Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mt. Kalugong In La Trinidad, Benguet Now Has Its Own Coffee Shop In A Cabin

I spent Valentine's Day writing essays and working on a long overdue art project. I spent the night of that fateful day reading John Gardner's novel Grendel, a weird but great (and humorous) retelling of the English epic poem Beowulf in the perspective of the hideous monster. I turned off my phone, popped a few cans of beer, and read until I finished the book around 2:00 am. In a nutshell, while everyone was romantically productive on Valentine's Day, I was busy typing away on a keyboard and poring over a book on monsters.

On the morning after Valentine's Day, I decided to go for a hike to sort of shake off the cobwebs of the previous day/night. Waking up with a bit of a headache, I went for a short run then headed over to Mt. Kalugong. Since they no longer allow hikers to pass through the "stairway to heaven" in Tabangaoen, I took the long route through barangay Cruz. There were only a handful of people when I entered the eco-park. I paid the park fee and immediately climbed over to the rock formations as everyone seemed to have retired to the picnic tables under the trees. I sat there at the rocks for a long while: thinking, mulling, reminiscing, enjoying the warm sunshine, taking in the view of the La Trinidad valley below, and eating my "baon" (potato chips and good 'ol water).

I explored the rock formations (the ones I didn't get to see during previous visits). It still amazes me how these gigantic rocks made it to the top of this mountain. Geology and how it explains the formation of geological landscapes over thousands and millions of years are very fascinating to me.

With the sun starting to burn through my skin, I climbed out of the rocks and headed over to the newly opened coffee house on the southern side of the park. Except for the lone waitress and two lively and giggly girls enjoying their coffee and chocolate cakes in one of the tables, there was no one else inside the cozy shop. Resembling a cabin from the olden times, the shop has wooden tables, wooden chairs, wooden floors, and wooden walls. You can even catch whiffs of that old wooden smell. It was nice. Cozy. Tranquil. Fresh air. Birds chirping outside. Soft wind blowing in from the open windows. It's paradise for loners and introverts such as myself.

The two women customers left and it was basically just me and the waitress in the cabin. Feeling a bit of hunger, I decided to order something. Looking over their menu board, I jokingly asked the waitress if they serve cold beer. She chuckled. They don't serve alcoholic beverages, she said. Because patrons might get drunk and fall off the rocks, she added. I chuckled. That's a good point. I asked for coffee and cupcakes because they ran out of strawberry cake.

I left the park high on coffee and with a stomach full of strawberry cupcakes. For sure, it was worth the climb.

Here are a few photos I snapped during the quick trip.