Monday, March 21, 2011

Awesome Week Part 3: Pangasinan Road Trip

I got home from the Urbandub gig around 2:00AM or 3:00AM. I flipped open my laptop to do some work to make-up from going to the gig. I also did it to keep me awake until I had to leave around 4:30AM.

I finished the work I had to do before hitting the weekend. Tried my absolute best to stay up despite being thoroughly hosed with beer just a few hours before. I started quickly packing some stuff because the road trip was an overnight trip. I had no idea what to pack in my drunken stupor. I thought as long as I have a change of clothes, everything will work out just fine.

My suki cab driver apparently stayed parked in front of my building after dropping me off at home from the Urbandub gig. That was nice of him actually. So I went down with my bag, armed with my acoustic guitar and darbuka drum. I brought instruments just in case any jam would break out at where we were going to stay at. If not, I can always just zone out in some corner there alone while playing guitar or darbuka.

I thought the meeting place was at Starbucks Shangrila-EDSA, and that's what I told my suki cab driver to head towards. Good thing Briggs texted back saying it was the Starbucks at EDSA-Central, which is a little farther. I was able to tell the cab driver in time to change destinations.

I got to Starbucks and it was still dark out. I was obviously in the middle of call center-ville because the morning shifts seems to be trickling in. I hadn't eaten anything since the day before, so I got an ensaymada from Starbucks. Also gave me an excuse to stay at one of their tables while waiting. None of my road trip mates were there yet. So I waited a good 30-40 minutes for Briggs. Once Briggs arrived, we soon met up with Ekon, one of Briggs' officemates. It was only Jon (common friend of ours) remaining before we can head out. At this time, I was still totally trashed from the Urbandub gig. Which I found really amusing since I'm obviously trying to cram as much activity this weekend to avoid getting depressed.

Jon took quite a while to get to the meeting place. The three of us already went and ate breakfast and Jon still didn't arrive. Eventually Jon reached us. Apparently, he was trashed as well the night before and woke up real late while dragging his hungover-self over to the meeting place. The sun rose already by the time Jon arrived. We then decided to finally head out.

Ekon drove for the entire trip there and back. It's his cousin, Joey, that owns the private property we were going to invade for the weekend. The trip going there was filled with facepalms and laughs. I won't bother describing here what we were laughing about because it'll just come off like inside jokes. It was a lot of fun to be around people who were comfortable with you, and treated you like a human being. This was definitely going to be a fun weekend.

Even though I was trashed the night before, I surprisingly didn't pass out at all for the ride on the way to Pangasinan. For someone I just met, Ekon was surprisingly very engaging to talk to. Briggs and Jon eventually passed out. So I just stayed up to keep Ekon company for the drive. It was nice to just shoot the breeze with Ekon while staring out the window. You definitely know you're no longer in the city when you see never-ending rice and corn fields. And farmers drying rice or corn kernels on the side of the road. Grazing cows became a common sight. As well as really weird tractor/lawnmower type contraptions that were more common vehicles than even tricycles. The name of those things slipped my mind for some reason.

Once we arrived at Joey's private property. I was surprised to see such a place in the middle of nowhere. After brief introductions, Joey welcomed us immediately by handing us bottles of San Mig Light. It was around 11:00AM, and I obviously haven't slept for over 24 hours by then. But I grabbed a beer and lightly drank to kick this trip off on a good note.

There was just so many things to look at in that place. I counted at least 8 or 9 spots around the property that were obviously inuman places. You can tell because there would always be a bottle opener bolted to a tree or against a bench to designate it as a drinking spot. Joey has a lake right smack-dab in the middle of his property. He even built a pier and a small barge that you can pull back and forth across the lake. Even the barge was a drinking spot because it too had an affixed bottle opener and ashtray.

After hanging out at one of the inuman spots for a while, Joey indicated to us that lunch was ready. Apparently this guy really enjoys playing host to those who visit his property. That sure is a fun way to retire. The food was great. It was home cooking to the max, which I severely lacked in my daily routine. From that lunch alone, I already knew I was going to gain at least 6 or more pounds just this weekend. LOL!

Briggs wanted to take a nap given that she was working until morning earlier today. Joey showed the rest of us around with emphasis on his bar downstairs. Apparently it was set-up for viewing concert DVDs and videoke. More on that later.

Part of the tour was heading over to the "Lighthouse". It's not really a lighthouse but that's what Joey amusingly named it as. We took the barge across the small lake, and got off on the other side where the "Lighthouse" is. It's a whole room/hang-out area on its own, and provides a different view of the property from that vantage point.

