Maundy Thursday started off quite differently than expected. After the previous night of revelry, binge drinking and playing mind games, a phone call in the early morn was came as somewhat of surprise.
Shaking off the hangover, the voice behind the call was somewhat familiar, it was only seconds after that I realized that it was my dear brother, asking if he and his significant other could join the previously but hastily planned trip down south in the valleys of Tagaytay.
After asking my companions for permission, one that they immediately considered unnecessary, I got up and prepared for this long-awaited sojourn. Granted that having a drinking session last night was a probably a bad idea, but I was hell bent on going on this trip, by hook or by crook.
It was in my residence that we first gathered, my brother and his SO, and my long time douche bag that I otherwise call as a friend. Calling a cab to our house (surprising they're still active at this point in time), we headed to the next rendezvous point. An old friend of the days of our youth came in her brand new black Honda City. Suffice to say this trip was indeed down memory lane, literally. Considering that history between all five of us would span nearly a decade. God, I felt old.
Traffic was expected. Being stuck with four other people in a sedan may not be appealing on a comfort level, but the exchange of tales made the long crawl of the Godsforsaken South Luzon Expressway bearable. Shock and genuine interest hung in the air, finding out people you knew back in the formative years proved to be quite disconcerting. A sign that perhaps age has finally caught up with us and the calls of maturity would soon engulf our seemingly carefree lives. This and that were either married, getting married, had a kid out of wedlock, already up to their nth child or just left the country never to go back. Bah, it was silently agreed that our little collective would delay such things as long as we could.
The first stop was uneventful, a short break to partake of sweet, sweet nicotine and menthol, all the while discussing plans for the midday meal. While the agreement was that we were to dine in a restaurant not found in the Metro, we ended up in a pseudo-Italian restaurant.
In consolation perhaps, the view of Lake Taal made this lunch experience different from the usual. Brother dearest pointed out the crater of the small and dormant volcano submerged some hundred feet below the lake. Lake Taal seemed, at that time, a picture perfect example that even some of Mother Nature's most destructive tools can be beautiful, given the right form, in this case, dormant volcano that isn't spewing molten magma and covering the clear skies with its foreboding ash. A wee bit poetic perhaps and unfortunately, there might be more of that later on.
The meal was enticing, pizza ala Fruti de Mare, buffalo wings reminiscent of those found in Don Henrico's, Beef and Mushroom Calzone, and Putanesca that was a bit bland, save for the flavor given of by the capers and olives. I asked for a watermelon shake, only to complain that our friend got hers in a waaaay better glass. (I swear, the waiter either has the hots for her or that guy has something against mestizos, racist bastard). The topic was our juvenile exploits of yore. Granted, we've done this storytelling so much that the "Oh my god!" shouts gets old, but not this time.
The next stop was suppose to be Bag Of Beans, a quaint little coffee shop with a view of the lake. Instead, we ended in the cliff house, a little spot with a garden, posh restos and kids. Lot's of kids. We spotted a nice young lady and started debating whether said lady was one of the mother of those diminutive weapons of mass destruction. While the view was breathtaking - lush green valleys smothered in the cloud's shadows and all that - we couldn't help but feel that we were both too young and too old for the place. Families gathered lugging their little tykes of terror all over the place, elderly people sat in their tables, sipping coffee with wistful eyes looking at the horizon, perhaps reminiscing of the days, weeks, months and years that have gone. Our little quintet was content eating ice cream sitting on the bench while their world, these... vacationist, go on about their little businesses, whatever they may be.
It may sound strange, but sitting here with this group provided insight beyond your usual Sunday Mass sermon. Trusted friends have a way of providing the answers to questions that plague the mind, formulation of grand schemes comes easily and before you know it, the blue horizon turns gray, then black, while the bitter chill of the night finally strikes us motionless, forced yet again to marvel at the lake. Meh, poetry was never my strong suit and my prose is getting quite dull.
The trip home was far from melancholy. As the day ended, our club, this collective of young, spirited and relationship challenged group (save for my brother and his SO) would be the beginning of something good. Despite the day's premature end, this was but a mere taste of what was to come.