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Baguio
Monday, June 14, 2021
BAGUIO

Cariño: Pure joy

Baguio Stories

OH JOY.

To get lost, confused, sidetracked, in search of Lipton iced tea mix which once was... there, that corner... but why is it now filled with soap? Lots of soap: laundry, bath, liquid, solid, gel, in boxes, sachets, bottles... Okay, pick up some. And bleach, of course, for all that disinfecting we all have to do and incessantly. Then do I remember that I am wearing a face mask and a face shield, the tandem making me rather short of breath after the sheer joy of getting lost, confused, sidetracked.

I lift the mask to get more air, and spot the spice shelves, oyes. Black pepper, white pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder are the proverbial tip of the iceberg. A slew of McCormick bottles. Mixes of all manner and size: gravy mixes, barbecue too. Caldereta, adobo, whathaveyou. Coconut powder - instant "gata," imported coconut milk in those sachets and in cans, too -- nice. So much stuff, shelves and shelves of them, some of which I might perhaps be seeing for the first time.

I'd forgotten how much choice is in Puregold, the big one in Naguilian. There's ice cream, of course. It was here that I first saw and bought Magnolia sugar free ice cream, which somehow has disappeared from everywhere. Still, I look for the sheer pleasure of looking. There's my preferred coconut oil sold by weight, thank you. There's all manner of cooking oil these days, huh. Canola, palm, too much palm, corn, olive, extra virgin olive, liquid coconut. I am lost in happiness.

Chocnut, even. Chocnut copycats. Chocolate candy bars. Lotsa candy. Cookies, cupcakes, wafers, ice cream cones, bread - where do these brands keep coming from? I always buy local bread. Corn flakes, fruit loops, oatmeal, instant, quick-cooking, regular. Quaker and other brands, that Australian one, too. Hmmm - no wheaties, why no wheaties? Milk, yogurt, cheese spreads, pastas, noodles, beers, wine, so much booze.

The big cart is cumbersome, and having to navigate it in and out of aisles, turning here and hitting the large round column, and turning there and then hitting the fire extinguisher brings an attendant running. I might hit everything in the shelves, I know. So does he. He grabs the cart and turns it as I cannot seem to, and sets it right.

I head for another section of the store where they have things -- clothes and slippers and curtains and bedsheets and refrigerators and mugs and glasses and plates and bowls and pillows -- and gawrsh, I recall that I need to buy, uh, food. But it feels so good to browse through non-essentials. Thus I linger.

And linger, aware that I've been housebound too long, that this pandemic has turned the once mundane trip to a fave grocery into a special foray, a rare treat, and that a once errand is now: oh joy!


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