Famished (we could eat a mammoth) from the long jeepney ride from Batad, Banaue but still with energy enough to crawl toward the nearest hole-in-the-wall, we soon found ourselves instead inside Masferre Café. The café is hard to miss with its log cabin-inspired exterior and its location is just down the road from the Municipal Hall. Without skipping a bit, everyone barked orders for the meal with the quickest preparation. Waiting for the orders to be served was such an agony. Looking at the lechon kawali on the other table was another. Imagine a truckload of hungry wolves waiting to ambush its prey. This time, the prey was in a burger-and-fries clothing. Of course, as soon as the food was served, it was gone faster than anyone can say ‘ketchup please...’
By sundown, the cool mountain breeze turned into wind, fog began to blanket and the temperature started to dip. After having the gang signed up for caving the next day, many decided to hole up at the cottage, build fire in the fireplace and wolf on the carcass of the take-out meal. A handful opted to check-out what Ganduyan Museum, in the center of town, has to offer.
After gingerly making our way through the narrow passageway leading to the museum on the second floor, a woman in her 50s was busy explaining the pieces on display. When it was our turn, she introduced herself as Lola Christina. She took the time to tell backstories of the important pieces—from the traditional backpack to headhunting (read: literally headhunting!) during the old days to the distinctive patterns of weaving by each tribe in the Cordilleras. In between, she shared snippets of her family’s story.
It was getting late but with the streets still filled with people and with a couple of hours before curfew, hanging out in Yoghurt House won’t hurt. But it was a long weekend, so the crowd spilled onto street. The alternative would have to be Lemon Pie House at the far end of the stretch. Lemon Pie House proved to be less frequented by diners late at night. There were a couple of people seated at one corner and were at the tail-end of their meal. They left soon after, leaving the whole area to ourselves. The pies, together with cups of tea, were finally served. The pies, baked to perfection, tasted a bit crunchy on the outside, succulent on the inside. The tangy lemon taste was heightened with the warm lemongrass tea. With that said, I got myself another helping.
The cottage at Mapya-aw is a 15-minute leisurely walk from downtown, passing by St. Joseph’s Inn, St. Mary’s Church, Mission Hospital, makeshift market, limestone cliffs and what I think is a another cemetery on a hill. By the time we walked through town, the main road was dark and the whole town sleeping.
When we got to the cottage, it was quite already. Save for the fire making a crackling sound and the wind outside telling its secrets to the spirits of the mountain.