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July 2016, vol 12 no 2

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Anthony Q. Rabang

One Day in January

Baguio’s coldness is undeniable, especially during the months of December, January, and February. One day in January 2014, the city recorded a teeth-chattering 8.1 degrees Celsius, just 1.8 degrees higher than the recorded coldest Baguio temperature of five decades ago. This gave our landlord and landlady a reason to finally show off their fireplace to us, the tenants. Their fireplace is a decade-old or even more; it is made up of orange bricks just like those of a traditional kiln, and surprisingly no trace of ashes can be found in the firebox.

The lighted hearth made the boarding house’s ambiance relaxing and comforting – the yellow-orange dim light coming from it simulated winter scenes, like in Western Christmas movies. The smell of pine trees (once in a while) and the smell of burning logs lifted our freezing spirits, but the fireplace alone was not able to bring the warmth back during that cold snap.

the warm smell
of rice porridge –
blanket from home