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Our Baguio Exploits (Day 2)

The house at noontime.

February 6 – Day 2

I woke up around noon and the house was pretty quiet. Turns out we’re now divided into two groups. We’re one Camerawalls’ member short with me, Ian, Pao, Sarah and Cheska being left behind to snooze some more. Law join the group of The Bernadettes and our roadies Antonette and Odette with their own spree of shopping for souvenirs and food tripping. Before I continue, let me share an account of what the other group did thru a written contribution by our host Antonette:

When Clem asked me what we did on our 2nd day in Baguio, I laughed. I remembered how crazy and fun that day was. It was around 10am when I was awakened by the noises made by the Angeles brothers just outside the bedroom I was sleeping in. I was rooming with Daphne and Clem — Daph ready to go, while Clem was still all curled up in his bed. The weather was really nice and I wanted to sleep in more but I realized it was our 2nd and last day in Baguio. I want to make the most of the trip since I only get to go to Baguio once a year.

It was almost 12NN and we were all hungry. The Bernadettes, Law, Daph and I decided to go together. Clem, Ian, Cheska, Paolo and Sarah stayed in the house and left late in the afternoon. Instead of playing it safe and going to SM for lunch, we all voted we head to Burnham Park and eat in one of those carinderias were the locals go. We almost ordered everything that was offered to us. All dishes that were served to us were cleared in less than an hour – we were THAT hungry.

Not wanting to waste any time, we headed to the market right after lunch, where we bought the “usual” Baguio pasalubongs – walis tambo, broccolis, strawberries, Sagada oranges, chorizos. The highlight of the trip in the market was when I said we need to buy coffee. But isn’t Batangas the coffee producing city of the Philippines? I thought so too, but years ago, a coffee produced from Benguet was introduced to me by my dad. I am pretty good with directions, but that time, I didn’t want to waste any time, I decided to ask for directions on how to get to the part of the market where they sold coffee. After asking one of the vendors, I was told, “Pag-akyat niyo, madali na lang hanapin. Amoy kape kasi.” True enough, we just followed the smell of the coffee! I was supposed to get the Sagada roast but I was told it was too strong that’s why I opted for the Benguet Robusta and Arabica for my dad while the Angeles’ bought Sagada roast.

We then headed to Camp John Hay, specifically in Mile-Hi Camp where the shop called Everything Nice was located. I went in the store and only found chocolate chip cookies in the rack. A bit disappointed, but hopeful, I came up to the lady in the counter and asked if there’s any chance they’ll have new batches of chocolate crinkles to be delivered before 7PM. There is no way I am coming home to Manila without those crinkles I promised my brothers.

The nice lady made a quick call to their main office and said informed me that I can come back at around 4PM for the crinkles. But we didn’t leave the shop empty handed. Paolo bought cinnamon rolls and ensaymadas while Odette bought brownies, which by the way, was all eaten before we reached our next destination – Baguio Country Club.

No, we aren’t members of the country club. Odette just wants her raisin bread BADLY. On our way to the country club, being the sneaky tandem that we are, Odette and I had our battle plan. The security was strict. We were stopped in the entrance because we didn’t have a sticker to prove that we’re club members. I stuck out my head in window and told the guard that I need to inquire something that was wedding related. We waited for 5 minutes before we were let in. We were instructed to look for a certain person that we could talk to. Of course, we had to show ourselves to the events manager – he was expecting us. It’s a good thing that I really needed to talk to him about some wedding-related businesses. And after the 5 minute-meeting, Odette and I headed in the bakeshop. She bought the 2 remaining raisin breads. Mission accomplished!

We finished off our shopping and food tripping by heading to Mines View and Good Shepherd, we also had to go back to Everything Nice to pick up my chocolate crinkles.

It was getting a little cold and we all decided to head back to Gibraltar to pack, relax and wait for Clem and the rest. We also had strawberry wine and chorizo by the fireplace. Before leaving the house, we had our usual “class picture” (minus Andre who left right away, after the gig) in the living room and outside the house by the staircase. – Antonette

A nice recap. While they we’re busy doing all that our group took our time and had a more laid-back, random itinerary. I started my day with a 30 minute jog back and forth Gibraltar St. passing by a lot of Koreans doing horseback riding at Wright Park. As I traverse along the pine road I keep passing by an area with a lone street vendor selling grilled corn on cobs. Couldn’t resist to urge to take some home so I ordered a few continuing my jog as I wait for it to be ready. Grilled, buttered and salted to taste.

