I Miss Baguio Weather

Contrary to what I believe that Baguio is no longer cold as before, no thanks to climate change, I was in for a surprise when we stepped out of our rented Foton View Traveller van after a 5-hour trip.

The place still chills almost like California. “It’s like US,” Marcus exclaimed when the early morning air of Camp John Hay hit him. Our initial plan was to travel light and ditch thick clothing but good thing I got the Accuweather app so I packed hoodies and jackets for us before we left Batangas. Brewed coffee from 7-11 wouldn’t have been enough if I didn’t check the forecast.

First morning straight from a long trip.

Temperature was about 16 degrees Celsius and peaked at 26 around noon. Obviously far better than the scorching 32 degrees back home. Home where it’s hot and humid that running has become more challenging. Waking up from a sweaty sleep wasn’t a problem though.

Like this morning I had to make an effort to put on my running gear to do a 5K. I wouldn’t have done it if not for the servings of strawberry–fresh from Baguio–that I turned to milkshake yesterday. I downed 600 plus calories out of that sweet guilty pleasure. (My curiosity of how much calories the shake would make had me use MyFitnessPal’s recipe entry for the first time.)

Tough run.

Baguio weather is perfect for runners although its hilly terrain is a different story. We stayed in a transient house located somewhere in Wakat which has roads so steep that I almost let go of the idea of running the moment I saw the inclined first hundred meters right out of gate. I summoned enough motivation to continue nevertheless.

Aided by Waze I completed a 10K run to Burnham Park and back that Saturday morning. It was a cold run. I had two layers of clothing and bonnet for my shiny bald head. Every now and then I would see breath vapor or steam forming as I run. I now miss that day.

***

Do I want to return to Baguio. Yes and no.

Yes because it’s cold and good for running. That’s it. Why I might not return has more reasons mostly centered on Marcus’ perspective.

While he enjoyed the sights and adventure during the three days and two nights vacation, wheelchair access was a big issue. Sadly, there are just limitations despite our best in trying to help him out.

At the PMA camp. Stuff out of his COD game.
His first henna tattoo from the Wright Park.

Sanitation was also an issue for Marcus. He’s very picky especially when it comes to toilet cleanliness so his portable urinal was our best friend.

I on the other hand despise litter. More so now that I have to push Marcus’ wheelchair around. Burnham Park was a disappointing sight for one. Trash can be found scattered, people ignored the no spitting signs, and vermin fed on residual food dumped carelessly around the park. On the bright side. Marcus was fascinated that the rats seem unafraid of him staring at them. Well, Baguio’s next tourist attraction? Hope not.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Avocado shake next.)

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Avengers: Infinity War 2X

Skip the Avengers: Infinity movie and save money. Besides that the sentence rhymes, it was my plan this weekend after our company treated us employees to a blocked screening at the nearby Vista Mall coming from a Friday night shift.

Other than having a bag of bland popcorn–I passed on the salt and flavoring–and a warm bottle of orange soda for breakfast, the movie treat was a deviation to my normal weekend diet, it also wasn’t Marcus’ idea of how his Sunday would be like.

I thought he and his mom already worked out an alternative when he said before going to bed Saturday night that he discovered he could pre-order Avengers: Infinity War on Xbox Live. Sounds like a plan, a cheaper plan of just $15. All he needs to do was wait until the movie becomes available online.

But I should’ve have known better that waiting doesn’t work for him. I learned sooner that Marcus is still looking forward to watching it in the cinema. Wifey relayed the message minutes before I hit the sack that night. “Your son asked if I could carry him to the seats if it’s just the two of us and I answered yes, of course. That’s his concern,” she said but left her statement hanging.

“So what’s your concern?” I asked, fishing for unstated needs–force work of habit kicking in. “That if I could actually carry him,” she replied half firm, half joking. We had a good laugh out of it. I know my wife’s humor as much as I know her hidden strength. I know she can carry Marcus no doubt.

So I went to bed that night still with the same initial plan–drive them to the mall, wait for them outside until the movie ends. I was ready to kill time with my Netflix downloads and spare purchasing another Avengers: Infinity War movie ticket in the process.

That last conversation stuck though. Our routine in the cinemas we’ve been following for the past years since the wheelchair kept playing inside my head until the next morning while I eat my oatmeal-raisin-peanut butter-banana combo to compensate for the other day’s toxic choice.

He came prepared for the cold.

Buy popcorn for Marcus, get snacks for us, transfer him to his movie theater seat, carry him to his wheelchair if he asked to go the toilet, then settle back again to enjoy the film. It’s been like that most times. And lately he’s gained more weight.

I need to be in the cinema. Period.

So that’s how I ended up watching the same movie twice in a row. Good thing the comfy Solenad Cinema 3 allowed me to snooze every now and then and to see Marcus enjoying everything–the Avengers and Guardians characters, Stan Lee’s cameo, Blazing Cheddar popcorn, and his favorite reclining seat–was worth spending an extra 400 pesos.

Weekend mission accomplished.

