The Baguio of my youth smelled of pine trees, not of diesel. It was thick with fog, not with smog. It had old low-rise buildings, not new high-rise condominiums. The weather was chilly, not iffy. Burnham Park teemed with flowers and trees, not with vendors and vagrants.
When I looked for someone, all I had to do was wait in any part of Session Road, and in a few minutes, I'd spot her strolling along.
There was a sea of sunflowers that faced east, saying "hello" when I walked to school, and faced west, saying "good-bye" when I walked home. Every single day, they stood there waiting. Where might they have gone?
Why am I reminiscing about Baguio?
Well, I am right here, celebrating the grand homecoming of our high school class in the 60's, with 50 or more classmates who drove/flew in from all parts of the world.
|That's me, extreme right|
But for three days with former classmates—now proudly sporting white hair, wrinkles of wisdom, scars of life battles, bulges of blessings, and cellphones loaded with photos of grandchildren—we are recreating the beautiful, glorious Baguio of our salad days.
And we are discovering that this Baguio, which we all enjoyed, shared, and owned, is not a physical place. It is a memory. It is grace.