The number 46 isn't something you'd call special in your personal book of life. But it seems it is for Precious Leaño.
Her invitation came in via SMS midweek last week announcing a swimming party at Lakeview Resort in Laguna. Los Baños is now home to her family. I've spent two consecutive Easters with Alex Baluyut, Precious, whom he still calls his girlfriend, and their two sons, Rickee and Dylan, and I've always come away fully restored, not just from the booze, but from their company.
Not having had a chance to enjoy a swimming getaway to highlight this summer of 2012, I didn't hesitate to punch in my confirmation on my cellphone. By 8 a.m. on the first of July, I was in Los Baños before Dylan could waken and change from his pjs.
Alex says my attitude and sense of adventure is what he's missing among some of our friends: the determination to be on time to party. He remembers that in his younger age (we're both in our 50s), he used to panic if he couldn't arrive on time for a party. So he warmly greeted me with a hug and kiss and welcomed me to their home with the greeting: "Here's the happy camper!"
While waiting for the back of a rickety FX to be loaded with picnic fare (Precious's adobo, Alex's pastel, roasted peanuts with slightly burnt garlic, among many), I had time to wander around their immediate neighborhood inside the University of the Philippines campus and take shots of what I can only call good morning glories. These quiet beauties expressed their greeting as colorfully as the man of the house. Next time, I'll bring a portable book on Philippine flowers.
Even up above, the sky was smiling and decided to maintain a fair mood all day.
It was a day made for singing, eating in between the swimming breaks, drinking and shaking off the buzz by soaking in the hot springs, non-stop or long-playing singing for the non-swimmers (versions of Joey Ayala's "Haring Ibon," Precious going solo in "Babae Ka," some rock classics like the uncut "Like a Rolling Stone" and a heartfelt "Ruby Tuesday") and agreeing with one new acquaintance that yes, this is what we work hard for--to enjoy Sundays like this one. Agree to the max!
|Grilled tilapia with skewered tomatoes and onions|
|A feast is incomplete without the lechon and its pebre (Tagalog term for lechon sauce).|
|Tuning guitars before the Great 46th Birthday Sing-along|
|Alex heats up the charcoal grill.|
|Last guy out of the pool: Dylan, named after the American trobadour|
|Birthday lady is taken by surprise by a bouquet of ginger flowers (are they that?) from a retired lady to whom Precious lent a sympathetic ear. Photos by Babeth Lolarga|