a smooth experience. I found myself laughing often as we told and heard stories from each other.

I stayed at the same old mansion where Lady Hiva and I stayed in October. All the locals passed ghost stories around the whole time we were there. In October, we did not have any experiences to I was not expecting much, but enjoyed the stories anyway. However, at 3am I woke up to people talking loudly outside my window. (I was on the second floor) I just thought it was some of the workers getting ready for the Holiday event the next day and I went to sleep thinking it was weird they were talking so loud that early in the morning. As we were gathered the next day, one of the other women said she too woke up at three and heard them talking. She too wondered why they were talking so loudly, but could not see them when she looked out her window. But when we asked all of the staff about it, they said that nobody was out after midnight. YIKES! So maybe I should have listened more closely to what was being said. One of the other women’s glass of water bedside her bed exploded around the same time. (There are photos of that) I guess the ghost in her room were not as friendly.

I went to Good Shepherd again, with a list from Lady Hiva, to get some more ube jam and peanut brittle. Then I discovered another Baguio delicacy, Baguio Country Club bread—both raisin and cheese bread! It was amazing.  When I got home, Hiva and I finished the entire loaf in less than an hour! Now we will be asking people to get us some of that too when they go. Baguio needs to be closer to Manila, I just decided haha!

Of course there are those moments when you have to laugh, like when the caravan of cars left me. Luckily the driver of my car came back a few minutes later to get me. Yes, I was his only passenger, but I guess that he did not know that I did not get into the car???? Hmm…really?! I laughed about it, because what else are you going to do? I tried to make a joke about it, but then the driver got us lost—much to the dismay of the security team that had to come find us—the poor guy was so afraid that I would be mad at him. I had to make sure to tell him it was alright, things happen.

Meeting the wonderful people of Baguio was also fun. They enjoyed the fact that I spoke Tagalog. At one point I was telling a story and I looked up and all three tables around us were listening to it too! I made a joke that I was like a movie or something and they all laughed…In fairness, I probably was being really animated and they could not help but watch the loud white guy talking. Someone chimed in and said, “We are just amazed you speak our language.” Other reactions I got throughout the night were similar. One old guy pulled me aside and said, “Son, your Tagalog is great, but now you need to fix your accent.” HAHA…then ten minutes later a different lady said, “Your accent sounds so wonderful!” Hmm…I cannot tell if she was being WAY too kind, or the other guy too hard. I am guessing the guy was more accurate! So I tried hard not to start laughing as she told me that.

It was a fun few days, extremely tiring because we were constantly on the run from one event to the next, but I met some new friends, got to know old friends better, and enjoyed every minute of it! And the best part was coming back home to Lady Hiva!

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