Three hundred and sixty-five days later, locked in, locked up, locked down, Baguio City nestled between the clouds and the trees is both a sanctuary and an escape.
Incredible spring weather, the nicest people, the most delightful place in the time of COVID-19 – as a young man put it, “the best (of) pandemic!”
One year after quarantine became a dirty but life-saving word, the police presence is still everywhere, though you see fewer of them in Baguio, apart from those helping tourists and other strangers fill contact-tracing forms before welcoming you into a city designed for vacations.
Hotels like Baguio Country Club, John Hay Manor, and Le Monet are currently allowed to operate at 68 percent, and unless the rules change again to accommodate ever-changing circumstances, it could go up to 75 percent in deference to that sacred time called the Holy Week rush. Guess what, the BCC people are already looking forward to an Easter egg hunt for kiddies on the sprawling grounds of green where flit dragonflies, butterflies and other winged creatures that have disappeared from the lowlands. While waiting for that to happen, a garden festival showcasing the most surprising, incredible plants and flowering species is abloom in the park right across BCC, a large-size collection of nature’s gems proudly put together from their own gardens by employees of the Club. And there the plantitas’ and plantitos’ “nephews and nieces” will stay under blue skies until December, when the traditional Christmas Village takes over to entrance the young, complete with snow and Christmas carols of old (as in old people like parents, grandparents).
Pandemic or no pandemic, BCC as the crown of Baguio hospitality has added features to banish the COVID blues: authentic Chinese cuisine on the Veranda where golfers and guests enjoy their meals; a brand-new spa; a village store selling fresh vegetables and other palengke must-buys like walis(brooms), condiments, canned goods. Open the curtains and what do you see? A priceless panorama of a manicured golf course vying for attention versus a spectacular window view of mountains, a painter’s clouds of treetops in the crystal-clear light of day as the hours slowly but inexorably tick by.
In God’s time we will wear out the pandemic, but when will that be?