***

The Avengers: Infinity War is a dark movie and it could disappointment people especially those who expect a triumphant hero at the end. This movie is a game changer. Thanos has to die.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Busy week ahead.)

Run With Marcus

It’s been my dream to do something physical with Marcus, run with him. But his wheelchair sets some limits among others. Weather and outdoor condition are other factors as he’s had history of allergic reactions.

Yesterday seems to be the perfect condition although it was a bit windy late in the afternoon. We set off anyway, stepped out of the house with my running shoes and Marcus looking forward to see the goats along the way.

I ran and pushed at the first kilometer until the goats appeared. Then it was mostly run-walk from then onwards. I let Marcus cherish the moments to see nature and animals beyond Ultra HD 4K.

We conquered 200 meters. Flaring nostrils not shown.

If only we had this Adaptive Mobility Freedom Push Chairs which I saw first on Facebook page of Athletes in Tandem. This push chair would allow me to run with Marcus better and safer. His current wheelchair rattles and it poses a challenge when going uphill thus the need to take extra care not to over tilt him backwards. The mobility chair’s price is stiff though at $900 excluding shipping since it would come from USA. Maybe soon.

We covered seven kilometers yesterday so this red wheelchair is good enough for now.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Today’s agenda: Learn the floss. (No) thanks to kid’s Fortnite game.)

Mondays and Uphills

The just concluded long weekend due to the holy week was worth it. Didn’t get us far from home but it gave me a chance to just bond with wifey and Marcus. This video of the goats playing around and showing off to Marcus was captured on a Good Friday at the first stopover on our attempt to get closer to Mount Makiling. We live nearby so no big deal but take note that Marcus is in a wheelchair.

***

Mount Makiling is one of the regular Holy Week destinations for those who want to make their own sacrifices or for mountaineers who want to climb something challenging but not far from the city. The last time I was up there was about 20 years ago before I got married and when a good stretch of the road to the mountain wasn’t paved yet. Now it’s a bit wheelchair-friendly.

That’s Mt. Makiling in the background taken after we made a bad turn finding a relative’s farm.

Who needs 4×4?
We reached the farm. Technically, these kids are Marcus’ cuz.
On our way back down. This is the steepest we’ve reached so letting Marcus’ wheelchair roll freely was impossible.

Next time we will try farther. And yes, next time we’ll wear something warmer.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Just a day at work then another off for me.)

Watch “Canadian Tire “Wheels” :60” on YouTube

Just saw this one on Facebook and it made me sad yet at the same time happy that such campaign to let everyone know how a simple gesture could go a long way. This is something any parent with a kid in a wheelchair would appreciate big time.
***

Image from Lad Bible

Also on Facebook, Lad Bible posted a video of a guy in a wheelchair doing dips in a gym. Looking at the weight he has to deal with is like me and Marcus combined. Dips has been one of my favorite routines since I started working out. I still do a variation of it at home and Marcus’ therapy session also includes same exercise though assisted by physical therapists. He just finished his second day today.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Crazy schedule this week.)

Moving On

What seems like in a snap of a finger, we find ourselves staring at 2017.  Now we once again wonder what this new year has in store for us with all hopes up that it would be better than its preceding year. In our books, 2016 is hard to beat especially that its last days ended with a bang. But after three weeks of living the life in the land of milk and honey, our life goes back to normal.  We have returned home, we move on.

Meeting 2017 at Old Sacramento.

Yes, we move on. One tall order after one unique travel experience. In the next days we merge back to the rat race–like it or not. In Marcus’ case, however, moving on is a pun and at the same time a big dream. And time is of the essence. This year we need to execute what we have regularly discussed between pauses during our American adventure. Our good hosts, my sister and her hubby, want to see Marcus undergo the next phase of DMD testing. They pledged to support it.

Kid in America.

To say we were happy at their commitment would be an understatement. DMD is one of those medical conditions that is expensive to deal with despite the uncertainty of success.  With the much needed support we can now proceed and see if the available DMD drug in the market would be of benefit to Marcus. So as early as this January we’ll be busy. It’s time we see the doctor again. Fingers crossed.

***

Marcus is among those in wheelchairs waiting to board the plane from Manila. He is the only child.

We continue to realize the challenge of travelling with someone in a wheelchair. Not that we are complaining but its a struggle we have to face. This is why I didn’t have any issues staying at my sister’s home and just enjoy time with everyone. I just know that Marcus preferred it that way too.

Even within the confines of the house there’s always something to keep us occupied anyway: gym, pets, TV, toys, food. They are also fond of non-smartphones games like Uno and Jenga. And it was where I learned my second card game (Trump cards is first) while Marcus proved he can play the latter.

He’s got steady hands.

Marcus once mentioned that he has seen how Jenga is played but we never saw him play the actual game not until this trip. To the surprise of everyone, he was a natural. He picked Jenga blocks on his own although I carried and assisted him to be able to place the blocks when the stack got higher. His dexterity to handle the blocks gave me some sort of hope. It proves that after all his remaining muscle functions may be preserved somehow.  Let’s see.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Now using Marcus’ HP PC which we fixed ourselves. Thanks to the male Santa.)