The last time I went to Baguio was in 2017, when our residency batchmate Miss Greece announced a week prior that we were invited to her wedding, and that some of us were part of the entourage. Nobody, not even most of her friends in Baguio, knew that she was in a relationship, so it was extra-thrilling for us to take part in the wedding procession for her and the man we were yet to meet.
A few hours before the wedding we had lunch at a local carinderia, and we were so caught up in our multi-thread conversations that we lost track of time. Tessieloopagoop then sent a furious text to everyone: Late na kayo! Nasaan na kayo? Nasaan na ang mga abay? Nasa ALTAR na si Miss Greece!
We took our cars to the church in panic, and true enough the celebration was already halfway through. Puzzled at the unfamiliar songs and the words, I asked Alanis Cornucopia if the Vatican had changed the entire format of the mass during the years that I haven’t been attending church, and then we realized that it wasn’t a Catholic wedding. That night, after a sumptuous dinner and bottles of whiskey, Malen drove us to a coffeeshop where we had coffee and cake. We then tried to walk all that food in the night market, where we ate strawberry taho. Malen then drove us to a pasalubong shop. Even as we were in the car, on our way back to our hotel, I was already eating the peanut brittle I had bought. As soon as I got to the hotel room I barfed everything in the toilet. As I was vomiting and aspirating my own vomitus, my room mate Lochia stood beside me. I was expecting him to do the tokenistic but rather sweet gesture of rubbing my back and murmuring “there, there”, but he instead crossed his arms, and said,
“Ayan kasi, busog na sa hapunan, uminom pa ng alak, nag coffee pa, nag cake pa, nag taho pa!”
How nice that he didn’t mention the in-transit treats!
Last weekend I went back to Baguio, this time with Smoketh, Aia, and Chepoy. We met our friend Queen Mum, who grew up in Baguio but has since moved to Aklan when she married Vim. We also met Frichmond and her family. We hired a private van, driven by Roy, who asked us what our itinerary was as he drove through the fog. We looked at each other and realized: We don’t have an itinerary! No one has made any plans! We just wanted to get away from the hospital!
We then resumed staring at our phones to attend our respective webinars, conferences, and other zombifying medical stuff.
To be fair, we didn’t just stay in the hotel and drank alcohol and ate cake the whole time (although that would probably constitute most of the weekend). We were able to go to BenCab. We were able to visit our friend Gay’s fantastic house. Gay is also an oncologist. When she was still setting up a clinic years ago her application to register “Gay’s Medical Clinic” was summarily rejected because “gay” would show up in the system as a sexually-charged term. I told her then to try, (baka mas makalusot)– “Sodom’s Medical Clinic” or “Bukkake Institute of Neoplasms”.