I miss you, Baguio

I keep trying to find a way to go back and be near you.

This love-hate thing we have going has me longing for your cool breeze, your laid back vibe that makes lazy afternoons strolling up and down Session Road good exercise, and to the everyday Baguio things such as having fried rice with egg for breakfast in Cathy’s (sa may sakayan ng PNR jeepney) or having coffee then randomly running into parents of your kalaro playing mahjong in an obscure back room on the second floor of Rumours, playing darts with friends in the old 50’s Diner along Abanao, or cutting class to watch movies in Session Theater while hiding from patrolling cops, or playing SNES in an illegal video game arcade hidden under a steel trap door somewhere along Gen. Luna Road, to drink beer while watching metal band concerts on VHS at Benedict’s (or sa Chicken House pag low budget), or having Sinanglaw at 4:00am to wash off after hanging out with friends in some shady corner of the City.

That was all just high school. I’m still not keen on writing about what I did in my limited time in college in Baguio.

Busy tourists walking along Session Road during the Panagbenga. Session Theatre in the background.

But all that is enough for me to keep looking back and wanting to live back in the Summer Capital.

For a brief period as a young couple with my wife, I did try to etch out a living in Baguio. But plans change and I got into corporate, then worked overseas, then worked in government, then worked again in private. Since then, the cool breeze and icy cold showers were just a thing of the past.

Getting to find the same type and amount of work that I do, supported by the infrastructure that I need was the main hindering factor for not coming back. At least that was the reason for the past decade or so, but not now.

I’ve recently rekindled this longing to move back. Reading and watching about Starlink working pretty well in the mountains, friends telling me there is also decent PLDT fiber now.

And having the same post-pandemic work-from-home gigs that has Gen Zs working while living in surf spots near Elyu have, I mean, I can afford to go back, right?

AI prompt - Hyper realistic, modern minimalist Scandinavian semi A - frame, two storey house, black roof and walls, narrow lot with roof deck and infinity pool
Midjourney AI-generated image of a modern minimalist Scandinavian semi A – frame, two storey home.

I have this visual I had generated in Midjourney which closely resembles what I envision of putting up as a my own semi-offgrid, solar-powered home in the outskirts of the city, where it is still filled with greenery and not so much tourists. Land values in and around the city is getting very expensive, so for now, I will park this image in my suntok-sa-buwan-hindi-bawal-ang-mangarap file.

Nostalgia na lang muna tayo. My history with Baguio goes further back than just high school.

Large chunks of my childhood from the 80s were filled with regular trips to Baguio as a family. Dad would drive north, away from our home in Sunvalley, we lived in Marigold Street then, and sometimes would alternate between Hundred Islands in Pangasinan and Baguio, but mostly just Baguio. We would stay in decent American-styled cottages for several days, I can’t even remember where.

Those fond memories led us as a family to settle there in the 90s when my brother got accepted into UP, much to his dismay, his not-so-clever escape plan to live solo as studying/partying freshman was foiled.

Going back to trying to settle back in the mountains, I am really giving it a serious think now. I’m currently at 40% willing to move, 60% still holding on to what I see as the negatives. Who knows, maybe I do eventually decide to pack up ang go.

Living in Baguio is still an idea stuck in my head. I keep looking over my shoulder, trying to catch a glimpse of the Baguio that I miss.

As always there is no point to this post. I just wanted to babble about it and put the idea out there so when I see this in a few months time, I just might end up making a decision… or not.

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