Busiest Day in Baguio: Packing Heat, Singing to the Beat

She wears spike heels, she’s not quite five feet tall, she drives a new Hilux pick-up truck, and she carries a hand gun. She’s my new friend, Beth!

Christmas lights on Session Rd.

Wandering home in a post-fish-taco fog, a beautiful voice and amplified acoustic guitar from Session Road Cafe caught my attention. I spent the rest of the night watching an incredible young woman play and sing. I saw a poster on the wall advertising a benefit concert for the following night, featuring a few finalists from “Philippines Got Talent.” I decided I could squeeze another evening of live music into my terribly busy schedule.

I rocked up to the admission table 24 hours later and had a choice between a p100 or a p1000 ticket. My daily budget maxes out at p1000, so of course I picked the p100. When I tried to take a seat, the reason for the price difference became clear. Inside tables are for “VIP sponsors” (p1000). Everyone else — get your buns to the patio! It was far from a punishment, however. The patio is really a veranda that runs the length of the back wall overlooking the street, with open windows providing a view inside.

Loved this guy! And his hat.

The twinkling Christmas decorations on the town’s lamp posts glinted off the postcards I brought to compose. After I finished writing, I just sat listening, thinking, and making notes. (This is a key component to writing blog entries that are [hopefully] interesting to read. However, as the potential for quality goes up, the volume definitely increases.) I pulled out my hand journal (thanks Penelope and Tim!) and made a note about how challenging it’s been for me to stick to the plan of having “me” time. The urge to make friends is hard to surpress. Ironically, as I tucked away my pen, “J.R.” struck up a conversation with me through the window. One thing led to another, and eventually this VIP table of contractors and engineers demanded that I join them inside.

What’s a woman supposed to do? I spent the rest of the night laughing with my new friends and listening to (among other genres) live Christmas music! And of course the “inch, mile” axiom came into play as I made plans to meet the only woman in the group for coffee the next day.

At the Mines View transplanted "Mountain House"

Little did I know, I’d have multiple adventures with this fireball! We met at the Starbucks at the mall. I’m not really sure how we ended up at “Camp John.” What I do know: she arrived in a flutter, we exchanged a hug and cheek smooch, somehow she figured out I hadn’t eaten yet, and next thing I know we’re driving up the pine-sheltered streets in her black truck. We went to Camp John Hay — a former U.S. military playground where we had amazing cheeseburgers and “Freedom Fries.” We saw one of the president’s vacation mansions, stopped at a park where there were KAURI trees (!), and went to a lookout with hokey transplanted mountain crafts.

Seriuosly? Why? How does this have anything to do with karaoke?

Darkness fell. We tried to catch a movie, but the selection left us wanting. We tried to meet up with a few of her friends, but they were gone by the time we arrived. Somehow we ended up at “Chairmans” – my first experience of private karaoke. Being as Beth isn’t actually that into singing, it was a bit weird at first. We took turns singing rather poorly as extremely odd visual accompaniments flashed behind the words. (Cartoon back up dancers, scantily clad white women behaving in extremely distracting ways, ski scenes from Europe…) After our hour was up, we hit the streets again, hunting for trouble. Out of nowhere, Beth slammed on the brakes and pulled over. “My friend sings here. Lou (the Christmas tunes woman) from last night. Let’s visit her.”

Why there is a superhero action figure at a "country music" bar is beyond me.

And visit we did! We were there all night, listening to the one-woman show alternate with an aging “cowboy” band (who only wore their cowboy hats while they were playing). Don’t ask me how I ended up on stage. They demanded that I sing, then sing again. I dedicated “Amarillo by Morning” to my sweetie and then sang the next song I knew in the book – “Bad Moon Rising.” The highlight of the night was when I convinced Lou (who’s traveled extensively in the U.S.) to come to the bathroom and teach me to use the scoop.   I’ll write a post about it later.   It was HILARIOUS!!   And the fun doesn’t quit!   By the end of the evening, we had plans for an afternoon adventure the next day. ♣

See the shortest waitress EVER and more in my facebook photo album.


  • December 9, 2011 at 9:53 am

    We just hope Jem that you enjoyed your busiest day here in the city of Pines (Baguio City, Philippines). Nice blog Jemma.. CHEERS!

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