|Anna and Sunny at Mines View Park|
So at exactly 6:00am on May 2, five lay missionaries, three staff members, and my daughter (there was enough room in the van so I asked permission from CLM coordinator John to bring her so she can be with my mother) left the Lay Mission House for a trip up the winding roads leading to Baguio City. We arrived in Baguio at 1:00pm and were welcomed by the cool breeze and the lovely pine scent. After a buffet lunch, we had a short siesta at the Columban House. I got the feeling that everybody wanted to wrap their pillow with their warm embrace but they had to be ready by 3:00pm to explore the beauty that is Baguio City. So they grudgingly got up, refreshed, and got ready.
|Columban Lay Missionaries and Staff at Tam-awan Village|
That night, my mother told me that the coronation will be held in the afternoon of May 3. So I decided not to join the outing the following day to give way to my mother’s special event. The coronation was held at the covered court of our Barangay. It started at 2:30pm. Since this was a senior citizens event, I prayed for patience as the participants tend to move slower than the average adult. So I braced myself for a slow afternoon and some senior moments. Not surprisingly, one lola (grandmother) forgot that she will be crowned that afternoon. She showed up just before the Queen of Royal Court was to be presented. Another lola forgot where her crown was. Despite these senior moments, there were more moments everyone loved like the dance performances and the tai-chi. The Queen and her Royal Court all looked lovely and regal in their own rights and deserved everyone’s praise and applause. Truly, this coronation event left a lasting and inspiring impression to everyone present. For me, I was just glad that my mother was happy. When the event was fully finished, I left her with my daughter, two nieces, one nephew, two grandnieces and one grandnephew who also came to witness the crowning of their lola to meet my party at the Good Shepherd Convent.
Our next stop was the mines view park. On our way to Mines View, we chanced upon my children’s taho suki (regular soybean vendor) who gave us 25% discount on his strawberry taho. Marifi who usually does not like anything strawberry loved the taho.
The mines view park is the view deck for the several mines Benguet was once so proud of. I remember with a little nostalgia my father who worked in Balatoc Mines all his adult life. I remember too the many friends we had back then when the one big concern or problem my family and neighbors had was sending their children to school. Education was a priority to all, no exception. At Mines View, Rose enjoyed herself the most not because of the view but because of two big dogs which perhaps represented her two dogs left at the Columban Lay Mission House. She had several pictures taken with the St. Bernard dog and more with the horse. Each picture cost her P10. She did not mind. Then we drove to Marcoville to buy dinner and had it in my mother’s house. My mother was happy to have everyone’s company.
|John on discernment - to eat or not to eat|
On the third day, we went to La Trinidad, the capital of Benguet for strawberry picking. We registered at the front desk and were told that personally picked strawberries will cost P400 per kilo. Whew! Experience is expensive eh! But we went ahead. We were also told that we can only eat the strawberries after they were weighed and paid. But some of us just couln’t get enough of these heart shaped red head beauties exposing themselves right before our very eyes. Rose, John and Nani devoured perhaps ¾ kilos each. That was two and a quarter kilos of strawberries never to be seen or paid again. In all, we paid P1000 for the two and a half kilos we took home. The one thing we missed doing at the strawberry farm was to taste the strawberry ice cream.
|Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary|
Our trip down to Olongapo en route Manila was on Sunday the 5th of May. We hit the road at 7:00 am with the hope that we’ll be at the CLM House by 3:00pm. But the Lord had other plans for us. At around 11:30am upon entering PORAC in SCTEX, John noticed something unusual with the way the van was running. He stopped and checked to find the left front tire punctured. With all his might left from driving, he took out the spare tire only to find out that the spare is not also in its best form. We braved the heat of the mid-day sun while trying to locate any number for rescue. I rang emergency hotline no 1627 and asked for SCTEX HELP number. Thirty minutes after I rang mobile no 09232808560, three gentlemen in the persons of Mr. Macapagal, Mr. Basco, and Mr. Tampus came to rescue us. They were from the Traffic Management Safety and Security Department. They accompanied John to the nearest vulcanizing shop, around 12 kilometers away from where we were stranded. They also helped John return the tire. We said our gratitude and goodbyes and were ready to part with P200 for their snacks. But they did not want the money. I was impressed. They said a simple thank you will do. Just as they were leaving, we all boarded the van and ready to hit the road again. Voila! The van did not start. Another try and still no encouraging sound. So we waved for the three men to come back. And after a couple of pushes, the van let out that encouraging start sound. At this point, I let a big sigh out and a quiet prayer thanking the Lord for allowing us to get past this experience. Thank you Misters Tampus, Basco and Macapagal for all your help. You are truly appreciated.
|Stranded at SCTEX|
We left Sunny’s place after 6:00pm. We took one last coffee and toilet stop just before NLEX. We arrived at the CLM House at around 9:00pm.
Was the outing in Baguio worth it? YES YES YES. Baguio is best for its cool weather, beautiful pine trees not found anywhere in the country, fragile yet beautiful and sweet strawberries, and more…….
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