Monday, April 25, 2011
THE TALL MARINE manning the gate gave me a hard punch in the solar plexus. I winced and retreated away when the Marine held his Armalite, butt first, towards me. I faked the hurt so I could evade his aggressive challenge and the impending rifle butt blow. I succeeded there but I bade goodbye to my dinner and my freedom.
I am stuck inside the Navy headquarters in Roxas Boulevard together with 240 others on the night of August 14, 1988. I hadn't prepared much at the last minute and I missed my dinner and tomorrow we will all be trucked to faraway Camp Capinpin. An empty stomach tonight wouldn't help me and I hope breakfast will be served early morning.
Breakfast did not came and it was a shock. Let's see what this kid is made of. I grew up very pampered by my grandparents and I taste life very differently from the rest of my neighbors my age although I get to do chopping firewood at the behest of my grandma and the rest of the time I could do as I please even playing basketball from sunup to sundown almost everyday.
I was in the prime of my youth then at 25 and I am quite reckless when my mind sets on to something. I don't know how my civilian hardheadedness would fare under the baton of the military, but, I have got to try and test my manhood. I loathed the military in the early years when Martial Law was imposed in '72 and I disdained uniforms and any vestige of authority after that. I decide to change all that.
I marched with 1,800 other candidate soldiers from the Army, the Navy, the Constabulary, the Air Force and the Presidential Security Group into the barracks of the Armed Forces' training facility inside Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal after a whole day of toiling under the sun, without water and rest and a glorious stretch of an unimpeded roll down a high hill into a pond.
I cast my lot with the 8th Battalion after a head count and, at that moment, I was assigned as the provisional battalion commander because of my physique and height. Hell, if they only knew that I have never got a liking for the military's pomp and pageantry. If they only knew that the only field commands I know are in English learned during Boy Scout.
For one whole week I stuttered in Tagalog and got my head banged by my own steel helmet and my chest a target of enraged Tactical NCOs everytime I dished a wrong command until my throat gave way to sores and coughs and much more coughing weeks after that. It was a reprieve and a blessing in disguise as I was demoted to platoon sergeant then rose back to battalion staff owing to my pedigree – being a son of a policeman!
You are not allowed to sleep early, not until you hear the taps, which always came at ten in the evening and you are not allowed to stay in bed after 3:30 AM, for at four, the reveille1 will start. Early morning in Camp Capinpin is very cold and thick fogs envelop the area. You just wear Army shorts, sneakers and a white shirt and try your damnedest best to heat your body up during the Army Dozen2 to beat the cold.
After the reveille, the battalion then run as a group out of the camp and into a mountain road. It is not rare that other battalions would engage another in a test of strength and speed goaded behind by a Tactical NCO carrying a big stick. Honestly, my battalion always lose out every race to another and it is not a secret that our Tactical NCOs lose bets and gets the brunt of the taunts from their counterparts where, our battalion is forever bleached under the sun resulting from these losses.
Camp Capinpin lie at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range3. It is the headquarters of the 2nd Infantry Division. It is also the home of a detachment of Scout Rangers where we get to be taught by the finest and most battle-hardened instructors. This is the time where my senses are keen and I absorbed the instructions very well. Instructions that supplemented with what I learned from my grandfather and an uncle – all veterans of different wars.
I get to practice generosity in Capinpin by showing my Muslim brothers where to catch fish during a Ramadan season. I get to steep my endurance in an ever-increasing distance of uphill running into the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. I get to hone my courage by exceeding deeds beyond my expectations. Finally, I get to snare wisdom by outwitting veteran soldiers during practical soldierly undertakings.
I am a Cebuano-speaking rascal but I was able to get the sympathy and respect from my Muslim classmates – especially from the Tausugs – whom I considered as brothers of equal importance and skill. Aside that, I get to gain acceptance from the Visayan-speaking ethnics of Mindanao and from the higher-IQ residents of Metro Manila. Apart from them, I am but a promdi4 to others and my feeble diplomatic skills face a brick wall there.
During those road-running sorties up on the hills, my stamina increased each week. Of course, it is aided by the religious adherence to the exercise program which increases in repetition each day. Running also increases in distance from five kilometers on the first day until I get to run my first and only full marathon5 during the last week of training.
Courage in the face of threats and bodily harm, these I faced every day. Instead of wincing and feigning hurt, I get to show my full dignity as a warrior by absorbing all the blows without complaint and putting on a stoic countenance that discouraged unusually rude Tactical NCOs. My courage gets also tested by leading men onto unfamiliar territory and unimaginable success over extremely difficult situations.
