Rumours got me

Rumours…a story of an uncertain or doubtful truth.


I was too dumb to notice, there was something about you
How are you suppose to see things, if only you knew…

~lyrics from the song Stuck, Darren Espanto


Maybe it’s just my story…my version where dreams or better yet, delusions are considered the truth.

Ironically, I was stepping down the stairs to reach the ‘upstairs’ when I found you and your flimsy umbrella. You were wearing that smile again. And without any second thoughts, the short journey along the Igorot Stairs became an ascent towards Session Road.

The day was an eternal dusk. The sky with its never-ending tears and the mountains with its freezing frenzy gave us more reasons to take our steps twice as much. Then there was Solibao and it’s Ilocos empanada fresh from the pan, soaking the brown bags holding them.  Just like your company on this sojourn, the empanadas were warm.  It quickly filled the hollowness inside. While the empanadas filled the emptiness of the heart, the Benguet brew washed away the remaining doubt that maybe there was something to hope for.

The clock ticked and the night quietly arrived. The sky never ceased to cry and my heart was filled with illusions that there could be something…

We sat comfortably in the cozy bar along Session Road sharing a bucket of beer over Sisig pizza. We talked about life and anything in between. Rumours was surrounded with wood. It gave the small place the right kind of warmth while the air was filled with some chill kind of music to go with the laid back feel. We watched people come and go. The moments of silence were for our hearts to finally have that conversation.  Funny that we kind of understand each other even in our silence.

sisig pizza rumours baguio session road
The pizza was like having sisig on bread. But it went really well with the beer.

You were kind, that’s for sure.  You gave my heart a bit of reprieve and maybe hope that I get to find someone more than willing to fix me and not just ease the pain of getting shattered. It was in the quiet moments when the bitter-sweet liquid soothe the throat that the heart finally understood what words cannot make sense of…

The bottles were upside-down in the bucket. The pan…err…plate cleared. We took a deep breath and stepped out in the rain under your flimsy umbro. It was a bit early in the night yet it felt like an eternity.


All the butterflies I felt inside never really mattered
Wishful thoughts and sudden smiles end up being shattered…

And that moment we stared that night, I thought I was right.
but maybe I was wrong all along…

I held onto something that never really mattered

I’m still silently, quietly hoping you’ll end up with me…


I closed my eyes, shut the thoughts out and succumb to the darkness of the night as the sky shed more tears…Silently, quietly…the heart still held that strand of hope that the morning light will clear the cobwebs in the empty space in my heart like how I hope for a bright, clear sky…

Rumours Bar
Session Road, Baguio City
Featured Image borrowed from http://iamtheredranger.tumblr.com/

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How I broke a relationship that never was

adobo solibao

How do you say goodbye to a stranger? 

On the fourth day the sky finally had its fill of empathy for this broken heart. The seemingly eternal downpour dissipated into a morning mist while the golden rays of Mr. Sun broke through the clouds. It was a promising Sunday after days of cold and dampness.

You and I stepped out from the ‘upstairs’   to celebrate the beautiful day. We strolled and found ourselves in the warmth of Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral. When mass has been offered, we joyfully traced the descending stairs I took alone trying to find myself in the rain the day before. Silence was a commodity we both enjoyed in this journey…lost in our own thoughts…

We reached the landing and you knew where we were going…I, on the other hand was still lost in my reverie…wondering if these moments will ever have to end. You dragged me in the reality and pulled me into the warmth and aroma of a treat called ‘breakfast’. We were inside Solibao Restaurant along Session Road where we had an authentic Ilocos empanada the day before.


We’ve been sharing meals since we met and clicked. We shared music and our thoughts on politics, Ant-Man and that birthday breakfast at Tsokolateria. In Solibao however, like an omen, we had our own separate meal. You had your Baguio longanisa and I had my chicken-pork adobo. 


 

adobo solibao

 

As loud as the omen of separate meals, we ate in silence. We were consumed by our thoughts. There was a quiet battle in the heart that threatens to explode and leave us broken. It felt like a time bomb…I took a deep breath, downed the bitter potion and smiled fighting that urge to detonate.

Back ‘upstairs‘ we gave ourselves that much needed space. I stayed in bed while you stepped out. I was at a blank, staring at your bunk, wondering the what-ifs. Then I was reminded that what we have will never bloom no matter how we nurture it with memories to smile at. A stranger who unknowingly tried to fix the broken…but could only ease the pain. A  stranger who could not mend this broken heart…but thank your for trying…


I came broken looking for some reprieve

In solitude I was hoping to fix my soul

Instead, I stumbled upon a heart,

a heart good enough to pick my broken pieces…

but not big enough to mend it


With a pang of sadness, I took a shower and packed my bag. I wasn’t ready to go. I still had a day left to stay. But I was a bomb waiting to explode. I didn’t want you to be a casualty of the mess that I was. Your words were hopeful but I can only give a hollow promise of return…before my eyes become glassy and betray me, I stepped out of the room, checked out and started the long journey to the bus station…

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How my Birthday started at Tsokolateria

menu tsokolateria

It’s been almost a month now…

Just when the celebratory mood for my birthday started to go down the drain with the seemingly unending shower in Baguio City last July, I began to see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Actually, it’s more of a pot of chocolates!

