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A Wine Shop With a View March 8, 2008

Posted by Alex Sawit in Stuff in General.

By Alex Sawit

9 March 2008


Cyrano friends tell us that our wine shop has a nice spot with a nice view. Nestled at the right side corner of our street, we’re just a stroll away from the commercial centers down the road yet distant enough to enjoy our own lackadaisical breathing space. We’re elevated slightly above street level, where we get a cozy panorama of daily and nightly life.

But the shop has another view that stares me in the face every day that I’m here. Those of you who regularly venture behind the shop counter know what it looks like – it’s vividly displayed as the screen wallpaper on our shop’s laptop computer.




It’s the view of a serenely wooded area in Baguio, seen from atop a ridge lined with mountain pine and punctuated with soft white clouds floating in the bright blue sky. The photo was taken by our friend Tweet Aldana inside Camp John Hay, directly in front of the Igorot Lodge. That was a beautiful October day. When I look at it, sometimes I can still hear the sound of the cool breeze rustling softly in the pine branches above.

How ironic that something so calming could become the subject of a friendly but irritating argument here at Cyrano the other week. It was one of those incidents typically stirred up by our silver-haired German pal Manfred Luig. Those of you who’ve met him know that he’s a reasonably decent fellow with good intentions. He does, however, have an overbearing Teutonic streak that manifests itself from time to time, especially after a few glasses of vino.

It went something like this:

“Alex,” inquired Herr Luig, gazing intently from across the counter at the calming screen image. “Where is that place?”

“That’s in Camp John Hay. The picture was taken by my friend while our group was standing at the edge of the hill in front of the Igorot Lodge.”

“Is that the clubhouse?”

“It’s on top of a ridge beside the golf course,” I said. I eagerly indicated landmarks in relation to the picture. “There’s the road and the golf course… the Manor should be somewhere in the distance to right but it’s outside the picture… Mile Long with the shops and restaurants should be down the road to the right but it’s also outside the picture… from where the picture was taken, if you walk to the left about a hundred feet or so, you’ll arrive at Starbucks…”

“Starbucks? Alex, come on. I was already starting to believe you,” he said with a dismissive tone that is his trademark and an owlish look on his face. “I know where Starbucks is and the place doesn’t look anything like that.”

“Yes, there’s a Starbucks here,” I repeated, allowing the comment to slide by so that I could complete what I was trying to say. “It’s farther along the road to the left of the picture. This was taken at the Igorot Lodge in Camp John…”

“Alex, it’s okay already,” he interrupted again, grinning with amusement. “You can stop making up a story. It was a nice joke.”

“I’m not kidding. You just walk to your left and there’s Starbucks…”

“Listen to this fellow,” he chuckled to our other German friend at the counter, “He still wants to insist that he can show us where Starbucks is.”

I paused and stared silently at Manfred. When I finally spoke, I did so in a deliberate manner.

“Manfred, there is more than one Starbucks in Baguio.”

I don’t remember how but the conversation was quickly diverted to another topic with help from our other German friend. I brushed it aside since I understand that Herr Luig’s condescending ways and stubborn attitude are not necessarily due to a desire to offend. “A friend is a friend, regardless,” is what I always say.

But I got to thinking some more about the picture in question after I booted up the laptop the following day and sat down behind the counter.

I looked at the “view” in front of me. I then realized that I’ve had the same wallpaper on the computer’s desktop for nearly two and a half years now. I must have changed it thrice in all this time, none of the changes lasting more than a day or two before the mountaintop view was restored.




Why can’t I seem to get around to replacing it?

Hmm… well, for starters, I think it’s a good location. I remember thinking, “Hey, this would be a great place for another Cyrano!” Even though I haven’t been back to Baguio since that trip, I like the idea of setting up a branch of our shop over there, possibly in one of the cottages next to Starbucks (which should be where I last saw it at Cottage No. 661) or even in that elegant but disused extension of the Igorot Lodge (at least I think it was disused at the time).

That’s not the real reason, of course. The truth is I connect with this place. I connect with it a lot. Often when I look at it I think about a line I remember from that movie The Lake House, which says: “Go someplace where you feel most like yourself.” That’s what this view is to me. It’s a place I can always count on. It’s home.

Yeah, I’ll be keeping this wallpaper on the desktop as indefinitely as need be.

By the way, if any of you want to check it out on the laptop here at the shop, by all means feel free to come over behind the counter and view it as you please. Hey, no problem – you’re a Cyrano friend.

It’s nice to have a “someplace” where you can just feel at home and be yourself, isn’t it?





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