We left the city by 4 in the morning with no concrete plan.
We only had the road ahead of us and each other.
We would go to wherever our hearts would gravitate to when we decide that it’s time to rest.
And we found it in a place where the three of us went to together some 10 years ago.
I was transported back in time, back in childhood photos. I had gotten younger, my parents younger. I remember photos of us together in Burnham Park, brief memories of downhill streets and light afternoons in Session Road, taking pictures in the Lost Cemetery and feeling small under the trees in Camp John Hay, staying in a hotel that had a lobby full of antiques which scared me as a child, lots of flowers, smiling while on a ride with my Mom on a swan boat, bringing our first Golden Retriever Twixie and her meeting another lovely and light-haired Golden Retriever named Tiara, and more that my memory can’t quite bring to the surface anymore.
My Father and I went here in December 2012, but it was different this year. My Dad was able to get a 10-day vacation from his work abroad, so we had time together from May 27 to the first week of June. Because I had full-time work from Monday to Friday, 7:30-6:00 PM (and sometimes extending beyond), the only time I could spend with my Mom and Dad was on the weekends. During my Dad’s first weekend here, we stayed in our home in Zambales and just rested together. June 4 and 5 were the last two whole days I could spend with my Dad. So he, my Mom, and I went back again to the special place – the place that had welcomed the younger versions of Arli and her parents. I can only thank God for the past weekend we just had… For us three to be together again in beautiful Baguio.
Before going for Baguio, we visited a resort inspired by Santorini in Greece at Poro Point. I loved the blue and white, the deep blue expanse of the sea, the paintings on the domed ceiling, my Dad’s blue shirt and hat going nicely with the scenery, and my Mom and I in our not-blue hats too.
Essie, our car – we call her Essie! – took a rest too from the long drive from the city. It was a drive through nature in La Union. I remember zigzags of tall trees, light passing through foliage, the hot weather, the little goat laying down while chewing on some grass under a waiting shed that my Mom laughed in joy about when she saw the goat (too bad my Dad and I had not seen the goat!), the drive from the plains to the well-known city through Naguilian. We passed by houses in the mountain, downward narrow streets, and we even passed a house that had so many cats in the area (my Tita Tess would have loved the sight!) We put down our windows, put out our fingers through the gap a bit, and tried to see if the air was colder now, and it was.
We’re definitely in Baguio.
We stayed in the Manor in Camp John Hay and took in the warmth that its wooden exterior and interior design brought to us. Its trees in the morning light was something to behold, and the flowers in its garden were in full bloom. The afternoon we arrived, there was sun. We took photos of one another, of my Mom and I together, of my Dad and I together. My Mom and Dad would want me to pose like how I did as a child, and it really brought me back to my younger years when I wasn’t shy to pose for the camera. Somehow, during our time together at the garden, I did not feel shy at all even if there were a few people around us. Maybe because I felt safe and accepted. Better yet, I felt loved. Best yet, I am loved.
Years ago, we had photos together here too, at the back of the Manor with the rest of Baguio behind it. It was a nice thought that we were back here again after several years, taking a photo together of the same place we were at before.
The morning after, we shared breakfast together. The three of us agreed how perfectly simple the setting was.
The warmth and cold blending together nicely, the sunny scenery in the garden, the many families gathered together around their own tables happy with their loved ones. This reminded me of the dream I had last Saturday night. I was looking at the garden with the morning mist and light descending to the flowers and plants. In my dream, I thought that it was heaven already.
On our way home from the cold windy weather of Baguio to the plains, my Dad drove for my Mom and I. From the city to our home in Zambales, my Mom drove for my Dad and I. On these two trips, I fell asleep.
I fell asleep with my heart secure, my mind calm, my soul at peace, knowing that my two Guardian Angels here on Earth are with me, have loved me into being.
The past weekend is a favorite weekend. Though we only had less than three days for this short vacation in the North of the Philippines, I am thankful. (Hoping we could bring Jango and my cousins around this part of the Philippines someday!) My Mom and Dad have always taught me that whenever we have time to spend with our families and loved ones, we still must be thankful even if the time we had was short.
Taking pictures with them, having breakfast/lunch/dinner with them, sleeping with them, sharing stories with them… My Mom and Dad are my two best friends, my brother and sister, my mentors, my councilors, my sun and moon, my Mother and my Father. Anywhere and anytime with them is home, is eternal.
I am their child.
Thank You for letting me be part of their lives, Lord. Thank You for the time You gave us to be together again after a while. Thank You for bringing me to them. Thank You for my Mima and Dida. Thank You for Your love in our parents. Thank You, Father. Thank You for You.