Tsokolateria is a small al fresco dining on the famed Igorot Stairs along Leonard Wood Road. The artisanal cafe is part of the bigger chain of restaurants from Happy Concepts where Barrio Fiesta belongs.

The nipping cold woke my rather lethargic self. I was feeling cold and rolled in a ball on my bed staring at the door thinking “happy birthday!…what now?” And as always, when my mind was about to escape reality, you come barging in with that unwavering smile. You asked if I wanna have some breakfast. And there I was, bedazzled. I asked for a couple of minutes to wash away the stains of the cold evening.

Surprise! You took me upstairs. Just a couple of steps up where we were staying. It’s almost mid-day yet the sun refused to smile. Then we were in for another surprise! Tsokolateria doesn’t open until 10 AM! It didn’t dampen the already sour birthday morning…so we wait. I don’t smoke…you don’t either, and that little nook we were sitting on was way too perfect for a morning puff!

menu tsokolateria

The al fresco nook was just perfect! Artisanal Cafe it was called because they only serve hand-made kitchen creations of high quality ingredients. Eveything in that quaint cafe is, for the lack of a better word, cute…from the space it occupies down to the serving trays! One thing to note when you ask for the menu is that it is heavy! It’s a compilation of laminated sheets where the menu is printed. What made it heavy yet adorable was the woodworks! It is held by a wood block with that instrument you typically use to make/stir the perfect hot choco!

The menu has chocolates written all over you’d think it’s a dessert haven. It was a surprise that they actually serve real meals. The catch? Savory as they were, all meals did not escape the cacao invasion!  Since we were the first customer of the day (we literally opened shop), savory brekky had to wait.

For starters we had an interesting irony – The Frozen Hot Tsoko.

Tsokolateria - frozen hot tsoko

Frozen Hot Tsoko is a pot of hot hand-crafted cocoa and vanilla ice cream. So how do you consume an irony? Well, you take that scoop of cold vanilla ice cream in that small cup and pour over the hot cocoa, then you use that cute stirrer that comes along with the cups! The smoothness of the cold vanilla ice cream complements the bitter-sweet bite of that hot cocoa. Deliciously interesting for the irony of a couple that we were. The damage for this morning potion was P 200.

While we were savoring the ironic starter, they were prepping our breakfast…err…brunch.

bacon pork belly - tsokolateria - baguio

So you can’t really escape the cacao fever here. Our breakfast was one of their “all time fave” – Bacon Lechon Kawali Cebu Style & Cacao Nibs. The Menu described it as “Tanglad (lemon grass) marinated, bacon cut liempo (pork loin) cooked in peppercorns, bay leaf and cacao nibs”(and there’s that nagging bit that say’s I may be savory but I can be chocolatey)

The dish was served with native garlic mountain rice, Pinoy salsa, native orange yolk omelet and sinamak and cacao nibs.

Dissecting breakfast was what we did. We devoured whatever the pots, pans and plates have to offer while having some candid convo on the merits and demerits of our chosen meal. The native garlic mountain rice was served in a terracotta pot. It was native and therefore it has that unrefined taste. It was grainy yet flavorful and filling. The earthy flavor was teased by the mix of savory lechon kawali, spicy sinamak and the freshness of tomatoes and greens. So much for the famed mountain rice! The star of the meal was the bacon cut pork loin that was pan fried to perfection! It was as crispy as pork crackling minus the oozing fats. Crispy made tender by the mild kick from the sinamak with cocoa nibs. The total damage for this satisfying breakfast was P 250.

The bill came as a surprise (err…how many times have I used this word!)! How can you resist paying. I even asked if I can keep it!

tsokolateria bill tray

Everything became interesting that morning…even the rain! It was a bit forgiving that allowed me to wander a bit on Session Road.

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Eating Session Road Series: Oh My Gulay

oh my gulay omelet pansit gulay

Your words are my food, your breath my wine.  You are everything to me. – Sarah Bernhardt

The monsoon affair was nourished by the eternal rain, shared umbrella, gastronomic adventures and a bucket of light beer along Session Road. This mini series took us down Session Road in search for food – the one that nourishes the flesh only because the heart was somewhat sated…

It started with that thoughtful offer to share lunch on an unfamiliar place with a stranger. We were thrilled by the thought of discovering something new, someplace we both have never been to. So there! Armed with a folding umbrella to keep us dry, jackets to keep us warm and flip-flops we head out on the rain to look for La Azotea where Oh My Gulay is supposed to be found. I have the faintest idea what’s in store for us.

oh my gulay

Oh My Gulay sits on the 5th level of La Azotea Building. Who would have thought that this place exists?! The place lived up to it’s name! Oh My Gulay (OMG) is some catchy phrase you’d definitely say when you reach the top of the stairs! By the way, La Azotea doesn’t have a lift, so it’s a hike to the 5th level…but the hike is definitely worth it!