This was the time Joey showed-off this nifty little contraption. There were cables connecting the Lighthouse to the main house. Apparently, there's a metal container that you can move on the cables between the two houses via circular crank. All Joey had to do was pick up the intercom and instructed his kitchen to put beer in the metal container. We heard a bell from the main house and Joey started cranking. It was cool to watch the metal container travel across the lake to us. Once the container arrived, we started drinking, again. Joey said that you can just ask for anything over the intercom and crank the metal box here. Hmmm. I'm sure food and drinks would work. But I highly doubt you can ask for a girlfriend and expect a girl to be stuffed in that metal container. :p

The breeze was fantastic from where we sat. The patio was elevated yet over the water. And all you can hear was leaves rustling and birds chirping. The conversation back and forth was light as well. Everybody present was accomplished to a certain extent, and was confident about their own intelligence. Basically, it was fun to talk to intellectual equals for a change. People who are honest and stay true to their word.

Joey knows his property inside and out. He even knew that it would get a little hot as the afternoon progressed during this time of the year. So he recommended that by late afternoon, we should head back to the main house and continue the laid back festivities over there. So we got back on the barge and went back to the main house.

Joey set up a table and some chairs just right in front of the main house. His version of merienda for me is likened to pulutan. He kept bringing more and more Tokwa't Baboy, that was absolutely bad for you but incredibly delicious at the same time. After some time, Jon was feeling the fatigue himself and asked if he can take a nap too. We were trying to bug Briggs to get up and join us. But the girl just won't budge.

I was surprisingly still up and about. I did feel tired. But I think I lasted so long awake because the weight of stress on my shoulders was lifted for the duration of the trip. Without that weight to carry around, I was able to just hang out and keep drinking for the entire day.

Joey had a lot of dogs around, which he spoils a lot. I only liked the three new puppies that he had. One of them in particular was white and brown, and was exceptionally playful even to strangers. The puppies were so giddy, that I had a hard time taking their picture without them just coming out like a blur.

The sun set eventually, and we heard the bell ring from upstairs, as a signal that dinner is ready. Jon asked us to wake him up when dinner is ready. So that's what we did. Feasting is a pass-time in that place and dinner was definitely no exception. I got so stuffed, again. I was abhorring the eventual weight gain. But thoroughly enjoyed decimating the food presented to us.

We took our time just hanging out upstairs, post-dinner. I had a few cigarettes before heading back down to the table in front of the house. Eventually Briggs woke up and came out to join us. She missed dinner. So Joey fed her more of the same "merienda" from earlier today. So much for her watching her uric acid levels.

We then proceeded inside the main house, to Joey's "bar" area. The place looked different from earlier in the day, because now all the little ornamets, etc. that Joey's been collecting over the years were now all lit up. I'm not much of a videoke fan. But I can join a videoke session if that's what people are into. The entire videoke sessions was just one great ball of cheesiness/"ay sheeeeet I love that song". It's gotta be the longest string of old school senti-songs I've ever had to endure in one sitting. But it was good fun because we would be laughing half the time at how cheesy each song selection was.

During the early morning hours, people started conking out one by one. So Joey offered to take myself and Jon back to the Lighthouse so we can hit the sack as well. Riding the barge at night is pretty surreal. When we got to the Lighthouse, Jon passed out pretty quickly. Joey told us that he'd come back for us in the morning, right before breakfast at 9:30AM. With Joey leaving, and Jon passed out, I didn't want to end the night quite yet.

I stayed out in the patio over the water for a while, just staring at different things while listening to my iPod. I was still high from the Urbandub gig. So I was listening to the bootleg recording of that gig for a while. I was up for close to 2 days by that time. Oh how things are much lighter when stress is lifted from your shoulders. I eventually got tired enough that I turned in and hit the sack as well. I knew breakfast was at 9:30AM. So I set my phone to alarm for 9:00AM.

My phone's alarm went off which woke me up, but not Jon. I threw some water on my face and just hung out at the patio again while waiting for Joey to come get us. From cricket sounds the previous night, back to chirping birds again that morning. The pleasant-ness of the sounds of that place continued to be very relaxing.

Joey eventually came over to come get myself and Jon around 10:00AM. I had to wake Jon up when Joey arrived. We feasted once again for breakfast, which technically was brunch by then.

After a while, we found ourselves hanging out at another one of the many drinking spots in the property. I brought my guitar and darbuka over. And it look liked Briggs wanted to play a little guitar. I jammed with her on my darbuka for a bit. Joey made sure the beer kept flowing. Briggs handed me the guitar and I played a few tunes. One of which was "Big Empty" by Stone Temple Pilots. Obviously, I was still stuck on STP from the concert earlier in the week.

We headed back to the main house and just hung out there to wind down the weekend trip. We slowly took turns taking showers and packing up our things in true fashion of the overall pace that things go in that place.

The drive home was pleasant as well. Although, seeing the scenery slowly change into the city saddened me. As I got home, I was relaxed. My only disappointment was that weekend couldn't last longer.

From the Stone Temple Pilots concert, to the Urbandub gig, to the awesome road trip to Pangasinan. It was a fantastic week. I wish I can keep that up for the next weeks to come. I seriously need it.  I tried this past week with watching Up Dharma Down last Friday.  But that will be another blog post entirely.


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