27 September 2005

Three cities in one day (well, almost)

Yesterday morning is perhaps one of the earliest times I have woken up for years while in Baguio. 5AM to be sure. It's because my wife and I were going to La Union to distribute invitations for Jo-Lo's baptism on October. Still groggy from not getting my full rest (we stayed up late preparing birthday gifts and pasalubong for Tina's dear friends), I had my warm bath, hot choco, played around with Jo-Lo who was quite awake already by that time, and at around 6 we were off. The fog has not yet completely lifted in Burnham Park. It would have been nice to take a stroll but we had to be someplace else.

We took a mini bus going to San Fernando by way of Naguilian Road, which is just as long and winding as the other access roads going to and from the city. And it's basically the same scenario on these roads: the mountain on one side, and the deep ravine on the other. My wife conveniently pointed out the place where a bus lost its brakes and fell off the cliff. Everybody died there. How comforting.

However, she also pointed out the China Sea and was a "wow" moment for us. I tried to take a shot but kept getting roofs of houses and trees. This is the nicest shot I got, but the sea can't be clearly distinguished. It's a nice photo anyway, right? :-)

My wife was going to attend a symposium first, which was to start at 9AM. That particular detail did not register on my mind as she reminded me that we talked about it the other day, and I can either sit-in, or stay at an internet cafe nearby. I chose the former.

The seminar was being held in a shaded auditorium at DMMMSU (Don Mariano Marcos Memorial something .. I forgot), with electric fans as the sole protection against the humid afternoon. It was about the Philippine eLibrary System which the government initiated and is now being opened to the academe and the general public, with fees involved in getting more detailed information. In his welcome speech, Undersecretary de la Pena talked about current Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) projects, one of which I was familiar with.

This event lasted til 4 in the afternoon, unfortunately. Unfortunate because many of the delegates have to travel back to their hometowns with 4 to 6 hours on the road ahead of them. Navigating the portal was relatively easy though, many of the functions being controlled by search queries.

After this event we hurriedly took a mini bus, then a pedicab enroute to Tita Rem's place (a close friend of my wife; she was celebrating her birthday this coming weekend). She was quite surprised to see us, and while they caught up on old times, I visited the nearby beach to take some photos. The waters were quite noisy, with waves splashing one after another with a force similar to the Blue Beach of my younger years in Dagupan, Pangasinan.

I would have loved to take a dip or simply take a stroll by the beach with my wife but we did not have the luxury of time. Plus, we forgot to bring a change of clothes. So after a few moments in solitude, I went back to the two chit-chatting ladies.

We promptly left Tita Rem and headed for Saint Louis College (SLC) where my wife worked for 10 years. She has left a year ago, and many people still know here. Shrieks of delight here, giggles there, catching up on stories everywhere. It was already 5:30 and yet there were still a lot of people she knew on the school grounds.

We gave out invitations, and pretty soon we found ourselves tired from walking all over the place. And we felt icky from the humid afternoon. We had a quick dinner at Jollibee and then we were able to get a mini bus ride going back to Baguio at 8PM. Tired, we slept in the bus unmindful of the sharp bends it was traversing at dangerous speeds. We finally got back home at 9:30. I had a couple of hours with Jo-Lo before I left for the bus terminal.

So it was almost three cities in one day, but Manila is 6 hours away, and here I am at work, reminiscing about the weekend that was.
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