July 25, 2024

Not too long ago, Baguio residents, fed up with all the troubles that seem to dog the tracks of the large throng of tourists that came up to visit this mountain resort, particularly during the Holy Week – the time-consuming traffic gridlock, the sudden leap in prices of basic commodities, including meat, fish, and veggies beyond the reach of the average consumer (lapu-lapu and prawns at P700 a kilo, (tampered pa ang weighing scale); the noisy circus and gambling activities that crop up at nightfall, with kids lured by the siren call of easy money and the sweet talk of the carnival barker coupled with nasty gossip that certain people at City Hall again made more killing so they could spend their Holy Week somewhere else – us locals soon found ourselves praying for a quiet and hassle-free Lenten season.
Ah, be careful what you wish for.

And so Holy Week came and went without the usual fun-loving and frolicking crowds.
No skaters doing the snake rink tour with boys and girls holding on to the waist of each other, no little tykes begging their moms to please hire a bike, no romantic couples rowing boats on the lake since turned moss green, no pretty girls on horseback fashionably attired with knee high boots and baggy pants; no teeners and matrons in miniskirts and plunging blouses; no gays and hunks doing the rounds; no welcoming the 200,000th lucky summer visitor, and hey, even the faithful stayed indoors for fear of being contaminated with the virus.

Even in these exceptionally difficult times when one’s health – and life – is paramount, we will never get used to policemen and soldiers manning checkpoints who will only allow you to pass if you have a quarantine pass, and why do old folks like myself be made to walk a mile to get to the market, who will carry my groceries and heavy market bag for me getting back to my car parked far away from the palengke.

If the uniformed authorities want to earn the respect of law-abiding citizens, they should act like Boy Scouts – helping old ladies cross the street with smiles plastered on their faces, not scowls.
Maybe they are too busy looking out for traffic violators. The fine, after all, is P500 per violation.
Illegal parking na, obstructing traffic pa. Doble kabig.
We miss the good old days when our guys in blue were quick with their salutes and easy smiles – not arrogant, not even gruff. Baguio’s finest – then.
It seems the bullies of your high school days are now the policemen of your adult years.

Oh, as an aside, besides surviving the many calamities that have befallen mankind, on a personal note, I have also survived being turned down twice by girls I was smitten with; jolted by another; 14 years of college with four of them as an out-of-school youth; more gambling losses than wins, disappointments at nearly every turn; two serious hospital confinements; being betrayed by close friends; losing a beloved spouse to cancer; three or four losing political campaigns, and one political defeat and lapses in my Law practice that I have lost sleep over.
I am, by the way, also an incorrigible gambler and romantic, neither of which I find gratifying.
All that pain, and all it took is one granddaughter to curse my tired and aching body and mind.
But hey, I pray all the time – the rosary every night – and saying “Hi” to the Lord every morning, even if He harrumphs every now and then.

I am happy for Milagros Costales, a Covid-19 survivor.
In my 5th grade, we had a classmate named Milagros Costales, the pretty daughter of our teacher, Magdalene “Nena” Costales, from whom Milagros inherited her good looks.
Des Bautista had a crush on her, as well as all the other boys, including myself.
It is the age difference, however, that sets the two apart. But then women I fib about their age all the time, snipping off a few years to feel younger.
Also, Costales may be her married name.
Oh yes, the other pretty girl in our class was Tottee Chanco. Thelma Manrique, another Des crush, was in another section.

The girls who laughed in my face during my money strapped and awkward years? I had sweet revenge with some, others refused to bite.
Alas, no such thing as sweet young girls in this modern time.
Today, it seems every girl is liberated. It has taken the fun out of courtship and rejection.
And the virus has taken the fun out of all the wonderful things in life.
Hopefully, it is not the second coming of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“By the grace of God, we shall overcome.”
Happy anniversary to the Baguio Midland Courier.