Saturday, June 2, 2012

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

My column in the June 3, 2012 issue of Cordillera Today 

…in Baguio. For me, at least. The beginning of the rainy season. The downpours won’t be as harsh as they would be later this year – in August or September or October when our dates on stage or planned morning walks get postponed or canceled due to typhoons.

At this time, days usually begin with a calming sunrise. It’s cool that you want to stay a little bit longer under the covers, yet the soft warmth of the sun makes you want to seize the day. I usually do, with a steaming mug of Benguet brew. If only I didn’t smoke cigarettes, everything would be almost perfect.

By midday the light segues into a muted grey as fog slowly crawls in from the surrounding mountains gently blanketing a tired city. If you’re outside, walking, you feel the gentle mist on your face. That never fails to bring a smile on my face.

From indoors, you would catch yourself looking out the window, at first consciously watching, marveling at the magnificent sight of the skies coming down to kiss the earth. Then you get lost in the haze, you get lost in daydreams, in images of the past, in promises that tomorrow’s sunrise holds. And when the fog makes its exit, you are reminded of the present – where you are, right here right now.

And then the rains make their entrance, at times too gentle to even notice, at times too intense to ignore. The trees soak it up, a little wind and they begin to dance. You can almost feel the flowers make a face as they meet the shower with open petals.

Water flows down the hillsides, down the streets, giving the city a much needed cleansing ritual. The rains will do that for the next half of the year, to clear away as much of the debris of the past six months as possible.

At this time of the year, Baguio is reclaimed by its people from its visitors, lovers, returning sons and daughters and friends. The sidewalks, as crowded as they have been lately, is not as suffocating. There’s enough elbow room to wave hello and nod a smile to an acquaintance you’re sure to encounter wherever you may be.

At this time of the year, Baguio is the perfect venue to open an art exhibit; a play; an intimate musical performance, an open mic – all good enough reasons to get together with kindred souls, think up ideas for a new painting, story, song or poem, or for a few bottles of tapeuy or a seemingly never-ending jam with djembes and gongs.

At times the rain goes on until long after the sun has set. Other times it stops sooner, soon enough for the fog to make another entrance. And however harsh the world has been to you, in Baguio, during the rainy season, you know everything’s going to be ok.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I heave a sigh of relief that I’m spending it not anywhere else but here in Baguio - home.

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