April Rains Pitter-Patter at Mount Yangbew

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In the delightful valley of La Trinidad, Benguet, where the seasons glide in sweet succession and scattering their varied profusion, stands silent but imposing  a mountain formation where nature has stamped many effective brands of concentrated sunshine in small packages.

Such spectacle any sightseer, vacationer, tourist or  just plain citizen would find  this Holy Week at Mount Yangbew  the little mountain  having earned a moniker, “Little Pulag,” resembling  Mount Pulag,  the famous  and  third highest mountain in the Philippines located also in Benguet province.

Aside from a summer hike experience  to  Mount Yangbew, Mother Nature, with a mother’s jest tucked neatly  under her chin  would make sure  any April hiker going there may get the rare chance of  having a dose of the pitter-patter of the rains  just beginning to evolve  this  month  of April.

Reason for people taking naturally to sunshine  and some pelting of the April  rain accompanied by good-natured bantering  while huffing and puffing up the trail at sitio Binat, barangay Tawang, leading to Mount Yangbew is not hard to find.

Such kind of adventure affects those with a passion connected to nature-trekking.

To escape from the prison walls of the metropolis – the great brickery we call the city – and linger for a while amid blossoms and leaves, in shadow and sunshine, in rain, mist and dew, out in the open campaign and under the blue sky bounded only by the horizon.

As was the case of  the group of  Milan Bolagot, Nikki Pabia, Lucrecia Animado and  Gimbol Saladas, all who told  Daily Laborer they hailed from Marikina  and came up last Thursday  to Baguio  and try to take a taste of  Benguet Province countryside.

The four are taking up BS in Psychology in one of the colleges in Marikina.

They informed Daily Laborer they worked as social media bloggers in Metro Manila covering current events there and they researched in the internet for somebody they can contact and trust while in Baguio City.

They narrated they diligently  searched in the internet  the existing  local media outfits  of Baguio City and settled on contacting Daily Laborer of Herald Express. Not knowing Daily laborer’s e-mail, they contacted him through Facebook.

Daily Laborer asked the group why they chose Daily Laborer of Herald Express who  looked  like a hoodlum, criminal or drug addict  in his  column’s  photo and they heartily complained: “Sir, naman, naman, a, kung criminal po kayo, matagal  na sanang dinampot kayo ng  Philippine National Police  (PNP) o Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)   sa katagal  ng picture ninyo sa  column ninyong  Daily Laborer, ha-ha!”

Last Thursday they arrived in Baguio and went hunting for this hoodlum who treated them in his home like they were part of the family. It was there Daily Laborer discovered the group’s penchant for rural anticipations like hearing roosters crow early in the morning at a backyard, fresh flowers in the bedroom, mounds of vegetables on the dining table, loaves of banana or carrot bread, while Mr. Sun texted messages to the swaggering Benguet pine trees, saying, “Morning has broken, like the first morning . . . blackbird has spoken. . .”

Nikki Pavia, who served as spokesperson for the group explained to Daily Laborer of their experiences visiting other cities that populous cities they visited in the past are so similar in their general aspect and structure that a description of one city   will commonly be found applicable to other cities.

And they exclaimed, “Sir Bony, mahirap pong maghanap ng banana bread o carrot bread sa Marikina. Sa Marikina, banana cake meron, pero nakapamahal.  Sa carrot bread naman, wala.”

Studying the four closely who visited  Daily Laborer in his humble abode, he discerned Milan and Nikki were  as what  the youth terms it as, “boyfriend and girlfriend,” as was the case of Lucrecia and Gimbol.  Thursday evening having settled, the four friends sat talking at Daily Laborer’s backyard, held hands, watched as the stars walked in, the stars turned around and walked right out again from their vision.

“Damn me,” Daily Laborer snorted to himself, adding, “they seemed star-struck not from the stars but among themselves!”

Daily Laborer interrupted their evening reverie, saying, “Folks, tomorrow, I recommend you see Mount Yangbew.” The four insisted Daily Laborer accompany them; So, Daily Laborer did that Friday morning.