Couldn't resist to take some home.

Sharing my corn cobs with coffee on the side. Our brunch at 2pm.

I received an invite by JB Bautista (President of University of Baguio) for his little daughter’s birthday celebration at Jollibee automatically determining our first stop for the day. Jada is so cute and adorable in her boots and blue dress. We enjoyed watching the kids during the program while chatting with some of the dads about the joys and pains of parenting.

Before we left Jenny (the celebrant’s mom) gave us some kiddie souvenirs (which i gave to my little niece when I got home) while JB, to my surprise, handed me a Morrissey tour shirt!

The Birthday Celebrant

Party Girls

Birthday Treats!

We went straight to Mines View Park to buy some “pasalubong” (treats) to bring home to our friends and relatives. I spotted a “Taho” Vendor selling strawberry flavored taho uncommon in Manila and Bulacan and couldn’t resist to indulge in this signature sweet. Taho is a Philippine snack food typically made of fresh soft tofu, arnibal (brown sugar and vanilla syrup) and pearl sago (similar to pearl tapioca). But the variety in Baguio uses strawberry syrup instead of arnibal.

After checking out a number of shops and scanning the area of the overlooking portion of the park for any changes and developments since our last visit (hardly any, except for added stalls), we headed back to the house. It was already dark.

Taho.

Souveniers at countless shops at Mines View Park

Getting dark so we pose for our last shot at Mines View.

The fireplace was blazing when we arrived and we gladly joined the rest for a few more drinks and chit-chat before we packed our stuff and get ready for the long drive home. As Antonette mentioned, any Lilystars gathering isn’t complete without taking our usual “class picture.”

Coffee and Crinkles by the fireplace.

The mandatory family pic before we say adios.

Our adventure doesn’t end there since we were invited by The Edralins to their gig at Gilligans. Our final stop before we leave the city intoxicated. We were probably the rowdiest group in the bar indulging to jamming requests and singing along to familiar tunes performed as we cheered the night away with unlimited booze courtesy of JB Bautista. T’was a great night. After the gig we all bid our goodbyes and left with a lasting grin on our faces that will eventually be drowned in sleep as we finally hit the road back home.

The Edralins

Jamming at Gilligans.

Poch & Paolo of The Bernadettes + Ian Sarabia as Oasis chorus boys.

Turbo Goth performing Bizarre Love Triangle.

Our Baguio Exploits (Day 1)

Things are pretty busy lately since the release of our new single “The Sight Of Love.” Also we just recently launched a music video to support it. You can view it Here.  And if you still don’t have a copy, you can download the song for free Here.

But this entry isn’t about that. I’m picking up the pieces where I last documented happenings involving The Camerawalls. As I rummage in our backlog of experiences I came across our pics from our wicked trip to Baguio with label mates Turbo Goth and The Bernadettes.

Day 1 – February 5

The night before we left Manila, Lilystars hosted a POP Shoppe! event that featured acoustic sets by Lilystars’ artists to go along with Outerhope – our special guest band for that night. It was laid back and a perfect send-off for a long trip to Baguio. After the event we hit the road at around 3am and found ourselves waking up to the sights of Baguio pines at around 7:30 am.

The famous haunted house along Leonard Wood Loop near Teacher's Camp.

We passed by a famous hunted house in the area which was already used many times in local films. I wanted to stop and stand against the gates to have a picture taken but no one in expressed any interest (out of fear i bet) so we moved along till we reached Antonette’s (our road manager) family rest house along Gibraltar St.

The house along Gibraltar St. where we all stayed over.

We rested for a few hours inside the house, some readily took long naps, and some (including myself) couldn’t take the building hunger as morning turns noon. Ian, Cheska, Sarah, Pao and I didn’t bother to wake up our driver and rode a jeepney towards the nearest Filipino restaurant to satisfy our craving for Beef Bone Marrow & Vegetable Soup locally know as Bulalo!

Bulalo (Beef Bone Marrow & Vegetable Soup) Sweet & Sour Fish & Pork and Grilled Stuffed Squid.

The food was great and not wanting the others to miss out I ordered some more for take out. When we got back, true enough, everyone was starving.

We have two gigs on that day. A late afternoon stint at SM City Baguio and a longer, more engaging set in the night at Chill Out Bar. The weather was just perfect in the high mountains. Not too hot and not too cold. The water on the other hand was close to being intolerable for baths.

We arrived at the mall around 4:30pm, did a bit of sound check and hang around a bit while waiting for our cue to begin the show.

