I recently came across my old files in my laptop. One folder contained poems, random verses and paragraphs, and other forms of ranting that I wrote way back in college.
Two of the poems had words that were arranged to make the shape of coffee cups. One poem resulted in a perfect-looking cup, the other looked like a misshapen mug without a handle.
Admittedly I don’t remember when I wrote that mug poem, but I do know this was the same piece I read in that poetry reading event at Cafe By the Ruins.
Before I met my college friends, I would visit the Session Road branch and scribble a few lines while listening to music and sipping coffee or beer. When it moved to Legarda Road (the new place was quieter and even had a mini-library), I still made it a point to hang out there.
Then there was Luisa’s Café, another place I visit to have brewed coffee, a meal or two, and most of the time, a drink or more with the local journalists. Luisa’s Café is a favorite hang-out place of the Baguio media. But I think I’ll reserve my notes on this place for another article.
Coffee is an important product in the Cordillera Region. The region itself is a potential gold mine. Mountain Province, Benguet, Ifugao, Abra and Kalinga are known as the top producers of Arabica, Robusta, Excelsea, and even the expensive Kape Motit.
Baguio people definitely love their coffee. Every morning they would boil their Benguet Blend beans, pour the coffee into pots or dispensers, share or sell them to the public, and then gulp the liquid by the cupfuls. By now you should realize how cold Baguio’s temperature can get, especially at night, right?
The best way to enjoy coffee was to drink it black, though milk and sugar are welcome additions to the brew. Every meal goes well with coffee.
Drinking coffee is also a social activity. People find time to have coffee at any time of the day, and coffee shops are sometimes filled with patrons just hanging out to enjoy their warm drinks. People from all walks of life tend to meet and exchange ideas, thoughts, and information over coffee.
My love for writing grew up as I learned to appreciate Baguio’s coffee culture. The city’s atmosphere, along with the flavor and warmth of Cordillera’s coffee, nourishes my imagination, whether romantic, angst-ridden, or philosophical.
Baguio brings a refreshing, relaxing mood that invites the feeling of melancholy and nostalgia. It’s being so close to nature, the blue sky, the cool breeze and the trees and mountains that inspires the poet at heart.
(EDIT: Just a few months ago, I learned that Ionic Cafe has closed down, and its former area is now a dining area for Solibao Restaurant. Liters of tears fell that day.)
Coffee didn’t always involve poetry when I was in Baguio. After college, I spend my days reading news reports, writing my articles for the week, talking with people, or just relaxing after a long day at the provincial beat. All these I do with a cup of coffee ready at hand.
Yeah, after years of delving into poetry, I didn’t become a poet, but I became a reporter.
Up next… The gastronomic adventures of a cub reporter in Baguio.
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