One situation I couldn't forget is when our long-time tormentor, a PAF sergeant, caught my company in a different route and began butting everyone with the end of the rifle barrel on the abdomen. Since I did not wince, he dropped his rifle and started after me with a punch in full force at my solar plexus. But a lensatic compass hung over my neck and invisible from his view, got hit instead and he suffered from it that he let us go to save face.
Lastly, the lectures I had of with my grandpa and my uncle were of use during the escape and evasion practicals. While everyone were herded down the road, I decided to remain and become invisible in a patch of grass in the middle of the road. You couldn't imagine an awfully tall guy hiding among a surviving clump of grass between two furrows made by truck wheels? But I did. And just a few inches from my unknowing “captor” who let loose a magazine of 5.56-mm ammo at his “prisoners” in full daylight.
I have become adept at map reading and navigation but the best lesson I got is when I suffered from hypothermia right after crossing the Daraitan River. I am drenched and I shook for hours. I placed my palms right over a fire. I caught every heat of the fire inside my worn poncho, but I still shook. I ate a warm meal and the shaking is still there and I thought I might pass over. I took off my wet boots and socks and walk over every warmed up pebble everywhere and it was gone.
After that, I climbed my first mountain in my life, in Mount Daraitan, which is part of the Sierra Madre, and hit small targets during live-fire exercises. Then I crossed the Daraitan River once again, this time crawling over a 2-inch thick rope6 and, one last time, drifting along a makeshift raft of poncho, pole and dry grass. I get to meet a lot of Dumagat7 people along the way and felt kinship with them.
December in the Sierra Madre is very cold and the fog just as thick. Proper military courtesy is practiced to the fullest even in zero visibility else you bump an officer and suffer for it by producing sweat8 to top off a Coke bottle. Discipline is never given a slack even during Christmas. Not even the flu will give you that chance to stretch and lie on your bunk except after taps. On the other hand, the best cure for this sickness is by “sweat patrol” under the heat of the sun in full combat gear wearing your poncho.
I have good memories of Camp Capinpin and I am proud to be one of those who toiled as the “lowest mammal”. I ate, slept, ran, crawled, climbed and got whacked to feel the hardships that accompany entry and acceptance into the most noble of profession – the profession of arms – and I shared these all with my batchmates, with whom I know not anymore of their whereabouts. Most of them may have joined their Creator in the fulfillment of their duties and I cherished their memories as only a warrior could do for another. For the rest of the living ones, my fervent prayers of protection.
This journey of the heart took me more than twenty years to make and I take this to writing to demonstrate to the reader that there is such a place called Camp Capinpin – the gateway to the Sierra Madre - that bred unknown patriots who give life and limb for our country, our freedom and our way of life. They have shunned the unregimented civilian life just so they could provide something for their families. These are men of steel grit and they are humans to a touch. They are soldiers.
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer
Images by Eduardo David Pardo, Philippine Army website and Philippine Navy website
Ballpoint pen sketch by PinoyApache
1Early morning exercises.
2A set of early morning exercises which consist of twelve (12) different figures to be completed in four (4) counts and several repetitions each which increase in intensity every week.
3A mountain range in Eastern Luzon that extend from Quezon Province in the south to Cagayan Province in the north.
4A discriminatory slang or acronym derived of “from the province” instituted by Manilans against those that came from the countrysides.
5A 42-kilometer run from Camp Capinpin to Tanay proper and back with Armalite rifle, combat boots, steel helmet, fatigue uniforms and a 10-kilo rucksack which I finish in less than eight hours.
6Commando crawl. You balance atop a swinging rope and crawl over it from end to end.
7A Southern Luzon indigenous tribe who live on the hinterlands of Rizal, Quezon and Nueva Vizcaya.
8Physical punishment wherein you do repetitive exercise and the sweat adhering on your shirt is wrung repeatedly to and collected inside of an 8-ounce bottle until it is full. This is rather difficult during cold weather and you have to exert more effort.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
IT HAD BEEN more than three months since I last climbed the Babag Mountain Range, here in Metro Cebu, and that was during the third day of the “Tsinelas Charity” of Professor Marco Albeza's on August 8, 2010. To me, it's as if I have not walked for a year! One missed weekend and I'm in an agonizing state; what more for fourteen straight weeks?
