Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Maligcong Sojourn: A Week of Rain and Pondering About Life, Nature and Living

Beautiful in any light
It might seem like a foolish exercise to most, going over 400 kilometers to the boondocks then spend the next seven days  largely cooped up, staring at the incessant rain, looking far into the mist-covered mountains and terraces.  Or reading books, sipping cup after cup of coffee, talking with the homestay dogs, Kunig, Maku and TamTam.  The few times the sun attempted to evade the cloud cover, I'd be out trying to pinpoint where the birds are hiding.

I have a different perspective on vacations, though, and those rainy days and their value are not totally lost on me.  I'm currently reading "Digging Deep" by Fran Sorin as I write this and I share her thoughts -- I may be seeing more or less the same set of things -- the birds, scenery, dogs, locals -- on this trip to Maligcong but I would rather term it as a reunion of sorts.  While I haven't added a bird to my life list, I am elated to spot the "regulars" like the elusive Blue Headed Fantail which seemed to have made his home in one of the homestay trees.  Or the Pied Flycatcher, now joined by two (or three?) more of his own kind.   Reuniting with them again is a happy occasion for they seem to be thriving.  Still, the mystery of why they as well as the other small birds have made the tall bamboos their favorite haunt remains.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Bontoc Bed and Bistro: Finding Bits and Pieces of Home in the Highlands

Getting some work done by the window come breakfast time
The place wasn't open yet the last time I was in Bontoc, about 3-4 months ago.  The signage of Bontoc Bed and Bistro, however, caught my eye as it was just several steps away from the GL Lizardo station.  Coming to Maligcong on the cusp of a long weekend, I made it a point to avoid the crowd at the bus stations for the return trip home so I chalked up checking out the new establishment even just for an overnight stay well after the Eid holiday.  It turned out to be a godsend as I was able to catch up on sleep (I'm an insomniac) before boarding the GL Lizardo bus on the way back to Baguio enroute to Manila, a trip which took almost eight hours due to landslides and road slippages most notably in Buguias and Atok.

Friends who've seen the iPhone pictures I snapped of the place and posted in FB were, I think, pleasantly surprised.  The bedroom, for one, wouldn't look out of place in a Manila setting.  That there's an adjacent bistro makes it even more an inviting proposition (you can stay in all day and never go hungry without stepping out to get chow).  Even if you're not planning to stay in Bontoc or is just passing through, the Bed and Bistro makes you entertain thoughts of extending your stay or make a stopover enroute to either Maligcong or Mainit, or further away to Banaue or Natonin, maybe even Buscalan, Kalinga or Tabuk

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