Sorry, I know you haven’t heard from me. I was away sir, went on spontaneous vacation. Spontaneous because more than half of it was unplanned, yet it turned out to be one of the best ever, probably the best I’ve had as an adult, by far. It rivals my Cast Away experience in Samar, and that whole summer in Palawan with my grand folks – no parents on both, just unadulterated fun and freedom. With this one I actually got to check a few items on my bucket list. I went on a road trip sir, we traveled throughout North Luzon!
Day 1 – Oct 25, Thursday 7pm
My best friend and I planned on visiting our other best friend and her family in Nueva Vizcaya. Her guy’s leaving for the States early morning of the 27th. I wasn’t able to reserve a seat on the bus, it was raining huge mammals that day, main roads were flooded, my socks were wet, I haven’t packed yet, and we were leaving in 3 hours. I was stressed. So I opted to take chances and just go straight to the bus station mere minutes before the bus leaves (this was during the height of the travel season) I knew there were 3 buses leaving that night, so I was confident that we’ll get a seat. On the way, I was caught in the 7pm rush hour, heavy traffic all over, it was raining, my cab driver was a j*rk (pardon my French) and I ended up paying more than I should, I was on the verge of arguing w/ him but decided against it. I just took a deep breath and woooohsaahd.
The station was packed, at the ticketing (is that a legit word?) area a sign said all buses to Cagayan Valley were fully booked; we ended up as chance passengers, meaning you have to fight your way and woe the personnel who was giving out seats. We were targeting the 7:30 or 9pm bus to Tuguegarao. I didn’t know there were actually a few more buses that’ll pass by Nueva Vizcaya. Anyway, so I did queue and woe the guard while my character, especially my patience, was being tested the whole time. So was Bord’s, she’s in law school & came straight from her finals. I could only imagine her head swimming the whole time. Anyway, by 10pm, after standing for 3 hours, we were able to secure two seats.
Day 2 – Oct 26, Friday
ETA to Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya was 6am, travel time is 8 hours. I couldn’t sleep because it was unreasonably cold in the bus I could barely feel my toes. Accumulated gridlock we’re caught in was 4 hours. We’re further delayed by the number of vehicles traveling and poor road/weather conditions. We reached Bayombong at 12pm, our 8 hours stretched to 14. It was painful. The only up side was the barbequed hotdog in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya. Anyway, we’re greeted by hugs, smiles, dinuguan, lechon, and a “Hello tita Poo-choi” from my 4-year old god son (he actually remembers me! ^_^) needless to say napawi and pagod ko (I forgot my exhaustion). Plenty of catching up and baby talk emerged after.
Day 3 – Oct 27, Saturday 4am
We woke up to say goodbye. I didn’t like it sir, especially the tears and the reality that a family is being separated. A man crying and hugging his sons and wife a moment too long, it’s harsh sir. I know it’s necessary and it will make them stronger. Still, it’s difficult sir. It reminded me of my own goodbyes before. That’s why I hate airports (terminals in general) especially if I’m the one who’s going to be left behind. That eerie feeling that the house is emptier, or that silent drive home – I don’t like it one bit. I’m grateful they won’t be separated that long. I pray they’ll be reunited soon, real soon.
Day 4 – Oct 28, Sunday
We went to church, all three of us friends and a four-year old. Of all the tears I’ve shed in church, this was probably one of the most special. I saw one of loved ones gave her life to Christ. She raised her hands, and I was shaking beside her (usually happens when I feel the Holy Spirit – no joke). Yup, buhay ang Panginoon! He answers prayers and He is mighty to save :’)
Day 5,6 – Oct 29-30, Monday, Tuesday
Attention mostly occupied by Relic and Xyler, 4 years and 5 months old respectively. Probably the closest kids I would consider my own. Have this weird feeling that, in a way, there’s some sort of responsibility there. There’s a genuine delight when I see them. I dunno, but I love those boys. They’re also a grave reminder that getting old is inevitable. I remember the first time their mom told me she was pregnant, and then that tiny white dot on the ultra sound photo pinned on the fridge; funny how that tiny dot is now arguing with his mom across the room, and his brother is drooling on my shoulder. You look at these tiny humans and they actually came from your best friend’s tummy. The first time I saw Xy up close, with his little chin and lidless eyes, I was gripped by the reality that one day, a tiny human may also come out of me. That reality both shook and excites: to be fully responsible for another human being, now that’s scary.
The boys, photo by hismarge
to be continued…