Despite the threat of Typhoon Ester, one thing led to another, and we found ourselves on the road last Saturday, hurtling towards Pampanga, the land of my mother’s people. Although my mom is pure Kapampangan, we never really went to Pampanga because all the relatives we know were all in Manila. So I didn’t really know how to get around the province, much less speak the dialect. I think I know a couple though: mapali ing nasi, e cu balu, caragul ng buldit, asapu queng bola la lalam ng tete, taksiapo, among others. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we ended up in Holiday Inn, in a quite unexpected weekend away from the city, an impromptu getaway, that we welcomed nevertheless.
Before going to Holiday Inn (we’re at the hotel, motel, Holiday Inn…) we decided to finally eat lunch at C’ Italian Restaurant, where you’d find the original panizza or rolled pizza popularized by Yellow Cab. We had salad and Jando panizza (with Italian sausages, olives, and other yummy morsels):
Then we finally arrived at the hotel to check in, and we were surprised that the room was pretty spiffy. It had two chambers, one had the living room area with a sofa and a flat screen TV:
And another room had the bedroom stuff, a work desk and another flat-screen TV! And can I just say, the sheets were wicked!!! I could so get used to a king-sized bed like that, enveloped by billows of soft, insanely-high thread count bed sheets, and goose down pillows. You didn’t lie down in it, you SANK in it. I had to be physically dragged out of that wonderful bed:
One of my unwritten rules regarding vacation is “no laptop”. But since it wasn’t really a vacation, I decided to bring my laptop for the very first time. So it was such a big production number for me, even willing to pay the 500 pesos for 24 hours internet because I saw myself blogging, tweeting, Facebooking all weekend long. And what do I discover amid all that childlike wonderment and excitement? I left my charger at the RX booth. I wanted to cry. I was even willing to buy a new charger just to be able to go online. But apparently there’s no Apple store in Clark. In frustration, I just set up my useless laptop on my exquisite work desk, as a reminder of how incompetent a packer I am. Madder packer!
We took a nap first on that glorious bed (I miss it already, waaah!) and woke up in time for a visit to the Duty Free store. I almost lost my mind! There was so much to buy. I don’t remember going this crazy in the Subic counterparts. But this one had so much stuff I wanted. But we kept the buying to a minimum, ending up with just chips, body wash, roach traps, and grout cleaner. Then we decided to drive around until we see a nice restaurant. It was pouring, so we had a hard time navigating around Angeles. We ended up in a small street that pretty much looked like a red light district. It looked so much like Soi Cowboy, the place we went to in Bangkok. And yes, the girls were aplenty. They were not on the streets, on account of the torrential rains, but they were still there, by the entrances to their clubs, wiggling their fingers at potential clients, shooting them come-hither looks. I have to admit, it was quite scary.
Frustrated at not finding a restaurant, we ended up back at the hotel for dinner. We just went to their restaurant Mequeni, and had dinner there. We ordered lumpiang veggies and beef caldereta:
After dinner we decided to just continue the binge and munched on chips and dip as we watched the sucky Keanu Reeves movie, “The Day The Earth Stood Still”. Keanu’s wooden acting was well matched for his role as an alien from outer space. Then we watched a much better show on the Discovery channel where Les Stroud counted down the most dangerous waters in the world in terms of shark attacks (Florida waters was number 1). By the time the show was over, I was already half-asleep. I don’t even remember how I fell asleep.
The next morning, this was how our window looked like:
Typhoon Ester was pouring full blast. We got up, and went down for my most awaited meal during any vacation – the breakfast buffet!!! No typhoon is going to rain on my parade…or my bacon for that matter. Here’s a picture of my cholesterol-laced power breakfast:
I blame the pouring rain for my appetite! It was just so nice to eat all that oily food when the weather is cold and freezing water is falling from the icy heavens. I needed to insulate my body with layers of blubber to protect me from the impending cold.
Anyway, to make things worse, we took another nap after that heavy meal, and slept until they rang us to get our sorry asses out of there. We paid our bills, checked out, and headed back to Manila early because I had to host a wedding with Delle later that afternoon. On our way back, it was really scary! The rain was really falling hard. And I guess because of the rain, the roads and highways were practically deserted. It was creepy in a “The Day The Earth Stood Still” kinda way. It was a much needed respite, despite the foul weather, and we really enjoyed our Pampanga surprise holiday weekend. Let me wrap up this post with some photos of the wet deserted roads on our way home (taken, of course, from inside the car, in between wiper swipes):
We swore never to let the wet season stop us from enjoying a well-earned road trip!