Monday, January 24, 2011

Bliss Found Me

Peace and serenity within does not happen by chance. If you don't look for it, it will not happen. Sometimes the serenity we are looking for is just right outside our window but we refuse to welcome it. In my days of stay in Baguio, I searched for peace and received it in seven folds.

While finding a hotel in Baguio is easy via Google-ing it, then after booking a hotel along Session Road in advance, I still feel incomplete and uneasy. You know the feeling of "it will just be the usual hotel..."? That's how I felt.

The story I was doing for 7,107 Island Travel Magazine is about BenCab, the Philippines' national artist on visual arts. I wanted a place to stay to set the mood before I see BenCab.

I want to be psychologically ready, not intellectually ready; and write a story readers haven't heard of yet about BenCab. I hope not to throw usual questions like "how long have you been an artist?" kind of questions. Because usual questions yield usual answers. If you want the usual, Wikipedia should come in handy.

So my shelter for the next few days will be important. After searching for art galleries and spaces in Baguio, I finally came across Bliss Cafe, a vegetarian cafe with a gallery or an art space.

Get this too, the owners turned the basement of their house into an apartment flat for visiting artists for only php 400/night. Food for the eyes, for the heart, and warm shelter for the cold nights, all in one plate.

I immediately got in touch with Jim and Shanti Ward, owners of Bliss Cafe. Just from the sound of Jim's voice, the positive vibes were much present already especially when he said "you'll love the vibes of the flat, artists and writers have stayed there to complete their work and escape from it all." To Jim and Shanti's terms, I agreed and took the flat.

Back at Bliss Cafe, I tried their Bountiful Tofu Burger, Red Flower Tea, and their "No Oink" Sisig (a popular beer match). It was good like you don't want to eat meat burgers anymore! The flavor is there and the protein content is just so present in every bite. Plus the hot and sourness of the Red Flower Tea, I didn't want to let go of the warm cup anymore while Baguio's breeze pinched every grid of my skin.

So enough of the read my friend and call Jim and Shanti of Bliss Cafe and ask about their home stay. Just remember, it's a home stay ran by a Buddhist (that's Jim and yeah I picked up a lot of good stuff from him), an Ananda Marga Yoga practitioner (that's Shanti), and of course ran by the wonderful vibes of compassion. Jim is also an avid Baguio mountain biker whose environmental advocacies for Baguio are endless. So if you want to bring your bike, I say go for it.

Bliss Cafe is located at the lobby of Hotel Elizabeth, Gibraltar St., Corner J. Felipe. The home stay is only 3-5 mins away from the cafe. Call Jim and Shanti at 0917-8464729 and 0917-5281166 and feel the positive vibes.

I'd like to close this write up with a quote from a book by Tilak Hettige entitled "Safron Robes" which I picked up from Bliss Cafe. It said "...some forsake everything in favor of wandering, meditation, and teaching. Seeking personal enlightenment, they become pilgrims..."