It’s February! And in Baguio, it is the season of chilly mornings and evenings, cold showers (or no showers!), warm coffee, and blooming flowers. Locals and tourists alike look forward with anticipation to this time of the year when flowers of all kinds, colors, and fragrances bloom to a dragon, a spaceship, or a giant daffodil –a festive and colourful celebration called Panagbenga.
So you start planning early for your travel to this one-of-a-kind city. You apply your leave for a week, buy a piece or two of warm jackets (or you opt to enjoy the cold with your summer outfit), and pack your monopod stick. You announce about your adventure on your Facebook wall and everybody is asking for one thing upon your return: pasalubong!
The moment your bus reaches the city, you still shiver due to its air-conditioning. You decide to leave right away but you couldn’t believe the bus terminal’s air-con is also on. You want to complain but then you notice there’s no air-con. You just freeze that moment when you realize you’re in Baguio City.
In the following days, you enjoy your stay and strolls at famous parks and visits to museums. Then you pretend to forget taking a bath or openly admit that you’re skipping that daily routine because it is too cold. No matter what you forget or decide not to do, you remember something. You remember you owe some people something from the city.
A day before you leave for home, you go back to your old Facebook post and count the friends and relatives you’re giving pasalubong to. Ten. Twenty. Thirty. Wow! So you decide to be stingy to some who only commented, “Uy! Pasalubong!!!” and so you buy them the famous strawberry keychain. For those who wished you fun (and asked for pasalubong), you decide to be generous. So you buy them something else. You scour the marketplace and in each stall you notice products with one common familiar label –Tartland Baguio Pasarabo. You know you’ve already seen this label from a tweet by a friend who came a month earlier.
You’ve seen the popular decorated plastic container when you were young; it was Mom’s pasalubong when she came to the city for a training. You remember the crispness, sweetness, and yumminess you enjoyed before. You drown yourself in imagination, seeing yourself passionately hoarding lengua de gato in your mouth, slowly waiting for it to melt on your tongue, then you start to salivate. You realize you’ve been staring at the stacks of lengua de gato and other goodies for a moment, ignoring the vendor who has been asking you what you want.
So you end up buying Tartland Baguio Pasarabo products, getting one for each close friend and relative. And then you’re done. You feel accomplished and satisfied. Finally, you have in your basket a sweet piece of Baguio, which you, your friends, and family will surely love. You know that this will create long-lasting memory and soon, it will be replicated just like what you have just done.
With all the Tartland Baguio Pasarabo products with you while you are seated in the bus going back home, you are tempted to open a bottle of lengua. You start munching and enjoying the aroma and taste. You finish eating, and as the bus leaves the city, you start to miss it –the crowd, the cold, the flowers, the fog. But still you smile because you know that you are bringing home with you something that is truly Baguio.