Our Writer For Today: Celts Penaflor

Pie Me To The Moon by Celts Penaflor

Several days before I set out on what I call McCandless Day, a day I annually share with the late Chris McCandless (we have the same birthday to be exact), I was slumped with work, but full of thoughts of lovely Sagada. It crossed my mind to do a bit of research on the web about my forthcoming trip. One of the things that came up which roused my curiosity was a page about Sagada Lemon Pie House. I was looking at the photos on the page and I thought to myself, “Sure looks cozy, I could already taste those sumptuous pies.”

Twelve hours, two bus rides and several stopovers later, I found myself in dreamy Sagada. The first three days were fleeting and, as soon as I arrived, I was to spend my last day’s worth of vacation before I go back to Manila and work. On my fourth and last day of stay in Sagada, I woke up early anticipating a day of shooting. Armed with my arsenal of cameras, film and tripod, I went around snapping photos like crazy only to finish at around 10am. I still had time to hang out before catching the last bus so I set off to visit the Lemon Pie House.

Upon seeing a yellow house with a sign that identified it as my destination, my heart skipped a beat. For some reason, I felt I was home. It was surreal. It was like seeing an old friend I haven’t seen for a long time. Staring at its facade, I immediately took photos. I slowly opened the door and the mellow voice of Tracy Chapman on the radio ushered me in. The place looked just how I imagined it to be. Mats were sprawled on the floor, with short-legged furniture on top. Pinecones and small potted plants adorned the window sill. Magazines littered the tabletops while a wooden Sungka board silently sat in the corner. I felt like a child coming home from school.

I ordered a slice of lemon pie coupled with a cup of lemon tea. I wanted to try their coffee, but I thought of getting a bit “lemony” that day. Between bites, I savored each moment of not being in front of a computer, of not catching trains through throngs of people, of being away from the daily grind. Every bite of that pie just felt so right. Cozying up at a corner of the cafĂ©, memories of the past days came flooding in; the cool air against my face, the sight of lush green mountains, the deafening silence of the coming evening, the warmth of the townsfolk’s smiles.

As I watched the town whistling by through the window, I asked myself, should I stay for another day? I can stay in this place sipping lemon tea all day; trying out their biscuits, cakes and all kinds of pie. I can spend another day finishing a book, chatting with both locals and tourists, thinking about life or doing absolutely nothing at all. I looked at my watch and I only had an hour and a half left to pack my stuff. “Well, there’s work tomorrow,” I said to myself; I should be off. Lemon Pie House will always be here and I will surely be back. If one’s going to visit Sagada, Lemon Pie House should be in their itinerary. It’s not just a place for food, but a place for warm memories and much needed silence.

In the words of Chris “Alexander Supertramp” McCandless, “Happiness is real when shared”. Lemon Pie House surely has a lot to share in each slice of pie and cup of tea they serve. And I found another reason to visit Sagada again and again.

You have me in your lemon power, my lemon pie. - Lemon Pie by The Strawbs

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