Today is November 21, 2010 and I am on the church lawn of the Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu waiting for Ernie Salomon and Boy Toledo of Camp Red. I am also expecting Myand Abao of the EWIT Mountaineers. We will check on our seedlings taken cared of by the Roble family in the hills of Napo. Aside that, we will assess the route by which these fruit-tree seedlings will be planted.
The Holy Mass ended at seven and out came Ernie and Boy T (both are saintly in the morning and devilish at dusk). Myand arrive and a guest of Ernie's – Jamez of VECO – came later and we all settled to eat a light breakfast at the back of the church. Later, Ernie and I scour the little roadside market for our food provisions.
The Roble children – Manwel, Juliet and Josel – I am sure, would have missed me during those weekend non-shows and I will not let them down today. I will bring bread for them. The kids have endeared well to me, especially Josel, who metamorphosed from a shy three-year old into a pesky five-year old. (Laughing).
We leave Guadalupe for Napo at 8:30 AM and the sun is already high. We walk the road to Napo as a warm-up activity to loosen up tight unused muscles and reach Napo an hour later. After a very brief rest, we cross the Sapangdaku River and followed the meandering trail above it and reach the Lower Kahugan Spring where I fill my bottle and drink for the first time.
We follow the Kahugan Trail to take a short-cut to the Roble homestead. Walking along, I spied a waterfall. This could be the fabled hidden waterfalls of Kahugan which Boy T and Ernie have seen during an earlier trip. Ernie lead us down a route but ended up far from where I have laid my eyes on this particular waterfall. The sound of splashing water indicated more than one waterfall existed on that particular place of the river.
I insisted that Ernie is leading us to a wrong waterfall and I explained to all to try the ones we have just passed by ago. It is worth trying since we are already very near. We backtrack and I saw the faint trail that I saw a moment ago and I lead the way down until we stop on a sandy shore of a waterfall. There were actually four waterfalls! The uppermost is the highest while the lowermost might be of equal height and we were now in the second.
The river is full after several months of rain and the water cascade down from the four high waterfalls in close proximity with each other. There is a deep pool and further down the tip are stones placed by the locals to serve as a dam if, in case, they will catch fish, shrimps and crabs. A narrow channel is opened to let the water flow below the next waterfall. I document this one with pictures and video before I climb the upper falls.
Just like the ones I left, there is a deep pool also and a sandbar but no dam. I also shoot photos and take a video. All around were original-growth forest, which is very rare for a place known for its tree-cutting charcoal gatherers. The absence of birds in an area where wildlife are supposed to thrive gives me an impression that the locals have outsourced the birds for food.
After that cool interlude, we retrace our route and take a shortcut to the Roble abode. Power climbing is the order of the day for this trail. There is no rest but to go on as there are no shaded area. But once we were in Busan Trail, the inclination subside and we were able to recover our breath aided now by a shady lining.
We finally reach the home of the Robles and I surrendered my backpack (and my butt) to a long bamboo bench. It is very cool here with a giant tamarind tree giving you shade as well as a duhat1 and a mango tree. Everybody retrieved their cook sets, their stoves and the food. I boiled milled corn on two sets of pot and stove while Ernie and Myand do the slicing of the vegetables and spices for our vegetable. Boy T, meanwhile, teach Jamez the fine rudiments of cooking a milled corn.
Boy T showed off his new camping cook set. Very neat and a very practical equipment due to its size. We tested it right away with mixed vegetables stirred and fried, as well as cooking pork adobao. Nice to see again the Roble family, especially the children and I surrendered my cache of cinnamon and Frances bread to them. They were joined by their cousin Jerome and I see him and Josel running around and shouting and laughing.
At exactly 1:30 PM, we all take our lunch amidst the breeze stirring the leaves of the bamboo grove growing nearby. After all have their fill, everyone settled to social mode. I inspected the tree seedlings and they were a healthy collection of jackfruit, Java plum, rambutan, apple-mango, lanzones2, avocado and papaya growing inside their little black plastic containers. The seedlings were well-watered and taken cared of. I brought though a set of canistel seeds to be added to our stock.
We will have the whole Babag East Ridge Pass as the site where we will plant the small trees. Fele Roble averred that the landowner is quite receptive to have his land planted by fruit-bearing trees and save him the trouble of planting it himself or hiring people to plant it for him. We were elated by this news and so we planned below the duhat tree of how we will involve the local government unit of Sapangdaku and Babag I in this worthy endeavor.