Like the place’s name implies, they only serve veggies! Oh My Gulay is a vegetarian restaurant. We were quite aware of it so we asked for the menu to check what ‘veggies’ they offer.

vegetarian pansit

They offer pasta dishes, however, with the cold weather and the eternal downpour from the heaven up close, we felt that traditional pansit was more appropriate. And so we asked for their Pansit Gulay.  It is your traditional egg noodles, tofu (to replace any sort of meat), 10 assorted veggies that were in season, all tossed in their spicy pansit sauce. We were told that the serving was only good for one person. Surprisingly, the bowl priced at P 135 was good enough to two hungry adults.

 

omelet

Because we were not aware of the serving portions, we decided to have a go at their Sibuyas at Kabute Omelet also good for sharing. It was filled with caramelized onion rings and mushrooms and cheese! I just did not appreciate how the oil adorned the omelet’s surface (arte lang!). But overall, it was tasty and filling. Aside from my issue with the cooking oil, another let down was the “basil cheese toast”. My ever critical tastebuds hardly recognized the presence of basil or cheese on the barely toasted bread.

After the meal, we wandered around to see the art exhibit.  They’re celebrating the art pieces of Benjie Mallari, the Art Director of Insurance Manila. He was known through his powerful editorial cartoons and sketches for the newspaper Malaya during the Marcos dictatorship.

nervin_ohmygulay

Oh My Gulay, apart from serving vegetarian dishes is a VOCAS (Victor Oteyza Community Art Space). This explains the novelty of the place screaming A-R-T. I could consider the entire space as a work of art, from the stairwell going up leading to the unexpected warmth of the dining space. Every little piece says something…

ship-wreck-omg

A piece of a ship-wreck above the kitchen

omg_view2

The kitchen’s somewhere there!

omy_view1

There’s the garden I so like.  It was raining cats and dogs for eternity and here we were, comfortably sitting on that ship-wreck sipping on bottomless cups of brewed coffee (for P 65).

I’ve read a few blogs mentioning their experiences at Oh My Gulay but everything came unexpected the moment we stepped in. I can easily find a comfortable nook and read a book. I already posted a sticky note reminding me to come back and enjoy a little piece of peace to renew my broken spirit.

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Oh My Gulay
5 Level, La Azotea Building
Upper Session Road, Baguio City

A Monsoon Affair

“Is romance a part of your travel?” they asked.

I said “No…” then flashed my all-knowing smile.

‘Is it?’ I asked myself a number of times after my vehement denial. I was thinking…rather, hoping to find peace amidst the chaos that was me. Okay, I admit, it was in my head…Just an afterthought…a wishful thinking maybe…

I found myself punching my digits and my email address on his phone. Surprisingly, I never asked his. All I know is his first name…not wanting to know more. 

I was sitting on my bunk opposite yours in a cold early evening in Baguio. I just arrived somewhat wet and cold. The torrential rain felt like an eternity drowning my lonely heart and restless mind. I felt your gaze rather distracting so I fumbled with my phone and pretended to be busy. It didn’t bother you.  You asked for my name amidst the awkwardness of the silence between us…our eyes said the unspoken…Then I was left in the company of my weary thoughts, baffled by your candor.

The warmth of the bed was comforting…body was tired as much as the soul that I went to lala land in minutes leaving the mortal world to fend for itself.

Friday morning but the sun was nowhere to be found. The monsoon rain was on a roll, not giving any hint of pause or reprieve. It was late afternoon yet it felt like early winter morning. I can’t believe I was still in bed curled in a ball under my warm blanket. My eyes darted a glance at you. You smiled and asked if I was in the mood for lunch. There was something that makes it hard to deny you of any answer…especially a “No”.

Your company was refreshing. I’ve stayed in some backpackers’ hostels and slept with all sorts of people imaginable, but I have never felt the connection I had with you…your easy going frame of mind with oozing positiveness and carelessness at the same time was a breath of fresh air!

The monsoon rain did not dampen our mood as we gallivant down Session Road.  We shared meals while we respect our private moments in silence. You offered to share your umbrella to keep me dry from the rain as we hop from one restaurant to another.

In the three nights we shared, we rocked the room ‘upstairs‘. Like the rain, we poured ourselves in sync with the pitter-patter on the roof. In some unknown climax only the clouds knew, in some brief moments of silence, I wanted to look at you and just think about the possibilities. But reality bites like the coldness of the weather nipping on my sun-kissed skin. We knew there’s nothing to connect us more than what we have then. And in the same silence, my heart conceded to the unspoken truth…


There was no romance.

There was no peace.

There was no order in the chaos that was me.

only a monsoon affair…

three nights in the cold and damp Baguio City

with a stranger who made me feel whole and at peace. 


The sun finally seized it’s day that Sunday. We went to Church to renew our faith and had our last meal together. I didn’t want to leave. You were hopeful that I don’t get to go…but circumstances have called the inevitable. I left…with only a hollow promise of return.

Just as I was hopeful, I was cautious. For the heart that’s already broken refused to kiss the flame in the fear of getting burned.

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Feature photo grabbed from https://facebook.com/thispageisaboutwords