A few weeks ago we had our midyear oncology convention in Baguio. I've always been leery of conventions, as most of the stuff that would be discussed could be read on the internet. But then again, everything could be done at home now and if we try to do it that way we would develop cabin fever and become murderous. Not that attending conventions makes you feel any less murderous--with all the lectures punctuated by the required dance and acting performances, but at least you could hila your batchmates and escape and go somewhere away from any talk about cancer, cancer, and fucking cancer.
After the convention we set-up a bit of a sidetrip to Sagada. We've seen That Thing Called Tadhana, and we've wondered how many people in Kiltepan Point looks like JM and Angelica. We left Baguio Country Club at around 4 am. Cast of characters: Gee-lado, Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore, Oxali, and Monakiki. Of us all I and Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore (who is no longer in a You You You Oughtta Know mode, more like Head Over Feet mode now AHOY!) are the most mahiluhin, so we've wondered just how nakakahilo the way to Sagada really was. We never expected it to be a 5-hour non-stop Kennon Road ikutan level, and at some point I think I've passed out.
We made a bit of a stop over at what was labelled as the "Highest Point". It was an amazing sight, made more amazing by the availability of restrooms. Drop 10 pesos here for urination, 20 pesos for defecation, a coin box at the entrance said. "Hindi ka ba iihi, William," Oxali said. I said I was not in the mood. "Baka maging twenty pesos ako pag nasa loob na," I said.
When we arrived there was already a booked hostel room waiting for us, thanks to Monakiki's skills in arranging itineraries and stuff. Monakiki's travel skills throughout the entire thing have totally turned us into totally dependent whiners-- Monakiki saan tayo kakain, Monakiki anong next, Monakiki asan si manong driver Monakiki Monakiki Monakiki--everything Monakiki has more than satisfactorily fulfilled, answered, accomplished with a smile. We are planning to go to New Zealand and Japan as long as Monakiki is with us.
We went inside the Sumagui Cave. What they said about there being a chance of dying might be a bit exaggerated, but you could definitely get brain contusion, fractured humeri, and be in a coma for years on end as the rocks to climb were so slippery. We always welcome the good naturedness and humor of Oxali, except when we were climbing a rope and a short giggle could mean falling in the water.
Oxali: Ahahahaha grabe no tanda nyo ba yung dati, nung...
Me: THIS IS NOT THE FUCKING TIME!!!
By the time we finished the last leg of the climb out of the cave (270 steps of stairs or so), some other tourists were just coming in. Probably oblivious of our COPD-level gasping, they all asked us in unison:
"Parang OK lang naman siguro no?"
To which we wanted to say: THIS IS NOT THE FUCKING TIME!!!
By dawn we went to the much-praised Kiltepan Cave. The sight was wonderful, with the sunrise and the clouds and the cold and the shared coffee while sitting on rocks, but most importantly I was in awe at the interest people had at the beauty of nature, because for all our differences and our complexities and our careers and our time-consciousness raw nature grips everyone the same way--except for our van driver who is the nega-est person on the planet.
"Clouds lang pala makikita dyan," we heard him murmur.
See, no matter how nega you think you are there will always be someone more nega.