Sunday, January 8, 2012
I HAVE NEVER BEEN to Ubay, Bohol but, today, I'm gonna change all that. Yes, the today I mean is the night of October 14, 2011. Tonight, I'm going to board a boat from the Port of Cebu for Talibon, Bohol – my first time. We leave at 10:00 PM but I already slept an hour ahead on a cot too small for my frame.
Yeah, it really is small and I remedy that by changing position: with my head at the bulwark side and my feet hanging at the end. Simple. Improvise and adapt. BTW, I am an “outlaw bushman” and I mean what I write or say.
The boat arrive at Talibon the following day – October 15 – at 2:00 AM. Since it is too early and too dark to find my way through unfamiliar territory, I decide to sleep for another two hours. I wake up to a beautiful red dawn instead after I rubbed sleep from my eyes. Oh yes, give me that camera please!
I walk in the early morning from boat to terminal and sat on an aging public jitney that would take me in the fastest time available on a land known for a creeping sense of time. I don't mind. I am ahead of schedule anyway. My official itinerary says that I would be at Ubay by 7:00 AM and I have already a surplus of one hour!
The jitney did leave at 5:30 AM and it rumble its way along the highway passing by Trinidad and reach Ubay at exactly 7:00 AM. Immediately, I need something to eat and look about Ubay's own distinct taste but found none and gets consoled instead with the biggest “ukoy1” that I have seen and eaten.
After the meal, I look for the fabled sea produce of Ubay at its wet market. I carry with me a rectangular Tupperware® inside of my Baikal 35-liter backpack for this purpose but I was disappointed. I meet instead a meth-head who signalled to me that he sells amphetamines! Shucks! I could only shake my head of why and how this vice reach this far.
From afar, I see boats secured along the single wharf of Ubay and I understand that this town is the gateway to Bato, Southern Leyte. I'm tempted to go over the waterfront area but I need to go to the National Dairy Authority fast as I am not here for leisure. I hire a motorcycle and am brought to Calanggaman in less than 30 minutes by the driver.
I introduce myself to the farm administrator and commence my work taking pictures of the government-owned dairy farm. The ranch is pure pastureland set on rolling terrain and small catch basins. It hosts a small dairy plant and a milk-storage facility is undergoing construction.
After that, I transfer to Lomangog and visit the Philippine Carabao Center where I am able to drink fresh carabao2 milk sold in plastic bottles. I order four more and finally get to use the empty and bulky Tupperware® that I have been carrying all along. Finished with my purpose, I directed the driver back to Ubay to do sightseeing and souvenir hunting.
After taking refreshment at a local bakery, I snuggle myself inside a van-for-hire that is bound for Tagbilaran City at 10:00 AM. The route would pass through the eastern and southern part of Bohol that would host places whose names sounded so sweetly and very familiar from what tales I heard of long ago from my grandparents and their acquaintances. Places that I have not been to and have not seen since.
It is such a treat then to be given an opportunity to cruise by this sun-splayed land of wide open spaces, chocolate hills-like mounds and robust streams that are populated by smiling inhabitants who loved to pronounce the letter “y” as a “j” and the “k” as an “h”.
It's just a shame that I could not use a camera due to the enclosed design of vans that keeps cool air from escaping but does not really cool the passengers at all because all are packed like sardines and air could not circulate freely. Sweat comes down from somebody else's forehead as the cramped space and lack of movement take its toll on the body.
I really hate riding in one. It would have been better if the windows are kept open but women don't like the idea of having windswept hair and caked makeup so it is kept shut. Never mind if the engine is overheating and some foul air from someone's behind is released.
Fortunately, by my location nearest the door, I am able to inhale natural air every time a passenger disembark or going in to ride. Sure, it is taxing to a person of lesser ability in body and mind but I welcome the disturbance. The breeze cools me as well as giving my body the needed blood circulation.
The van arrive at Tagbilaran at 12:30 noon. Since it is too early, I decide to visit again the PhilHealth office in Mansasa which I last went to two years ago then pass by the ThreeSixty Pharmacy in J. Clarin Street to leave a package before ending my time in Bohol reading a book at the fastcraft terminal.
As I was reading, the Apostleship of the Seas in Tagbilaran celebrated a mass inside the terminal and I ditch the book. Assisting the dear priest is another priest from the Archdiocese of Seattle, USA who was with a group of Catholic Americans doing pilgrimage. After that, it's time to leave Bohol again and the vessel leave Tagbilaran for Cebu at 4:10 PM and the in-house movie entertained me so much that I chuck the book again.
By the way, I came to realize at mid-sea that I have completed my circumferential journey of Bohol two years late. In October 2009, I arrive at Tagbilaran and travelled overland to Talibon. This present trip closed this chapter when I arrive at Talibon, thence onwards to Ubay and, from there, Tagbilaran; churning out a distance of more or less, 560 kilometers.
You know what, my complete tour of Bohol Island took two years in the making compared to the twenty-eight years3 I did for the island of Cebu – my home province. Maybe, in the years to come, I would replicate this feat in other island provinces and not just step on one place and brag that I had been there and done that in Lakbayan.
Anyways, this blog ensures its readers and followers that Warrior Pilgrimage is also about adventure travel and it may also try the not-so-travelled circuit routes in the future as in the case of the islands of Palawan, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi or Sibutu as part of its itinerary. Let's just cross our fingers that PinoyApache will accomplish these and bring goodwill among the inhabitants.
Document done Libre Office 3
1Shrimps or anchovies baked in thin flour and eggs and fried in oil. A local delicacy in the Visayas.
3June 28-29, 2009: going south and north and back to Cebu City. One stretch of road is left untravelled though and that is the coastal highway from Bogo to Tabogon to Borbon which I passed on January 4, 2011.