strangers in the night exchanging glances

I just got back from a very interesting trip.

A friend of mine invited me to join his team’s GA in Alcoy, about 80Km south of Cebu. I was supposed to meet them at the bus terminal at 10AM. But, seeing as I got home from my shift at 930AM, I missed the appointment. I woke up around 8PM and rushed to catch the last bus. Too late. The only one left was a non-airconditioned bus. I spent the next 2 hours with my face doing something like this:
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And then I got distracted by the passenger next to me. He was watching a UFC Match on his mobile phone. I don’t care for UFC but Mr. Passenger is of the hawt kind and he wanted to share the show with me. He asked me where Im going and I said “Alcoy” and he just stared at me. I was so enamored by his reactions to my attempts at Cebuano that I missed my stop. By about 20Km. I immediately panicked and asked to be let off the bus.

According to my phone, there was no cellular service and the GPS indicated that I was in the corner of Dumb and Fuck.

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According to Mr. Passenger, I could still get a bus going back the other way. That was not entirely correct. After 30 minutes of waiting in the dark, I was able to get hold of a passing motorcycle headed for the next town. See, this is no habal habal. This was just a guy on the way to the fiesta in Boljoon. I told him my story and he agreed to take me to Boljoon but said that I was on my own from there.

About 20 minutes later, we got into a town awash with lights, people and festivities. Time for me to get off.

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I asked some guy what the festival is for and he said it was for their lady of something something.

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I went to the really old looking church where I was immediately swarmed by old men selling candles to be offered at the festival.

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I bought several and prayed for my safety. And by several I mean I bought 50 fucking candlesticks and burned them all.

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I don’t know if it was the power of prayer, my stomach growling or a combination of both but it was at this point that the guy I asked earlier about the festival (let’s call him Brad, pronounced like ‘Blood’ but with an R), approached me and spoke in broken tagalog. “nag kain ka na ba, brad?” (have you eaten, bro?). He then showed me to a tent right next to the church, behind the flea market, where they were sharing a modest meal. I politely declined and said I must be on my way to Alcoy (living in the city makes you distrustful of free food).

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He then offered to help me find a tricycle. I got suspicious and pretended to appreciate it and took a picture of us. If this would be my last night on earth, Im taking a picture of my probable murderer.

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We eventually found one tricycle willing to take me halfway to Alcoy (he was slightly drunk and slurring and didn’t want to risk driving off a cliff - if that wasn’t a lesson in irony, I don’t know what is). Brad offered to come along for the ride as it was not safe to walk alone. I was thinking ‘Oh crap! He’s walking with me when I get off!?“ but I had a strange inability to say no. He came along for the ride.

The town of Boljoon, along with its lights disappeared as we drove through a winding coastal road and went behind a limestone cliff. I was at the end of my wits.

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I then spent the next half hour stopping the trike to ”take pictures of the scenery“ (I activated the GPS Tagging on my phone as evidence of where I was taken)

A limestone cliff.
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The coastal road going around the cliff.

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The trike dropped Brad and me off next to a seaside gazebo.

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I checked my phone again and hallelujah we have service. Problem is, nobody is picking up their phone. Everyone was either asleep, drunk or in the beach. I checked my phone again and found I was already in Alcoy and within walking distance of the resort. Walking distance being 7Km. I told brad I was good and that he didnt have to go with me. He asked if I was sure and I said yes. Brad left with the drunk trike driver and I was alone again.

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I waited for the trike to go around a bend and beyond earshot before I looked up and thanked God I was still alive. Then I saw the stars. A whole sky full of them. I always knew we see less stars in the city but the sight of a billion twinkling lights still overwhelmed me.

My phone had already died so I walked in complete darkness, save for a lamp post or two, for about 2 hours before I reached a store and asked for directions.

The resort was half a kilometer away. =)

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The 15 minutes it took me to walk that half kilometer was spent reflecting on the night’s events. How a conversation with a stranger sent me on a series of encounters with people. The man on the motorcycle who took me to Boljoon. The candle peddlers at the church. The drunk tricycle driver. And Brad, whose intentions turned out to be nothing but Altruistic. My stomach was growling and I was suddenly wishing I had taken Brad up on his offer of food.

This journey started out as a spur of the moment attempt to quench a thirst for alcohol and ended up becoming a life lesson for me. To say that the destination does not matter as much as the journey is cliche but this time, for me, it could not be more true.

btw I also had fun at the beach.

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2 comments:

Polymorphine said...

LOL, at the corner of 'Dumb and Fuck'

cabagona said...

parting thought: I just realized the candlestick offering totally worked!