After all of the walking, my last stop was Mt. Cloud Bookshop, I just couldn't leave the city without saying good bye to my favorite bookshop. The thing about this bookshop is the rarity of its books, if I missed buying it now I most likely wouldn't see it again. And I was practically debating whether I should buy that book by the Kunzang Choden. In the end I just bought a tote bag with Mt. Cloud's shop and settled on the belief that I would most likely see another interesting book the next time I drop by.
Before taking this trip, I was already apprehensive, I knew for a fact that it was the end of either January or the start of February that the famous flower festival--The Panagbenga. Without any alarm I woke up to the sounds of festivities, the whole parade bonanza of deep basses, chiming xylophones and an orchestra of sounds. What I saw was the start of the month long festival, flowers and representations of it scattered the street while people from all walks lined the street. You'd think Pope Francis was back but he wasn't and the sights were interesting to see.
The thing about festivals is they have a tendency to block out major roads and cause heavy traffic. For a visitor on limited time and with practically no working knowledge of the city except it's four landmarks: Mt. Cloud, SM Baguio, Session Road and Burnham Park, I figured I would just follow the throng of people and trust whatever good grace Google maps in guiding me to the market.
Waking up bright and early I counted down the hours left til I had to leave Baguio. My bus ride was schedule for a trip in the afternoon and I had already wasted a little bit of it sleeping. But given the time constraints there were two stops that I fit into my itinerary, the first one a trip to the palengke and any one of the following: a quick drop to 50's Diner to buy a triple-decker sandwich for the road, Beans Talk for their eye-catching Sticky Bun, maybe one last look at Mt. Cloud and come home with one more addition to my bookshelf.
Even if I had bought all of my gifts I realized there were some more things I needed. The market was of course the best place to get all of those Good Shepherd items that I missed out on or at least grab a box of strawberries (which I didn't). My eyes feasted on the beautiful greens, reds, oranges and everything in between. All of the vegetables seemed to be alive and colorful, I guess that's the advantage of having a nearby source of produce. I was also tempted to buy lettuce and strawberry but the lack of space in my eco bag was dissuading me from buying more. Though cautious of the load I was carrying, my one regret was not buying at least a kilo of strawberries, beautiful red fruits that were so pleasant to the eyes I wished I could have gone to La Trinidad and did the whole strawberry picking experience myself.
My trip to Baguio, albeit a short one, was quite meaningful and also very productive. The city really holds a lot of surprises and a lot of fun things to do. Even though it takes hours to get to the city, the benefits outweigh all of the uncomfortable feelings of being a chance passenger or having annoying (sic talkatively loud) passengers on the way there. Plus it also helps that before leaving the city to bring home a tasty pastry, I bought Beans Talk's deliciously soft, sticky...Sticky Bun for the road.
My name is Alfonso your nerdy history teacher, bookworm and lover of all things cultural and exciting. You can find me in a weekend market, in a bookshop, or eating in Japanese restos during the weekends.