Day 6 – Oct 31, Wednesday
Our day started at 1:30am. Bord was invited to Tuguegarao by a church friend the day before. I wasn’t supposed to come, but with a little talk and a few tears I decided to tag along, besides Pagudpud and Laoag were at the itinerary, you don’t say no to that. I thought why not? I’ve been on a road trip down South many times before, saw the majesty of Mayon at the break of dawn, this time why not see the land where my grandmum came from.
You know how God allows things to happen? Allows you to feel things, say things, go through things that break you & make you extremely vulnerable then gives you a something special after? This is one of those sir. Being vulnerable is a strength, and allowing yourself to broken before the King and His people opens up to a field of break-throughs. I learned that the tough way sir. And I’m still not comfortable doing it, I don’t think I’ll ever be. But that’s beside the point.
Anyway, we’re catching a bus at dawn, Bord was in contact with Kuh-kuh Dave, another friend who’s already on that bus. At 3am, we said goodbye to Pochoi and the kids. She was too sleepy she wasn’t responding properly, which was a good thing: no dramas. Anyway, so we didn’t know where to wait or where the bus will stop, there were no cars, no humans, and no streetlamps whatsoever. The only sounds were our voices & the dragging of my suitcase on the pavement. Bord was a bundle of nerves. It was cold and creepy. Our situation was so ridiculous it was actually funny. Thankfully the moon was full and was more than sufficient light. We ended up waiting in a gas station. Stars were visible. Now I’m from the city, and I’m lucky if I get to see 5 visible stars in a cloudless night. To see the whole of Orion and not just his belt was a treat. Sitting there at the dark, craning my neck to see the north star, randomly singing Kid’s Praise tunes, it was actually peaceful. Well, except for Bord whose stress level heightens every Florida (that bus with purple flowers & ginormous side mirrors) that passes by 🙂 One stopped for us, we thought it was it, conductor said there were no seats, we had to stand until the next few towns, my head screamed NOOOOOO! Thankfully it wasn’t the one. Our bus arrived at 4am. Two front seats were empty, the ones just behind the driver. *raises hands* buhay ang Panginoon! Do you have any idea how rare that was during Halloween season??? Anyway, so another 4 hours to Tuguegarao.
It’s known as the hottest place in the country, the sun’s high and at your face it’s painful on the skin. I never planned on going there, the night before I didn’t even want to come. At 8am in Tuguegarao my phone died, I have no charger & only P200 to last me the next 5 days. Major panic mode. I’m no stranger to living by grace, but when you’re in a foreign-ish land, no control over where to sleep or eat or what to do next, then you must be pretty secure to something outside of yourself. Mantra in my head: “The Lord is my shepherd, I will not lack in any good thing…repeat” Anyway, my sister (which I’m sooo blessed to have) sent me some money, but I never got it until Sunday. I, we, more than survived though, and it was more than good company, all thanks to Kuya Manuel. That afternoon we drove to Isabela for Pancit Cabagan – a must try! Plenty of laughs and teasings went on the entire trip. Bord was our resident entertainer – Kuya Manuel and Frankie’s butt of joke ^_^ Every single cell in her body is happy. I’m still not used to that after all these years, probably because I’m more exposed to the subdued version of her. I hope I’ll never get used to it. She has this innate ability to draw people towards her & make them comfortable. I envy that about her. I hope she knows that her life is a testimony, regardless. I mean, she’s one of the main reasons I was sold out to Christ. Pretty soon, I know people who matter to her will see that as well.
Day 7 – November 1, Thursday
Pagudpud bound, best road trip I’ve been to – probably. That drive to Pagudpud was the moment I knew this trip was a personal gift from God. I was reading the first few chapters of Silmarillion the night before, amazed by the parallelism and subtlety of Tolkien. But my goodness! I never knew I’ll see a glimpse of Middle Earth the day after. Cagayan Valley is soooo beautiful. It was Shire after Shire after Pelennor Fields. There were fluffy clouds, the silhouette of Sierra Madre, & it was Misty Mountains! After every few minutes we passed by Cagayan River and all I can think of was “Anduin! Anduin!” It was feast for the eyes sir. Eru Ilúvatar is such an artist. Wow! just wow!
“Anduin” (Cagayan River by frankie)
(all nature photos courtesy of frankie)
to be continued…