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Lipa Quite at Its Best

No, we do not have world famous white white-sanded beaches. Neither do we have picture-perfect rice terraces nor fabulous waterfalls. And night life will probably mean a side trip to the nearest lomi joint before retiring to the comforts of one’s own home.

But once the monsoons blow as briskly as they have done since late May, then I am reminded again of why I probably turned my back on a possible lucrative career out in the metropolis to return to this city that I have called home all my life. Simply stated, this is Lipa at its best.

A few summers back, up in Baguio with a few colleagues, I was up at 6:30 in the morning and went to Burnham Park to take pictures while there were few people and the light perfect for shadowy photography. I was in shorts and a flimsy tanktop.

Upon my return to the hotel, a colleague asked if I was not feeling cold. “But we are from Lipa,” I replied. My colleague nodded in understanding; and that was really all that I needed to say.

That was summer, of course. I would probably not be so brazen during the late or early months of the year.

In fact, my favourite way to describe the climate here in Lipa is “never as cold as Baguio and never as hot as the coastal cities.” Pleasant, therefore, is the best way to describe what we who live here take so for granted.

Roughly a thousand feet above sea level, we are spared from the severe cold and frost that those up in the mountains have to bear around December and January. Come the dry months of March and April, we are likewise spared from the suffocating heat of the coastal areas.

In fact, when riding home from Manila with the windows down, it never fails to strike me how significantly the winds become cooler as the vehicle rolls up the road towards Makiling. And it is uphill all the way to Lipa...

Or, riding up from Batangas City just half an hour away, the same thing happens in the vicinity of the municipality of San Jose. Those who live in Batangas City will know how viciously hot it can get on a summer day.

Albeit, in recent years, Lipa was having a hard time living up to its own reputation; and seemed every bit as enmeshed in the scourge that is global warming as everywhere else.

The situation has probably also been exacerbated by the urban heat island effect, as more and more real estate has been taken over by concrete structures. Those who have lived in this city longer will know that the supposed cold season in recent years has not been quite as cold as what it once could get.

While in the old days, the coming of the rains in May would bring relief from the heat, these past few years, the rains would only intensify the humidity so that one not only felt hot but also quite, quite sticky all over. This is that miserable feeling that those who live in the tropics know only too well.

That is why this June has been so unbelievably pleasant. Not only have the monsoon winds been remarkably brisk; they have also been quite cool. Moreover, even on bright sunny days, the temperatures have remained well within tolerable levels with humidity low. No sticky feeling at all, even after a brisk workout.

It has been like the Lipa of old, the city that many who came to visit never wanted to leave. It is Lipa at its best; and if this is portentous of what the rest of the year has to offer, I say bring it on!

I just pray that I did not just jinx the weather by writing this because Lipa has not quite felt like this for more years than I care to know.

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