Thursday, April 1, 2010


I HARDLY RESTED from my trip in Bohol on October 28 and 29, 2009 yet, I am, once again, on the road on October 31 for the other side of the island of Cebu then crossing over a strait of water and into Negros Oriental. This time, I will have Eddie Alberca with me.

I worked late in the office the night before that and arrived home at 1:30 AM, set the alarm at 3:00 AM and stole sleep without much ado. Then the most unwelcome sound woke me up hours later and I grudgingly picked myself up from my bed and my head is like on fire. The temptation to bounce back to bed is almost overwhelming.

I doused myself quickly with a cold shower and rubbed my eyes free of logs before I could change my mind about that inviting bed. Half-awake, I snatched my backpack and made for the door. I hailed a cab, seated myself at the back and, God, here it is again, lady dreamland knocking at my eyelids.

A honk from a big bus behind startled me. The taxi quickly made a right turn inside the Cebu South Bus Terminal and I alighted drowsily after paying. Eddie had arrived before me and had already arranged my entrance fee and bus ticket. Oh, he passed me a steaming styropor cup of coffee. Most welcome. Thanks!

I sat nearest a window inside the bus and counted the seconds before I would probably pass out. Then it's time to leave. Four-thirty. Destination – Liloan, Santander. It's on the southernmost tip of Cebu and a long ways to go. 130-something kilometers, I think? Been there twice or maybe thrice when I was then stationed at Zamboanguita.

The bus is packed full and I noticed some women standing in the middle aisle. No, not today. I'm too tired and I need some sleep. Sorry.

I woke up everytime there is a jolt and it's a real bummer. Caused me headaches, my eyeball sockets screaming in pain. I tried to calm myself to get that elusive sleep. Even doing a breathing exercise but to no avail. Lady dreamland spurned me as the bus passed by Argao.

It was like that and my body shivered and convulsed trying to adapt to the situation. We finally reached the wharf of Liloan at eight and I instantly unloaded the uncomforts inside of a comfort room. Wow, it's a heavenly feeling, you know.

After that, my stomach began to crave for something solid and, what do you know, this eatery on the tip of Cebu cook freshly-caught fish tinuwa (or tinola) and squid served hot. I ordered three servings of steamed fine-grounded corn for me and downed a Cobra E-drink. Now, I'm better. But, not much.

I walked over the jetty and a rocking narrow strip of wood serving as gangplank into an outriggered seacraft. I sat in the middle beside Eddie and the small boat moved forward and crossed the blue Tañon Strait at 8:45 and arrived at the wharf of Sibulan almost an hour later.

Few buses coming from Dumaguete passed by and if it did, it was full. A yellow mini-bus came and we hopped in and then condemned to remain standing in the aisle for the duration of the trip to Bais City over a long stretch of dusty road under construction. Oh, why only now?

For two-and-a-half hours the little bus followed a slow train of big buses, sugarcane cargo trucks and other vehicles. It dragged a bit and stopped again until we were free of one stretch and then another stretch would repeat the process again and again. This unfinished highway almost popped my eye sockets out and it was so tiring!

From Kilometer 1 until I reached Bais, I never enjoyed the scenes this travel offered which is quite uncanny for me. Is it perhaps that I am tired and sleepless? Probably so. My condition was not so alive even as my cell phone camera became silent.

In all my out-of-town trips, the opportunity to see new places is a moment that is well received, its importance is something where memory would cherish later on. But the fire is missing today, baby. Not today. So sorry.

I have been here but once – sometime in 1983 – and it was just a blur. I made it sure that I will have something from Bais to bring home. I have a package to deliver at the PhilHealth office and, once done, I readied my phone camera.

Across the street is a box of a house and my curiosity took me nearer. I thought the big block numbers painted in white above the door is the street number of the house. Upon examination, I found out that it is the year by which it was built: 1790. CASA LARENA. Perfect. Click! Click!

Now I have something to show off to my officemate who goes by the surname Larena. This house may well be his family's ancestral home. Cool Joe Patrick.

It is 15 past noon and I have a schedule to pursue so I forego of lunch for the time being. A break in the trip ahead, perhaps, I could taste food. Silence talks. Eddie understood it very well and followed me. How's that for expressing perfectly the word teamwork?

We found a van-for-hire, half full, and sat inside. This is better. It has aircondition and we don't stand on the aisle. I saw the passing scene better and recovered my enthusiasm. Saw the Central Azucarera de Bais again and it's now almost a ghost town. The white colonial mansions on both sides of the road are devoid of activity. Hey, what happened to the beautiful acacias that splayed their branches over the highway? It's gone. Tsk. Tsk.

It was over in an hour and I've straightened out the kinks in me, at last. At the same wharf in Sibulan, I came, paid the boat tickets and climbed aboard a small fastcraft in the nick of time. I paid for 64 pesos for fare and it's quite cheap. No wonder, people in Santander and Samboan shop at Dumaguete City?

We took a well-deserved lunch upon arriving at Liloan, Santander at around one o'clock payem. Then the engine of the half-empty big Ceres bus came alive and it's time to go home for Cebu. I have all the row to myself and it's quite spacious plus an airconditioner that blow winds from the Arctic. Piped music lulled me to visit lady dreamland again and, this time, she embraced me for a full two hours.

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer.

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