Backstage enjoying the afternoon sun.

Law and Ian feeling the large stage.

Turbo Goth started the lazy afternoon followed by The Bernadettes. Small groups of crowd started building up from both ground and upper floor overlooking the stage. Notice how the sky in the pictures below turns from grayish white to black.

Turbo Goth kicking off the show.

Turbo Goth kicking of the afternoon show.

The Bernadettes

Doing our thing.

Finishing it high.

We played a few songs in the mall reserving energy for a long set at Chill Out Bar. A couple of music fans oblivious of The Camerawalls performing at SM chanced upon us while roaming around the mall not missing the chance to score our debut album. We had pizza after.

I always try to accustom myself with large venues for performing although we prefer intimate settings like small bars where the crowd is within reach and attended by real music fans, making us more excited for the event happening later in the night. Gary Martin, the owner of Chill Out, is celebrating the bar’s 7th anniversary and we’re expecting a lot of friends and music aficionados to come over. Joining us in the line up are friends from a Baguio based indie band — The Edralins. Enjoy the featured videos of The POP Shoppe! performances below:

The Edralins covering a song from The Stone Roses.

A yet to be release tune from Turbo Goth entitled Weather Report.

The Bernadettes with their song Let’s Make Babies.

Us covering a Cure classic. Just Like Heaven.

It was our first time to perform out of town with The POP Shoppe! and our second time as a band in Baguio. Last time we played in Chill Out was last year when we were still a trio, now almost the same crowd and much more witnessed us with our new guitar player.

Clinically Dead For 16 Hours

We immensely enjoyed the gig, met some new friends and felt like family with the way Gary and his friends treated us. Drinks and food were non-stop. The excitement and adrenaline wore off as soon as we went downstage after finishing the set with “Woman” by John Lennon as a final request coming from an engaged couple. All throughout the night I can’t help but notice a cute 3 year old little girl dancing around and seemingly trying to sing along to each song that was played. A kid enjoying the show – now that’s entertainment!

From L-R: Me posing with the bar owner Gary Martin, with the couple Jen Bautista (concert producer) and JB Bautista (the president of University of Baguio).

Of Mice & Men

After two and a half years I finally decided to sing an Orange & Lemons song via a tribute gig to remember what was once an exciting venture. The songs I have written for my former band still haunts me. And what better way to reminisce but invite musician friends to celebrate that journey.

Joining The Camerawalls on the 30th of January at Route 196 are label mates Turbo Goth, The Bernadettes, Your Imaginary Friends and The Gentle Isolation plus guest artist The Satellites as well as Ian Zafra who came all the way from Cebu to do a series of solo perfomances. The small watering hole was packed with roughly over 150 people that consists of music fans, families and friends. It was so much fun at The POP Shoppe! it was inevitable not to allow ourselves to be a little bit intoxicated. So we did.

The Satellites performed “Strike Whilst The Iron Is Hot” and “Rock-A-Bye.” A great start for the evening and kinda suited their indie rock sound. The Gentle Isolation did girl pop versions of  “Cycle Of Love” and “Days And Nights” while Ian Zafra did a stripped version of “Hey, Please” letting the crowd sing half if not the entire song. It was amazing how everyone knew the words to it.  “Heaven Knows (This Angel Has Flown)” and “Lihim” was the cover of choice of Your Imaginary Friends. Turbo Goth did a laid back version of Sarah Gaugler’s all time  favorite “Just Like A Splendid Love Song” with Paolo trying to impersonate my guitar playing at one point. The Bernadettes did a rocking version of  “I Feel Good, I Feel Fine.”  I immensely enjoyed all of it. Hearing my songs covered by my favorite bands is quite an experience. Too bad we missed the set of Patience Dear Juggernaut. He was too ill to perform.

We were the last band to play and by the time we were onstage I was already feeling a little tipsy from the scores of vodka shots I was helping myself from Jeff Saw’s table. (Jeff is The POP Shoppe’s official photographer). It was almost 2 in the morning. As I fix my guitar strap I looked around and there were still a lot of people inside the bar waiting for us to perform. Most of them standing. After a couple of songs from Pocket Guide To The Other World, we did a familiar tune from 2003. The first track from Love In The Land Of Rubber Shoes & Dirty Ice Cream called “A Beginning Of Something Wonderful” written during my college days in the late 90s.

To everyone who shared the night with us, it wouldn’t have been as much fun without you all. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To those who missed it, enjoy the video. In the future we will try to cover more of my songs from O&L. That I promise.

