My memories in a Baguio boarding house-A A +A
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
ONE hot topic among students and just-hired graduates is their boarding houses. The focus of conversations is usually the physical structure of the house, amenities, facilities, and cost. It often extends, though, to the different drama that happens such as flirting, drunkenness, thievery, who-visited-who, who-did-not-flush-the-bowl, and the new girl next door. The tête-à-tête would often wind up subconsciously with comparison of boarding houses thus defining what is the ideal boarding house.
I used to call “my home” an address up the hill of Honeymoon barangay and often flaunt it to friends as the best boarding house. In my amateurish estimate, the terrain is at more than seventy-five degrees inclination.
Ingenious Cordilleran engineering, though, built a multi-level house terraces. Our residence was almost the topmost flat close to the fence of Brent School, whose pine trees provided a freshly scented atmosphere.
At that height, one can have an unobstructed view of the northeast part of the city from the collage of houses in Quirino Hill, the posh imprint of Trancoville and Aurora Hill, to the sight of hope that is the Busol Watershed.
In the night of every Christmas and New Year, the elevation provides an entertaining spectacle of the spontaneous and simultaneous sparks and glows of fire and color filling the dark mid-air from the revelries in these overlooking neighborhoods.
There were 10 rooms with almost equal floor areas on that flat. Each room had a double-deck bed, a study table, a bench, a table for a double-burner stove, a closet for clothes a cupboard for books and plenty of breathing space and leeway to move about.
Outside, there was an area for the drums of water assigned for each room, space for doing the laundry, the clothesline and the universe for those who want to spend time strumming the guitar, drinking and other leisure. The cost per room is P900 (this was in the late ‘90s) but up to four occupants was allowed in each unit thus the cost per person is minimal. With an average of three occupants per room, there was a crowd but surely it was a pleasant community sharing food and drinks during birthdays and other special occasions.
Though knees and chin meet when climbing from the road to the flat, the residence was very much reachable. It is a walking distance from the university, a big grocery store, and some major churches. A weekend morning jog is a choice of either Burnham Park or Botanical Garden as both are runnable without the need for a ride.
And most of all, the neighborhood was basically a community of Cordillerans thus one can borrow the entire case of beer bottles from the sari-sari store without the need of coughing up an additional amount for deposits.
The best feature is that the family who owns the place was very kind and accommodating. I don’t remember anyone berated for paying the rent late. There were neither strict rules as to visiting hours nor curfew. Trust is the way the landlord instills discipline. And most of all, the boarders are free to pick for their consumption sayote tops and fruits grown at a patch nearby.
I love and remember that residence because of the fresh atmosphere, inexpensiveness, accessibility, community, and kindness of the landlord. I would guess these too are the qualities that students are seeking for their boarding house even at the present times. There might be some few additions though like access to excellent Wi-fi or a strong broadband signal. Another is no non-sense security.
In the ‘90s, one can depend on a big padlock to protect the gasul tank and money which were the usual targets of thieves then. At present, students has more to protect such as cellphone, digital camera, laptop and other paraphernalia needed to comply with the professor’s digital requirement.
These things are even doubly important to the student because of the necessity to update status on Facebook. The bottom line is comfort when living in Baguio and good memories when leaving Baguio. I wonder if there are still a lot of boarding houses in the city that meet these qualities.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 27, 2012.