Friday, December 28, 2007

There and Back Again: The Arduous Trip to Maasin

It was my fault. I thought the trip from Tacloban to Maasin, Southern Leyte was a mere 2-3 hours, so I made no preparations at all. Wearing only my PE T-shirt and jeans, and bringing only my digital camera for the task my father assigned me to do (plus a tiny mp3 player with earphones permanently attached to my ears), I went to the station to meet with my sister-in-law with my nephew.

The sky was overcast, and we waited about 30 minutes for the bus. The ride to Abuyog (my father’s hometown, where my in-law was headed to) was uneventful. The real trouble started when I took the bus to Maasin. From the town of Abuyog, there were no more vans available, only rickety buses coming from Tacloban which are usually filled to the brim with passengers.

I took a seat nearest to the door, the hard bench pressing against my bottom (which by the way, was only seated halfway because the man next to me was the size of an ogre and his ass claimed 75% of the bench area). I gritted my teeth and decided to just endure the ride. The problem was that the bus kept stopping and adding more passengers (I wondered where they planned to put them) and at one particular stop, an old lady got in.

I tapped her on the shoulder. “Lola, didi nala.” I said, offering her my seat. She smiled and took the seat. Meanwhile, it had begun to rain so they closed most of the windows. I was afraid I’d throw up, sandwiched by other passengers at the middle of the narrow aisle.

Finally at the stop in Baybay, a seat was available. I saw this particular side that was vacated. As the bus started to move forward, I realized why no people sat there- the seat in front of me was on top of the huge engine and the seat I was sitting on radiated heat. Great, I thought, I’d be lechon by the time I get to Maasin. I tried to sleep it off, but the seat was really uncomfortable. Ask my ass- she isn’t happy.

I arrived at my destination four hours later, with my bladder so distended I had goosebumps on my arms. I found a clean restroom and peed an entire river. As if on queue, my phone emptied its battery and now I’m stuck in a city I’ve only been to once when I was ten, with no contact with my cousins.

“Excuse me, asa dire pwede mag-charge?” I asked haltingly in the best bisaya I could muster (Waray dialect is different from bisaya, by the way). I negotiated with the lady in the eatery that I’d pay her an amount if she allowed me to charge my phone just enough to make a phone call. She agreed.

Finally, my cousins came and rescued me. We went to the two-storey property that was in the family for generations; my father had wanted me to look at as he was thinking of having the place renovated into a commercial space. So, being sent as the “architect” (note the quotation marks) I did my sketches and took photos and everything I remembered about site analysis.

The fun part came after the task, where Manong gave me a tour of the city. Cacao Mountain Resort with its falls was particularly lovely, so was the beautiful restaurant overlooking the pier. The city also boasted of a 17th century church and a Museum of Art and History, but the most noteworthy was the image of the Assumption of Mary perched on a hill overlooking the city. Think Rio de Janiero’s Christ the Redeemer (on a smaller scale, of course).

When evening came, I was confronted with the problem of accommodations. My cousins were worried I won’t be comfortable with the “boyscout set-up” they had despite my insistence, so they found me a place that was air conditioned. I would have wanted to stay at Cacao, but I didn’t bring my ATM card and I only brought 500 bucks (thinking I’d be home by the end of the day).

I left very early the next day, just leaving a note for my cousins. Unwashed, tired, and disheveled, I finally made my way to the highway to catch the bus to Tacloban.

6 more hours of bus ride, good luck to me!



Jonats said...

happy holidays thad! still cant believe ur almost 28, tanda mo na! :p gluck with ur journeys in 2008.

btw, my bro is also from up arki. do u happen to know someone named Jed Andrei? He's in 5th year now (and was president of UP Asaphil in 2006).

Phoenix said...

@ Jonats: lol! my student number is 97 41991. 1997!!! your bro was probably an elementary student during that time haha! Nah, Di ko na sha naabutan.

Happy New Year Jonats! All the best..

yuriki.kun said...

last pic = hot, painom nga.

sorry, couldn't help myself.

Phoenix said...

@ yuriki.kun: best part of the trip- cold beer hehe

Mark Xander said...

Fave pic = the last. Happy New Year, Thadie! ;)

Phoenix said...

@ mark xander: Happy New Year Markie! All the best for 2008..

Anonymous said...

im from maasin. m glad u visited our place. maybe i know ur cousins their.


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