Monday, June 29, 2015

Maligcong: Stars in the Sky, Fireflies in My Room and a Snoring Dog Under the Bed

Milky Way with banana leaves - the sky on my first night back in Maligcong
The cicada kept bumping into the ceiling three nights in a row, attracted by the overhead light in my room.  So did the beautiful moths that line up the walls.  I kinda missed the two bees which visited the past two nights drawn by the only glow remaining after the whole neighborhood has gone lights out.  It's just 8:30pm but it already feels like the depths of the night.
The hour-long squall has brought the chill a few notches lower.  Lightning flashed across the sky beyond the distant mountains. Hahaha, just when I was planning on shooting the rice terraces at night and this happens.  The first two days, the rice fields were off-limits as there was te-er, a traditional ritual done to bless the field prior to planting or so I gather.   I'm alone in my room but then again, I realize I'm not.  The moths, the cicadas, were there to keep me company as I read well into the night.

I almost felt guilty spending most days doing a lot of nothing but then I read this Zen book loaned to me by Suzette, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.  He says "Though you do not do anything, you are actually doing something."   It somehow rang true in my case as I've been busy writing, conceptualizing and designing for projects the past few months so much so that my mind feels like it really needs some rest.  So instead of cramming my days with activities, I again opted to read and introspect.  Ignore my e-mails. Re-connect with nature.  Pet a dog or two.  Look up and admire the clear night sky.   Funny if nowadays, these all seem like luxuries (Saw a friend post the message "Offline is the new luxury" in FB the other day and while rather true, it seems like a cruel joke of modernity foisted on us working class people).
Beautiful moths on the wall
And oh, how can I feel alone when Kunig, my beloved adopted mongrel and Suzette's Homestay's resident canine, is snoring (and snorting) contentedly at the corner of the room.  He occasionally rouses and lifts his head at the sound of the neighborhood's barking dogs but promptly go back to his blissful sleep with a heavy sigh as if saying, "nothing to be alarmed about, please go back to sleep."

Having drank glass after glass of 'pagpag' (native tea variety) tea, I frequently stumble outside to the outhouse toilet cum bath to pee.  Fireflies wander far from their favorite thicket of bamboo and twinkle as if trying to make up for a cloudy night.  I come back to the room, Kunig's paws twitching as if in a state of dreaming.  I shut off my flashlight and tuck under the blanket.  Two fireflies wandered into the room and I lay there, hypnotized by the on-off phosphorescent light.  In the dark, I can hear the dog snoring a bit louder than awhile ago.  The canine has found his state of bliss.  It's about time I found mine.
Kunig snoring in blissful sleep
How to get to Maligcong: I take the Manila-Baguio-Bontoc route for the flexibility this route offers. Victory Liner ply the Manila-Baguio route with buses leaving the Malibay, Pasay and Kamias, QC stations every hour daily.  GLizardo ply the Baguio to Bontoc route five times daily: 7am, 8am, 10am, 1:30pm and 2:30pm from the Dangwa station; current fare: P210 (about US$5).  There are approximately 4 jeepney trips plying the Bontoc-Maligcong route, twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon (2:30 & 5:30pm).  "Alas-puno" policy apply, that is, the jeepney leaves when it is full (fare: P20 or around US$.50).


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