After we stowed our gears back inside of our backpacks, I eyed the East Ridge Pass for Mount Babag. Boy T stared at the trail and signalled with his head that he have had enough for the day. Old age seemed to have overtaken Boy T. I noticed him along the way, he sat down at the old resting place under a mango tree. We normally ignore that place as our stamina increased and, if ever we pause by there, we don't sit.
So we backtrack and reach Napo in forty minutes. From Napo, we all rode a tricycle bound for Guadalupe and, from Guadalupe, we all rode inside Boy T's KIA Pride to partake of the feast in Lapulapu City where Boy T reside. We eat dinner there after which we toast our just concluded trek with bottles of Red Horse Extra Strong Beer. It was a good day for Camp Red and soon will be for the environment.
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer
Monday, April 11, 2011
MY CELLPHONE DELIVERED its message at four dawn. It woke me up! It is cold and it is November 17, 2010. Gotta go and catch a fastcraft for the port of Ormoc and an overland trip to Tacloban City in Leyte. A package laying idle in Ormoc City for two years needs to be delivered to Tacloban ASAP!
It is raining and I don my windbreaker. I went to the Supercat Terminal in Pier 4 carrying with me my Baikal backpack. The 'Cat leaves at 5:45 AM over the wide Camotes Sea and I heave a sigh of relief as the sun rises on the horizon dissipating the gloomy atmosphere. Read a book – Into the Mountains (Hostaged by the Abu Sayyaf)1 – but an action movie competed with my attention and I ditch the paperback.
Arrived at Ormoc two hours later. When was the first time I was here? I think it was in January 1993 when I climbed Mount Hanagdan with the Cebu Mountaineering Society. More than two years after that Great Flood that claimed thousands of lives. Back then I could still see the waterline of the flood up on the walls of houses and buildings six feet above my six-foot frame.
I walk the streets of Ormoc once again hunting for an early rising out-of-the-stream restaurant and found one after a half hour. Organic vegetables and small clams became my breakfast. Catch a tricycle after the meal to Punta, claimed the package and tricycled back to the city center for the terminal.
Seated myself inside the overcrowded vehicle-for-hire and the van leave Ormoc at 10:30 AM for Tacloban on the other side of the coast of Leyte Island at 106 kilometers distant. It traveled over a beautiful two-lane highway that pass over the towns of Kananga, Capoocan, Carigara and Palo. The sides of the highway are dedicated to the planting of rice while faraway are the different mountain ranges.
It is my second time to pass by this concrete road. The first time was in August 2005. That time I raced with time for my late grandmother's funeral in faraway Calbayog City in Western Samar on a less-than-a-shoestring budget! I missed the burial as I got delayed by erratic schedules of buses plying over the worst highway that I have ever seen right after crossing the San Juanico Strait.
At exactly twelve noon, I step on the pavement infront of Robinson's Place, cross the street, go inside the mall and leave the package. After that, I scanned a second-hand bookstore looking for a cheap book and found one having an unusual title – Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure2. (Laughing).
After an hour inside the mall, my stomach yearned for a refill and I look for something exotic outside. Took a public utility midget AKA “multicab” for the downtown area. Disembark somewhere near the Divine Word University and I scout for my lunch and found a stew of goat's innards which we Cebuanos call as paklay. This food is something of a specialty among the Warays of Leyte and Samar and I eat it with gusto.
Since I still have a couple of hours of spare time, I decide to visit instead the Santo Niño Parish nearby. The original structure have since been replaced, damaged by one of the most gruelling phase of the war in the Pacific during World War Two. About two kilometers away, I presume, is Red Beach, made famous when the “I shall return” phrase of General Douglas McArthur became a reality. Only the bells survived and it is decommissioned and made as an attraction on the side lawn.
Nearby is a vehicle-for-hire terminal and I snuggle inside one of its parked vans. Leave Tacloban at 3:45 PM for the return trip to Ormoc and then to Cebu. Dark rain clouds dimmed the sunny allure of the highway and it rained in Carigara and partly in Capoocan. Arrive at 6:00 PM and too early for the 7:00 PM departure for the port of Cebu. Resumed my book reading after another meal of paklay, this time that of a bull's.
Before I leave Ormoc one more time, I bought for the kids a native delicacy made by Tita Tatta and three ripe canistel fruit, locally known as tisa, for my wife. I arrive on the port of Cebu at nine and walked the distance from the pier to my residence. Along the way, meet two of my uncles. I toast my chance meeting with them with a bottle of beer each and talk of the good old days.
