|Planting season is here|
|Kunig, my adopted canine, surveying the sunset scene in Maligcong|
|Breathtaking at sunset|
The routine of no routine. I'm normally big on itineraries but since I'm backpacking solo, I didn't make one. Haha, I was working up to the day I was set to leave so even if I wanted to, I simply didn't have the time. Besides, everyday is already a rush so I certainly welcome the prospect of deliberately junking the routine. Hmmm, maybe I do have some sort of routine but it's something as laidback as this:
• wake up around 8:30-9:30am
• admire the terraces from my window
• say my morning prayers, read a chapter from the Holy Bible
• open the door to find Kunig asleep on my foot mat; rub his snout and belly
• sit on the terrace, drink coffee and mountain tea while sharing oatmeal cookies with Kunig
• play again with Kunig and mimic animal sounds with 4-year old Jounin, Suzette's youngest child
• chat with Suzette if she's not busy cooking/baking/attending to the kids/supervising repair/construction work
• read a book or that Outside Magazine issue I brought along
• write on my journals
• take a bath ignoring the ice-cold water
• take a nap or hike to the school viewpoint with Kunig, shoot pictures if only I feel like it
• buy a Coke and some bread at the lone sari-sari store
• eat lunch and dinner in between these "activities", kamayan style (eating with bare hands)
• read a book in bed using my headlamp after lights out
• marvel at the fireflies which have strayed into my room (I keep the door open until early morning as Kunig sleeps by the doorway and often wakes to look my way)
Repeat the next day. And the next.
It's refreshing to just forget the date, letting the days blend seamlessly, one into the next.
|Kaingin concern on cogonal areas blowing into the patches of forest|
|Kunig & Og resting on the terrace trail|
SIDE NOTES: I have found my home in the Mountain Province at Suzette's Homestay in Maligcong. Last time I was here, our stay was just too short but I felt immediately at home.
It's more than just about the creature comforts that matter to me but the charm, the warmth and hospitality of this homestay that I find priceless. Suzette often goes out of her way to attend to the needs (oftentimes whims) of guests. The food, regardless of whether it came from the market or the front yard garden (soon, fresh produce from nearby Tala Farms of Sir Joel Fagsao), is always a labor of love. Oh, and let's not forget the freshly-baked oat bars and cookies that go so well with the mountain tea or brewed coffee. Of course, I can't talk enough about my adopted dog, Kunig, the mongrel ambassador of the homestay. Suzette jokes I'm Kunig's dad and this canine extends the hospitality further, welcoming new arrivals and accompanying guests in their forays to the terraces or the mountain.
Reading the logbook, it feels good to have some sort of hand in helping convince tourists to wander into this village and discover its charms. With the incremental uptick in guests, the homestay is adding a family room with its own toilet & bath along with a second common outhouse T&B. Things are slowly changing and perking up but I wish that it, along with the rest of the village, remains as charming and hospitable as when we first found it.
CONTACT DETAILS. To reserve accommodations at Suzette's Homestay and Coffee Place, call or text Suzette Che-es at 0915-546-3557.
HOW TO GET TO MALIGCONG: From Manila, board a bus headed to Banaue or Bontoc. From Banaue, ride the bus going to Bontoc. From Baguio, ride the GL (P212) or Rising Sun bus (P176) for Bontoc. Then get on the jeepney headed to Maligcong at the side street near the munisipyo and public market; fare: P20.
NEXT ON LAGALOG:
Maligcong and nearby Tala Farms:
A Totally Organic Experience