A Beginning Of Something Wonderful
Clementine
Orange & Lemons

Your gentle means
And all seems to commence
A brand new pace in me
Hope it’s not a blunder
Especially when I uncover, dig deeper
And I wonder

When I get near you
I feel something deep within me
You know you bring me to new heights
I’m like a big balloon filled with hot air
Ready to explode
Each and every time I kiss you

The more I’m with you
The more it feels like
This could be the beginning of something wonderful
Yeah, yeah…

Your lips are movin’
Your voice is so oh, so soothin’
You wear a face that lives in my dreams
Where did you come from
And I wonder

When I get near you
I feel something deep within me
You know you bring me to new heights
I’m like a big balloon filled with hot air
Ready to explode
Each and every time I kiss you

The more I’m with you
The more it feels like
This could be the beginning of something wonderful
Yeah, yeah…
The more I’m with you
The more it feels like
This could be the beginning of something really wonderful…

I have avoided singing my own songs in public for quite a number of reasons. After Orange & Lemons disbanded in a loathsome manner I just couldn’t allow myself to be reminded of the very people I once called friends, the very people who tried to fire me from my own band without proper decorum and stab me in the back by telling everyone lies. It was a situation unheard of. Sure, key leaving members in popular bands is everything but normal. Ely Buendia left The Eraserheads. Rico Blanco left Rivermaya. Johnny Marr left The Smiths. John Lennon left The Beatles. It would sound ridiculous and downright outrageous if Ely, Rico, Marr or worse John Lennon will be fired from their own band. It was like killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

In all the published works of O&L I have written lyrics for 32 songs, music for 39 songs plus 2 poetry. I sang 19 recorded tracks as main vocals, have painstakingly arranged, layered and recorded hundreds of guitar tracks alone. I have spent more hours in the studio during recording, mixing and mastering than any member of the band. Collaborated with sound engineers, directors, stylists, session musicians, advertisers, label people, etc. Booked and arranged all band rehearsals since day one.

I taught Mcoy how to play the guitar and how to fake it as a beginner during our early years of live gigging. He never recorded any guitar tracks in the album. I did. Ace Del Mundo auditioned to me and I was the one who hired him as a drummer and later on his brother JM to fill in for Law’s absence. I equally shared songwriting credits in the first two albums of O&L with Mcoy Fundales as a gesture of goodwill although he hasn’t contributed anything to most of the songs in terms of composition and intellectual property. So until now he has been receiving royalties for songs he did not create. I spent a year recording and conceptualizing and developing the last album Moonlane Gardens only to be fired a week after the album launch. I dedicated 11 years building the foundation of O&L and seeing it rise to the top and falling hard face-flat on quicksand. A classic example of losing heads in the clouds.

I cite these facts not out of bitterness nor anger but to answer the question a lot of people have been asking: “Why don’t you sing your songs from O&L and perform it with The Camerawalls?” Clearly my response is an emotional one. When I fought my way from preventing my ex-bandmates from using the entity Orange & Lemons without me (which i eventually succeeded), I posed a challenge to myself  and unto them to start from scratch and create our own music instead of banking on the success of O&L music. A challenge I knew they will not accept as they continue singing the songs they did not create during live gigs after disbanding mainly for profit.

The human spirit in me obliged to the challenge. An innate drive to create something unique and new from my raw individual experience with O&L and the desire to overcome the painful journey. The need to be challenged is so strong that we sometimes make things more difficult than they need to be just so we can rise to the occasion and overcome the obstacles we ourselves have created.

I refused to sing O&L songs during the early stages of The Camerawalls nor use any of my existing and unpublished recordings or demos or songs I’ve written during my stint with O&L. I started from scratch and with the help and collaboration of my new band mates we were able to produce songs that will eventually be the tracks for Pocket Guide To The Otherworld. I’m proud to say the tracks in Pocket Guide is the most recent and most mature work I ever did. They may not be as catchy or as youthful as the songs I contributed for O&L but it sure is a beginning of something wonderful once more.

THE BEST LAID SCHEMES OF MICE AND MEN.  A popular phrase which means the most carefully prepared plans may go wrong. As did my plans for Orange & Lemons. Taken from Robert Burns‘ poem To a Mouse, 1786. It tells of how he, while ploughing a field, upturned a mouse’s nest. The resulting poem is an apology to the mouse:

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promised joy.

The poem is the source for the title of John Steinbeck‘s 1936 novel – Of Mice and Men.

+Clementine

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