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer
1Authored by Jose Castro. It tells of the martyrdom of Claretian priest Fr. Rhoel Gallardo and the kidnapping of teachers and students by the Abu Sayyaf of the village of Tumahubong in Basilan.
2Written by Giles Foden. It records the never-heard series of naval battles in Lake Tanganyika during World War I.
Friday, April 1, 2011
THE CERES BUS arrived two-and-a-half hours later in Daanbantayan, Cebu for a trip that normally take four hours. By God, the bus flied. It is still 3:30 AM and still too early for the 6:00 AM boat that would take us to Guintarucan Island, just a speck drawn on the map of the Philippines.
Today is October 23, 2010 and I am with Boy Toledo, Boy Olmedo, Jecris Dayondon, Ben Lao and Kim, all members of the Cebu Mountaineering Society and guest Randell Savior. Coming also with us is Taddy Rosos, Boy T's wife's nephew, who will act as our man Friday in our immersion into the island's unseen and unheard of attractions which will enthrall our senses for the rest of the weekend!
Guintarucan Island is part of Santa Fe Municipality in Bantayan Island. Residents of Guintarucan source their supplies from the mainland but they process all government documents in Santa Fe. Aside from the bigger Bantayan Island, other neighboring islands are Jibitnil, Malapascua, Gato and other small islets. Its highest point is a hill in Hagdan at about fifty-two meters above sea level.
The island has three barangays – Langub, Hagdan and Bitoon – and a circumferential road constructed thru the countryside assistance fund of Congressman Benhur Salimbangon which benefited greatly the island residents. Main livelihood is fishing and seaweed farming for those who lived along the shores while inland, the populace eke out a living farming maize, cassava and other indigenous vegetable produce.
There are no surface fresh-water and people rely on rain and deep-water wells for their drinking and domestic needs. A power plant operated by the Cebu Electric Cooperative supply electric current to the residents from six in the evening to twelve midnight. There are three public schools and a private kindergarten school run by the Seventh Day Adventists.
The motorized outrigger boat took just under an hour to reach Guintarucan's white beachline and we regroup at the Rosos ancestral home located in Dapdap where we boil water for coffee and cook our breakfast. A typical balmy tropic island weather is yanked from the sky and this comes only right after a passing of a big typhoon and, in case you would want to know, this tempest is called “Juan” - a signal 4!!!
After breakfast, we prepared for our first activity – a caving exploration. Destination is Barangay Langub. We depart at nine. We walked for an hour and reach the cave high up on the hills. It is natural karst formation camouflaged by old fig trees. A molted skin from a snake greeted us on the cave entrance and that provide us a sign to be extra careful inside.
Droppings from several generations of cave bats have mixed with loam and water where a considerable population of cockroach thrive. Immediately, I backtrack for fear of getting tetanus on my blistered skin found between big toe and second toe. I am just wearing a pair of rubber slippers.
The bats were very numerous and they were now disturbed by the lights and flew wildly around our faces and that gave me an idea how to catch them for food. I will catch them the primitive way just like my ancestors did. Boy T went along with me and we stayed on the cave opening while the rest went on to the innermost chambers.
Then I hear inside the cave abuzz with the sound of numerous wings flapping and then the bats begin to swarm outside of the cave as they were spooked by my returning comrades. I positioned myself with a meter-long stick on the entrance like Barry Bonds and whacked each bat passing near me. I hit seven and four proceeded to dreamland. I bring the bats downhill intending to be part of my noontime meal but, before that, I named the cave as Cantingting Cave for documentation in reference to the owner of the land where it belonged.
We walked the the half-paved road into one of the best and unsullied beaches of Cebu Province where, during a rest in Pasil Beach, we were refreshed and inspired to explore another cave instead along the way. This time, it is much shorter and devoid of guano and a large bat population. What it made up for its lack of horizontal chambers is it has sinkholes and passages that are quite enticing! And as before, I proceed to document the cave as Cantita Cave before we leave.
We reach Dapdap and we prepared meal for lunch. Boy T took care of the mixed-vegetable stew and pork adobo while Taddy took care in cooking the milled corn. Randell and Jecris lend their cooking sets and their cooking stove to augment our Bulins while I concentrate on skinning the bats. I have not done this before but stored information from my grandpa began to sink in and I dispose the skin, glands and sinew from the meat and deep-fry the critter with garlic, onions and soy sauce.
