Tam-awan Village is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Baguio City, Philippines. A lot of people, both local and tourists, are captivated by its uniqueness, tranquility and beauty. This is indeed one of the best places in Baguio that makes you experience nature, art, food and culture all at once.
During my last visit in this so-called “garden in the sky”, I noticed a lot of changes that made this place more enticing to its guests. The entrance alone showcased a promising experience of beauty and adventure.
It was a gloomy day in May when I decided to go alone and re-experience Tam-Awan Village. I was looking for a place to enjoy my solitude and I knew that this is the best place for me to go.
I spent the first few minutes by enjoying a cup of coffee and a crêpe in their restaurant. I sat quietly at the corner and watched two groups of tourists talking about their wonderful stay in the city of Pines. You can see excitement painted all over their faces as they start on planning their activities for the rest of the day.
After finishing my coffee, I went and started my lone journey. ‘The path is still the same’, I told myself and smiled. I suddenly remembered my childhood friends who have been my constant companion throughout the years of visiting this place. I reached View Deck 1 and sat quietly at the bench. I heard laughter, giggling and unique stories of love and life.
It all started when I was still a college student at the University of the Cordilleras when Manang Bonsay (one of the people I met when I joined our school’s cultural dance group, Kalasag) introduced us to this place. I still remember her saying that this was her quiet place. She talked about the solace she feels every time she was there. Its beauty and uniqueness.
And so, one day, I was finally able to go and see this wonderful place along with my good friends Norie, Brenda and Andrea (if I remember it correctly. 🙂 ). Manang Bonsay was right. Tam-awan Village is indeed beautiful. It gives you the feeling of being one with nature and art. Since then Tam-Awan Village has been one of my favorite places in the WORLD. It is still the number 1 “must go” place in my list whenever I’m in Baguio.
I suddenly heard a familiar voice singing a very familiar song. I smiled. Of course it’s Norie. She’s sitting in the wooden table singing her current favorite kan-kanaey song “Kaman nina”. She has always been the one who is introducing me to these kind of songs. She loves music, singing and culture all at once. Then I heard Desiree and Brenda and their latest drunken escapades and stories of love and life. Meanwhile, Sarah and Jenny chose to just listen and laugh after Norie cracks her jokes. They are the most quiet among our group but would often offer the wisest words whenever you need someone to talk to. Of course there’s Andrea. The only one with a mother’s instinct among all of us (haha!). She is usually the peacemaker every time an argument starts. Oh, she loves to sing too, we would always force her to go and sing at the stage with Isko (our favorite local singer back in high school) at Baguio.
After flooding my mind with all of these memories I suddenly felt so alone. I missed my friends. I missed every single moment we’ve shared before. I missed their quietness and loudness. I missed sharing my stories, laughter, joy, sadness, pain and heartaches with them. If I could only freeze that moment when we were all still together in this place where we created memories, I would.
But life has been different. Circumstances has separated us, but the friendship and the sisterhood stayed.
I got up and continued my tour. It was as if I lost my excitement of rediscovering this place after remembering my friends. “It would be more fun if they’re here”, I told my self.
So I found myself in the hut at the right side of the restaurant. I sat their alone and continued to remember the good times. And then I was distracted by these two men. The other one smiled and asked me if I want them to take a picture of me. I said yes right away after realizing that I haven’t taken a picture of my self or a selfie to add on my photo album.
It started to drizzle so I decided to stay for a while and talk with these two men. They’re from Kalinga Province, they said and are here in Baguio to meet the famous artist BenCab. Apparently, they came to Baguio to deliver a hut to his museum and decided to visit Tam-Awan. We talked, laughed and shared life stories for a few more minutes. (They were so nice they became my photographers of the day. LOL!). They finally said they have to go since they have to catch their bus home. I thanked them and waved goodbye.
I sat there alone ,but not feeling lonely anymore. I was amazed on how this place introduced me to these two wonderful people who cheered me up at this time of pure loneliness. It made me appreciate and love Tam-awan Village more. It is indeed my place of beautiful memories together with my friends.
On my way home, a smile was painted on my lips. I knew it. Tam-awan always puts me in a place of pure happiness. For me, it is not only a place to go. It’s not just another tourist spot. It’s more than that. It’s my place of solace. It’s a place where beautiful memories of life, love and friendship have started.
And I will always come back. To create more stories worth keeping.
❤ ❤ ❤
Arlene Kischaen Aboli