Part 2 of 2 of the Cold Chronicles
Part 1: Breathless at Pulag
The descent from Mt. Pulag was definitely full of pride for me. The congratulatory remarks from the people who were just embarking the climb were just music to my ears that day. And Breathless never gave me trouble again after we both enjoyed the summit experience.
When we reached Camp 1 again on our way down, I added another layer of clothing from the existing two layers. Our group came to a consensus that it was colder there at the moment, compared from our ascent the previous day. And so we bade everyone there loads and loads of luck (with an underlying meaning of “beware of the cold”) as we continued our descent.
When we reached the ranger station, I was overwhelmed by the number of hikers seeking the sea of clouds.
After munching on some fresh snacks from the food stalls, Kuya Fermin, our jeepney driver, finally arrived.
And this was when fatigue finally swept everyone to sleep.
When we all woke up, Kuya Fermin brought us here.
Ambuklao Dam is one of the major water reservoirs and hydroelectric power source in Bokod. And it sure was another source of breathtaking landscapes from the beautiful province of Benguet.
And after another hour of zigzag roads, we finally and treated ourselves to a sumptous feast at the famous 50s Diner located at General Luna Road corner Brent Road, Baguio City.
And this was where we parted ways. Karah, Tim, Ralph and me decided to stay in Baguio for one more night while the rest of the group headed back to Manila.
We managed to find an affordable inn along Session Road, and no, we didn’t take our rest yet. Instead, we had coffee at Volante.
Their apple pie was highly recommended and their Volante coffee truly was so strong that I worried if the weariness from this very long day could send me to sleep that night.
But eventually, it did. With the help of the soft bed and blankets, fatigue became more powerful now than the cold. But the low temperature still stayed at the side of our beds that night.
The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and were suddenly in the mood for art.
To get to the Oh My Gulay Artists’ Cafe, we did a post-climb exercise as we ascended five flights of stairs inside the La Azotea Building along Session Road.
And through the works of passion and the relaxing ambience, OMG could truly extract the inner artiste out of each guest.
The healthy menu and good coffee were even the best companions to keep those brain cells oozing with creativity.
After our organic banquet, we planned to go to a cultural village but Ralph had an emergency and needed to get to Manila the soonest possible time. So Karah, Tim and I grabbed a cab to Pinsao Proper, Baguio City while Ralph offered to secure three more bus tickets for our trip back that night.
Tam-awan Village shares a glimpse of the Cordilleran heritage from the arts to its customs and traditions.
And what I liked best about the place was that it provided us another post-climb routine after the Pulag trip.
But while we were enjoying our mini-Pulag adventure, Ralph called to tell us that all tickets bound for Manila were already sold out. The next available trip would be at 1:00AM the following morning so he would take his luck through the long queue of chance passengers.
So we bade the anitos goodbye so we could already secure our tickets.
But along the way, we saw the market. The vegetables and coffee were too enticing so we got to them first before the tickets.
So when we finally got hold of our tickets, they were already for the 2:30AM trip! And it was still four o’clock in the afternoon. I never had so much time to spare! So we decided to roam around a little more, until we found this place.
The shop had all the stuff one needed for mountain-climbing: walking sticks, trek pants, backpacks, water jugs, harnesses, stoves, etc.
But after feasting our eyes on yet another post-climb experience, we still had a lot of time on our hands. So we just continued walking along Upper Session Road and saw this.
No, we were not interested to have a massage and spa. What caught my attention was the Cinematheque. Unfortunately, the last film for the day just finished. So instead of films, we went to visit the books.
And the Pulag hangover remained.
The place was just relaxing and features a wide variety of books.
Soon it was dark and our stomachs started to get grumpy.
Their pizza and pasta definitely relaxed our grumpy stomachs.
We finished dinner at around eight o’ clock. How many more hours do we have before 2:30AM?
We decided to walk around some more, though the cold was starting to get to my nerves again.
Along Session Road, we found a booksale shop. The placed offered books from fairytales to biographies. They even have a section offering 50% discount for all the books. So we tried our luck.
Most of the books in the section might seem obsolete but I was able to unearth a valuable piece of non-fiction there.
It was 10:30PM when we left the shop. How many more hours do we have before 2:30AM?
Across the street, the Night Market along Harisson Street greeted us a chilled welcome.
And that was an ukay-ukay haven. All sorts of second-hand and brand new items could be found around the area: from clothes to shoes to kitchen utensils.
We finished our window shopping at around 11:30PM. We decided to spend the rest of the time at the terminal where we witnessed how many passengers were taking their chances. The queue was still long even until past midnight.
I started reading my book and never thought I would get so teary-eyed just on the first few pages of this compilation of true-to-life stories about death. And I continued crying as the temperature went lower and lower.
At long last, the clock struck 2:30. We boarded our bus and said goodbye to the chance passengers who seemed to be witnessing sunrise at the terminal.
And as we went further and further from Baguio, the temperature started to normalize.
We now reached Central Luzon as the sun wished us a very good morning. The descent was now complete.