We all eat lunch at the same time and nobody dared to touch the bat except me, of course. Who else but the cook would patronize his own cooking? The bat meat were robust and tasty and much better than chicken. In the end, everyone tasted a little of the meat for curiosity's sake. Oh, so much for adapting the dominant Western culture and those Leave No Trace bullshit that you get to bypass the best things primitive life offer.
As the heat became unbearable, everyone looked for a shade and reclined for siesta time. I cool my body instead into a clear beach on a high tide and stayed for two hours. I returned at three in the afternoon and everyone were already awake and Boy T is quite worried that he couldn't find a cold bottle of beer. I suggested instead a long-necked bottle of cheap light rum mixed with three 250-cc bottle of Cobra and we consumed five sets that day from four to nine in the evening.
A hospitable islander offered to us his catch of five juvenile giant Pacific clams, three oyster clams, two edible sea urchins, a common oyster, a leopard cowrie, three convoluted seashells and three wing-horned seashells which he caught while diving Guintarcan's depths. I brushed clean the seashells and boiled these in sea water, except the giant clams and sea urchins which we plan to eat in the morning. These were all consumed thereafter and dipped in spiced vinegar.
The power station failed that evening and the full moon was covered by a thick thundercloud that hover over the mainland. I removed the screwed cap of my giant Maglite and illuminated the front yard of the Rosos house where it became the center of our small gathering while the mixed-rum drink made the conversations animated and amusing. A slight shower became an excuse for everyone to disperse early and Ben and I have the whole yard to ourselves for the remainder of the night.
In the morning of October 24, I retrieved the sea urchins kept in a tub filled with sea water and eat it raw. From a log of gnarled jackfruit root, I began to split wood with my tomahawk to augment the disappearing wood that were used to cook our meals on an earthen hearth. I blistered my palms and skinned my knuckles “pumping” a considerable amount of firewood and I could feel the old lady appreciating my initiative.
Boy T boil the clam meat after separating it from the shells, slice it in cubes and mix it with spiced native vinegar. The meat is tender and the hot spicy vinegar gave warmth to our stomach. It is my first time to taste giant Pacific clam meat, locally known as “takobo”.
After that, we prepared for another overland trip to the fabled interior lakes of La-aw. It is about five to six kilometers distant from where we are based and, for the most part, we took the liberty of walking the beautiful narrow half-paved roads. About halfway, motorcycles-for-hire arrived and whisked us away to the direction of La-aw.
A side trail lead into limestone steps and walls and a narrow passage. We are now on the wildest part of Guintarucan where old mangrove forests and fig trees grow. We reach the first of the two “inland lakes” of La-aw but those really are hidden lagoons where the first tank is separated from the other by a narrow division of coral rocks and is colonized by sea grapeweeds (“lato”).
This place used to be a resort but abandoned by the owner. It is best left as it is without any structures. People will come here by word of mouth and, I think, this is a perfect place for a bushcraft lab. Giant fruit bats hang on tall tree branches and you could fish from the beach cove where it is accessible from the two lagoons by a short trail that snake into a cavern-like passage. The cove has low salinity level. We spend the rest of the morning of the second day here and consumed another set of a mixed-rum drink.
We leave at ten-thirty in the morning and I insist in walking the distance from the lagoon to Dapdap while the rest rode tandem on motorcycles. I am the last to arrive at 11:15 AM, giving me enough breathing space to rest and carve an outline of a wooden spoon from a piece of firewood. After lunch, I immediately dip at high tide and Boy T, Jecris, Ben and Randell joined me. Doing nothing for the rest of the afternoon, we dispatch another two sets of the mixed-rum drink as Taddy look something fresh and tasty for dinner.
Jecris, Ben, Kim and Randell decide to practice their singing voice on a nearby videoke bar as the lights went on at six in the evening. Taddy arrive with a half-full plastic bucket of rabbit fish (danggit) and we both prepare the fish while Boy T keep busy looking for spices. I took seven of the biggest fish and cooked them above an ember while Taddy and Boy T alternately cook the rest of the fish by frying it in oil and in vinegar.
After supper, it is just a matter of a few hours before we leave this paradise for the mainland. We drink again another two sets of the mixed-rum on the front yard and waited for midnight. We thank our graceful host and leave Guintarucan at exactly twelve amidst a very serene sea under a full moon. Our crossing the wide strait is very calm and we reach the other side an hour later. A bus arrive just as we set foot on the highway and carry us to Cebu City three-and-a-half hours later. It is October 25 and it is the barangay elections day.
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer
JPEG-generated collage from Powerpoint 2003
All photos taken from a Sony DSC-W220 Digital Camera