The tour of the mountain resort went well. Over the next two weeks, Art spent Tuesdays and weekends visiting Norma and her Manila friends.
“During that time, she found out she was going to get a new Peace Corps teaching assignment in that Baguio City,” he said. “This was already September. Sept. 30, I was suppose to terminate and go back home because my three extra months were up.”
Art went to his supervisor and requested an extension.
“He said it was fine with him. I had to clear it with the country Peace Corps director. He said he would give me six months, and then he never wanted to see me again after that.”
Norma began her Baguio assignment Oct. 1. On weekends, Art traveled nearly four hours by public transportation to visit her.
“Saturday night, a typhoon hit while we were there,” he said. “The main roads were washed out. Sunday, I was not able to return to university.”
Traveling an alternate route, he arrived back at the university on Monday.
“The typhoon had a direct hit on the university. All classes were canceled, so I didn’t miss anything.”
The next weekend, he returned to Baguio.
“Saturday night, another typhoon hit. It was the same scenario, the roads were washed out. I had to wait until Monday.”
Ditto, alternate route, university closure.
For the next three months, he traveled to Baguio. On Christmas, he and Norma went to Manila and attended an open-air midnight mass at the University of Santo Tomas and stayed with Tessie.
“The tradition is 1:30 in the morning, you go from house to house in the neighborhood on Christmas night and you eat,” Art said.
January’s end signaled Norma’s return to Iloilo. Art’s extension terminated in March 1974.
“I sort of meekly proposed,” he said. “She said she wasn’t ready at the time. She wanted to help her younger sister get through college, which she did. So, I went home and was a substitute teacher at Northeastern Clinton and worked part-time construction with my father.”