Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Life in a Northern Town Part 3: Teacher's Camp, the view from Ambuklao & the Baguio Public Market

Life in a Northern Town Part 2
by rick olivares

Barangay Canaoay, San Fernando, La Union
I am up early. It’s a wonder that I am considering I went to bed around 12:30am tired and severely lacking in sleep over a two-day period. I guess deadlines will do that to you.

I’m half tempted to chuck writing and head for the bench and well, stare out to the sea and lose myself. I think of Ernest Hemingway and the thrall the sea had on him. I’ve never really tried writing on the beach. I guess, I sit and daydream. Even at my age I still do that (although once in a while because reality is not so bad).

I’m writing about the top foreign players to play college ball. I am also writing a travelogue about this trip up north. I’ve been known to write two things (sometimes three) at the same time, jumping from one piece to another with my mind ablaze with ideas and thought.

Around 730am, we have breakfast of longganisa, fish, sinangag, tomatoes and fruits. I feel like I could eat all day but I am already bloated.

We finish eating and talking by 815. We have to leave for Baguio before 9am. And as usual, traffic inside the city is bad. We arrive one hour late at Teacher’s Camp where Team Lakay is doing sprints and weights.

Teacher’s Camp, Baguio City
Eduard Folayang wasn’t at the gym last night but he’s here today and we get to talk some. We stay for two hours shooting material and interviewing fighters.

Many of these fighters have been given scholarships to the University of the Cordilleras where they get to train with Team Lakay. Some of them are taking up Criminology as they either want to become soldiers or policemen. They tell us that in the north, the cops and men in uniform are highly respected. It sure is a far cry from the way cops are seen in Manila.

Nevertheless, I am proud of them.

Ambuklao Road, Baguio City
We’re having lunch at the Tiñio residence. We relish the invite as the food is said to be always good and we want to see the spectacular view that was mentioned last night.

Being the highest point of Baguio, when the weather is bad (typhoons), it can get pretty hairy. Twice have trees on the property been struck and split in half. The lightning strike doesn’t end there, it travels up and doing short-circuiting everything. According to Gaby Tiñio, one of the sons and who now lives in Baguio full time, when the weather is horrible, if you place your hand on the glass, you can feel it vibrate.

We’re outside the garden taking photos of the mountains and the valley beyond. You can really hear the wind from up here. The garden is impressive but ore so the view. One of those mountains beyond is Mt. Pulag.

The Tiñio property lost a huge part of land when the side of the hill fell down into the valley due to erosion. They had to spend a huge sum to cement the side of the mountain to save the house. After hearing that story, I wondered about those home, favellas we called them a day earlier, along Naguilan and elsewhere in these mountains. Do the homeowners ever considered erosion?

That should be a huge concern.

Baguio Public Market (at the foot of Session Road)
No way are we shopping at SM. They aren’t the good guys by any chance. Instead we bought fruits, rice, and pasalubong at the real Baguio City stalls.

Good Shepherd is out of ube so we bought the next best brand, Tantamco’s. We also bought 2 kilos of red rice from the Kalinga Apayao region.

You really have to be mindful of your environment when shopping here. There are pickpockets and even snatchers. So we walk in a line and I’ve got everyone’s six.

We don’t stay too long. We head back to La Union. It’s past 530 when we get to Canaoay and we’re like three hours behind sked in our shoot for Jay-R Esquivel. It will have to do tomorrow.

I cap off my day with a beautiful shot of the sunset.

Our breakfast of longganisa from Vigan, fish, tomatoes, and eggs.
The Sagada oranges I bought at the public market.

One of the shots I took from outside the Tiñio residence at the top of Ambuklao Road.

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