I arrived in Baguio, the City Of Flowers at 7pm that evening. I'd known that there was a large local festival on, but didn't expect the half million which swelled the city and absorbed all the hotel rooms. Everywhere was full, and the onwards buses had finished. I experienced a mild panic. Five hotels in, and the phone battery started dying. Laivan and Toon (the Belgians) would meet me in town for dinner. I needed a charge to reply, and wandered into a beauticians below the last hotel I enquired at. They kindly charged my phone and asked where I was staying. I laughed and told them "In a bush with the dogs". One offered to ring around a few hotels, but to no avail. Another lady wandered in from the back, and asked who I was and where I was staying. She said one of her clients lived behind, and ran a transient guesthouse. Turns out she was full, but on meeting me, said her son was doing a night-shift at the hospital, and that I could stay with them. Relieved is not the word. The girls at the salon let me take a shower while I waited for them to prep the room. Talk about a lucky break...if the phone hadn't been dying, I'd never have walked in there. And one of the girls in there, Jenny, was absolutely stunning. If I'm back in Baguio, I'll have to marry her. Olive skin and dimples? Turns my knees to jelly.
I had a good chat with Marvin, the landlady's son. He'd just finished college, and had been approached about a job in Manchester. I told him he should jump at the chance, and extolled the virtues of the city. If he ever goes, there'll be plenty of new mates I can introduce him to.
Showered and changed, I went off to meet the Belgians; only having a couple as I didn't want to take liberties with the landlady and turn up pissed at 1am. Who said I don't have manners? The evening was quiet, and I arranged to meet the lads and two Swedish girls they were completing a medical internship with, the next morning for the procession.