Philippines

Burnham Park and Baguio Central

Today I’m in a beautiful place but I’ll be enjoying it from the confines of my room. The head cold and general lack of strength and energy that hit me a week ago have returned, despite multiple attempts at pretending it was gone.

It started last Monday when I did a five-hour MMA and Muay Thai training at B.A.M.F., which included an hour-long warm up of jogging and running suicides in the midday Manila sun. The exertion, along with another hour of sun exposure from cycling to the gym and back, on top of general fatigue after weeks of the moving business, knocked me flat on my back.

For all my pride at having trained and kept up with fighters, it was quite humbling to be able to do little more than lay in bed for the next two days. I had hoped that rest would have been enough to rid me of this pesky rundownness, or at least that a trip up to the mountains for some fresh air would do me good, but here I am: run raggedy down, again.

So, instead of going to Lily of the Valley Organic Farm to document my husband machete-ing his way through cliffs to map his permaculture design, he’s stayed back to take care of my daughter and me, and I will publish yesterday’s Baguio adventures.

Monday, July 17, 2017, La Trinidad

On today’s agenda: find the internet.

Yes, La Trinidad is a beautiful place, but it is a beautiful place with almost no wifi and terribly slow mobile data (surprised?). Our Smart Bro pocket wifi is almost entirely useless here, and Globe data on my phone is not much better. We walked past a few little internet cafés on Buyagan Road but decided to head into Baguio and make a day out of it.

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From the BSU (Benguet State University) campus, right across from Strawberry Farms, we hopped on a jeep to Burnham Park, which took about half an hour and cost us 17 pesos (that’s the fare for two adults; little kids ride free).

My daughter Miliani is loving mountain jeepneys. She particularly enjoys sticking her head out of the window and singing “Paw patrol! Paw patrol! Be there on the double!” What she loves so much about doing this, she tells me, is the wind blowing in her hair while she sings. I caution her not to stick her head too far out the window and she solves the problem by sticking her arm out and shooing away passing cars.

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Our walk through Burnham Park was thoroughly enjoyed. It’s beautiful, cool, and amazingly clean. We didn’t see any litter, which–if you’re familiar with the Philippines–truly is amazing. There are plenty of trash cans in convenient locations, as well as a number of clean comfort-rooms stops.

While the park features lots of fun activities, from paddle boating to go karting, we actually could not find a playground. (Silly us! There’s apparently a huge one that we missed; we’ll have to go back for that.) We made our way through the park and ended up on quite a long and complicated walk up and around a mountain to SM Baguio, a big LEED-certified mall which was built by cutting down a whole bunch of precious Baguio pine trees.

The mall was built a couple of years ago and is currently undergoing renovations to add some green terraces, which may be why it was so hard to access from the park: an entire half of the mall seems to be closed off.

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Now I’m here at Syblings Nook with the 88-peso daily brew (and free refill) to teach a class on Verbling, one of two platforms I use to teach English and earn some extra cash on the go. The other is a mobile platform called Yoli Chat, while Verbling requires a computer and webcam. I will write more about online teaching opportunities in an upcoming post, for those of you toying with the idea of quitting your day job and hitting the road. For now, I’m enjoying my coffee and the cool mountain air.

For now, I’m enjoying my coffee and the cool mountain air.

 

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