Salvador: The trip up the cool north


AS I am writing this story, beads of perspiration are slowly rolling down my neck and back. It’s 32 degrees Celsius (but feels like 37) and it is hot. I’m dreading the scorching summer ahead. This heat makes me wish I stayed in Baguio longer, or better yet, stay there and wait out the El Niño.

The recent trip to Baguio was unplanned. It came about with the mention of Café by the Ruins’ “ensaymada.” It triggered the decision to go on the road trip. With every detail falling into place with ease, the trip was destined to happen.

There was only one agenda—to eat. Sate the cravings for the food that makes every trip to the Summer Capital a memorable one (well, to enjoy the cool climate, too). Of course, the ensaymada was on top of my list. It was what took us to Baguio in the first place.

My trips to Baguio are not that frequent. I live in Davao and that’s a long way to travel. If I’m itching for a cool place to visit, it would be Japan in spring or fall. The place doesn’t require a long road trip.

Speaking of road trips, I love how we zipped from Alabang to Baguio via the “multipl-EX” thoroughfares. I’ve plied NLEx (North Luzon Expressway) and SCTEx (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) in the past, but it’s my first time to travel the TPLEx (Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway). Traveling at 7 a.m. on the last day of a long weekend, when everyone else is heading back home, we had the road to Baguio all to ourselves.

Other “firsts” came my way. Believe it or not, it was my first time to row a boat at the Burnham Park lake. It took a kid we were traveling with to make it happen. Apparently, there were two happy kids on the boat that day.

Aside from the food binging, we did the usual stops on Day 2—the silver place, BenCab Museum (the National artist is always there when I visit).

Market day is always on the last day. It wasn’t at the Session Road public market for me this time but at the Strawberry Park in Trinidad Valley. I was told prices of vegetables and strawberries in this place cost lesser than the Baguio City market.

Every inch of the van was put to good use. Stacked where it could fit were sacks of veggies, boxes of strawberries and favorite Baguio bites (the ensyamada included, of course), and the famous walis. No jams and other bottled goods on this trip.

We left Baguio days before Panagbenga’s main event, the floral parade. Traffic would be horrendous around those days.

The most exciting for me was the last stopover on our way home. It was my first time to visit the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag. I’ve been wanting to visit the church in ages (yes, I have my petitions and wishes, but my prayers start with everything I have to be thankful for). I must confess I left Pangasinan with a sense of lightness. Mama Mary seemed to have already granted one of my wishes. I will be back soon.

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Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com


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