On a short notice, my little sis and I took a bus to Pampanga to visit our oldest sis for a weekend getaway trip. She now lives a couple of hours away from the city, which can be too convenient should our weekend trip whims arise.
I packed some clothes into my usual red travel Queen of King Tomato bag the night before and we were off by late morning the next day.
When we got to the terminal, I have to drag around my sister to change buses due to air-con problems. At the moment, I am in a delicate condition hence, temperature changes affect me so much. The first bus was so stuffy I feel like oxygen left my brain and I couldn’t stand a two-hour ride of that. We finally settled on the third bus, which by the time we arrive there, will make us a wee bit late for lunch.
We got to the terminal just after noon and waited for Tiny (a cream Hyundai I10) to pick us up driven by my sister’s fiance. It’s my little sister’s first visit to their place, my second. Ate is still cooking something delicious when we arrived and we can’t wait to eat. I clued Tata (my li’l sis) that the menu here seemed akin to restaurants; only pasta, sandwich and lean meats for the couple’s diet.
By late afternoon, we drove to Clark, which used to be an air base of Americans but is now developed as a business and residential zone. As soon as we entered the gates, I was amazed of the wide roads and the rolling plains as far as the eye can see. It’s a huge chunk of land, seriously. Driving down the highway felt like we were transported to a freeway in LA. It sort of felt like that. It definitely doesn’t look like we’re still in the country. We stopped at a picnic ground full of old huge trees and a few grazing horses.
It was a bit windy, like a prelude to a rainstorm. Dried leaves fell like rain showers to the ground and I cringed while walking trying to avoid them to no avail, considering I’m allergic to pollen and all. We rented bikes to hit the bike trail, but then they all looked at me and I just smiled sheepishly. Ate suggested I ride on the one with a sidecar and Abbie will drive. I accepted gratefully, laughing while I took their bags and placed them beside me as I took a seat. With all the wind and dried leaves flying around, me on a bike while sweating isn’t a welcoming idea, lest my allergies start attacking.
The bike ride was exhilarating. It reminded me of our country home during our childhood. The smell of damp grass and chirps of birds on a late afternoon brought a wave of nostalgia. Even the sight of carabaos lounging under the tree made me squeal. Tata kept going off the trail and biking around in circles. We were all lacking in exercise, so the backs and butts started aching. Since I’m the one sitting pretty on a sidecar, I took most of the photos and snapped unflattering angles of them. Really, I suck at photography; but it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it.
Ah, it really feels good to be away from the city for a day and smell the pure countryside air. We made a couple of rounds on the bike trail. By the picnic grounds, under the trees, stone benches and tables are scattered. Families chattering and kids screaming filled the afternoon air. I got amused by a couple who spread out a folding bed beside the trail and just cuddled without a care in the world. On the parking lot, folding plastic tables were pulled out of the car trunks to be dragged under a tree.
We stayed till dusk, rode out into the twilight and headed straight to the super mart for some weekend grocery.