One can reach Mount Yangbew by taking the Baguio-Tomay jeep route, leaving the busy haunts of La Trinidad population and the hum of bustling crowds.  Any trekker can inform the driver of the intention to visit Mount Yangbew and the driver will drop you sitio Banat, barangay Tawang.

And what have they experienced at Mount Yangbew?  Well, they plucked blossoms from the garden of humor and joy, which lain side by side along Mount Yangbew’s trail and in weaving them into garland, claimed as their own the string that bonded them together.

Sitting on the grass, they watched as scores of people, some standing, some sitting, watched La Trinidad valley below, bisected by its national road and the meandering Balili River.

One girl, seated alongside her mother, was apparently holding one rose, where it came, only the mother and the girl knew. Maybe they bought it somewhere down the road before going up Mount Yangbew.

In the course of the girl, standing, waving the rose at the winds, the rose snapped from its stem and she said, “Mama, Mama, nadadael didyiay rose!” (Mama, Mama, the rose got destroyed!).

Her mother looked at the fallen rose, then at her forlorn child, embraced her and gently said, “Saanabali anak, agbiruk tan tu ti sabong ditoy bantay, ta sukat diay rose mo.” (Do not worry my dear, we’ll find another flower here in the mountain to replace your rose).

Milan Bolagot asked Daily Laborer to interpret for his group what the mother said to her child.

Hearing the interpretation, a shade of tenderness swept the face of Bolagot. Who knows, the sunshine dissolving into grand display of waving irised colors in the spray of Mount Yangbew may have touched a chord of spring in the insides of Bolagot.

Casting again his glance at the mother and child, a shape of consolation seeped in the mouth Bolagot.

Bolagot gently spoke,   his words went this way: “Say, why should the rose from the young girl’s cheek depart; or, why should its clear tint fail? Aah, never mind, young girl, leave it to those whom with a grieving heart, and just play the smile around your lips.”

Hearing Bolagot, Daily Laborer slapped his thigh, thinking somehow Mount Yangbew had something to do in scrambling the brain of Bolagot. He roared in laughter and said, “Hey Milan seems you are afflicted with mountain fever?”

Various, indeed, are Mother Nature’s art and ingenuity   she has invented to exhibit a picture of human lives that allowed the four from Marikina just to have a hike’s trail at Mount Yangbew.

It had been their good fortune walking up the trail at sitio Binat at barangay Tawang, leading to Mount Yangbew grounds, enjoying the bracing atmosphere, the beautiful surroundings.

On top of the mountain, Daily Laborer asked the four what they thought about their first visit at Mount Yangbew. And Milan spoke their thoughts by saying, “Mount Yangbew is proud, but pride not of arrogance or disdain, but a fitting mien of majesty.”

Sometimes, some precipitous fronts of Mount Yangbew are varied with a kind of red soil, in the interstices of which cling shrubs, with those fresh and verdant tints of vegetation which in many parts cloth the Benguet earth.

Mr. Sun, that Friday morning, cast its beams that irradiated the streaked La Trinidad clouds.

At about past 12: 0’clock, Daily Laborer looked skywards and noticed overcast clouds, yet the gusts of winds at Mount Yangbew  were not yet threatening. But there was a harbinger of coming rains.

Daily Laborer cautioned the group they had to get down Mount Yangbew. Half-way down the trail, it caught them as the rains pattered against the mountainside. They got a wet-through, the four from Marikina more particularly shivering from having caught by the rain.

“You feel uncomfortable?” Daily Laborer asked the four, concerned about their plight.

Instead, they laughed, caroused with Daily Laborer and said, “Thank you, Sir, for allowing us to experience something this Holy Week for a lifetime!”

Indeed, any who does not feel the mellowing influence of this season upon his/her heart, beholding the delicate tints from Mount Yangbew’s unrivalled beauty, is little to be envied.

The smile of the meadows of Mount Yangbew, the solemnity of the season, seems to be reflected on the care worn countenance of residents and visitors alike.

The month of April is the season of hope – from which sprung the Holy Week – and there is vernal promise of everything that the heart of anyone in the Cordillera highlands can wish.

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