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Lubuagan, Kalinga – Part II: Early Mornings

Posted on 6/07/2010 by Vi Arboleda

The cool breeze wakes you and you pull up the blanket up to your neck, while hugging yourself for some warmth.

You squint and grope around for your cellphone and check the time.  It’s five in the morning.  

Looking around, you noticed that the room décor you bought at the mall isn’t there.  No bedside table.  No wall clock.  No TV.  No air conditioner.

There are no fluffy pillows that smell of fabric conditioner.  No spring mattress that bounces you up and down when you move on the bed.  Just an almost flat, ordinary pillow that smells of the sun; and a foam mattress that hugs your back and keeps it warm.

Then it dawns on you: You’re not in your apartment or condominium, but at a house in Lubuagan. 

Yes, you finally made it here.  Congratulating yourself for finally making this trip, you smile and congratulate yourself some more.

Curious as to what it looks like outside, you wrap yourself up in the blanket, carefully landing both feet on the wooden floor so as not to wake the others and tiptoe your way to the window.  You open it just a bit and the cool air touches your face.  

You breathe in and realize how fresh the air is that you can hear your lungs giving you praises.  

Fogs form when you breathe out and you quietly laugh at the sight.

Looking out the window, you realize everyone else is up.  The lights on the houses are on.  The sky bluish gray, the stars and moon still present as if saying, “Yup. We’re still here.”  

The air smells of freshly brewed coffee.  A distant discreet chatter can be heard from a distance.  

You open the door and the host, Manong Sapi, greets you with “Good morning.  Let’s have coffee!”  With the warm smile on his eyes, you’ll know it’s going to be a beautiful day.  

The host leads you to the wooden sala, gestures for you to join him, and pours you some freshly brewed coffee, which his pamangkins and apos pounded just a couple of days ago.  

Donning an olive green turtleneck sweater and a pair of work pants, Manong Sapi crosses his legs, his charming smile never leaving his face, and proceeds, “So…how was your sleep?” and the morning chat begins.

When it starts to get warm, his wife, Tita Maria, invites the early morning chatters for some breakfast.  

You follow them down to the kitchen and a round wooden table made by the Manong Sapi himself, welcomes you with a feast of freshly cooked steamed rice, fried fish and eggs, greens, coffee, and some instant noodles to serve as soup.

Excited to get a taste of Lubuagan cooking, you ask where you can wash your hands and you’re guided towards their sink.  There’s no faucet, but rather a pipe that produces free flowing spring water.  

You sit down and join the whole family – the man of the house, his wife and children, down to his apos or grandchildren and his nieces and nephews.

It’s a heart-warming and soul-fulfilling meal.  And the istorya or morning chat continues.  Suggestions on the day’s activities are discussed and certain members of the family assigned to keep you company and show you around.  For free.

This is just a taste of Lubuagan.  I suggest you include this town on your next vacation itinerary.

1 Response to "Lubuagan, Kalinga – Part II: Early Mornings"

Moroni Babia Says....

I remember waking up early in the morning in the St Teresitas High School, and taking a brisk shower to enliven my senses before I go about exploring the town... Such a bliss...

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