Friday, November 21, 2008

Cabadbaran City

Many of you may not have heard about this place yet. I just wanted to pass by this locality as I was curious as to how could it have been a city! I breezed by this town once, some years ago and I wonder what mega-improvements or economic miracles have been done to make it become a city.

The trike ride from Magallanes was uneventful and I was at Cabadbaran in just a short countryside ride! Well, the road from Magallanes was good, so I thought I was in for a grand go-see of a never heard but beautiful city!

Entering the city proper by a road intersection, I saw an old house but renovated with new paint. Beautiful! But I knew I would just create issues if I asked to enter and see the insides of that residence hehe. So I stayed on the trike until we reached the end point of the trip – which is the “mercado”.

With no prior detailed information about this place (hard to get one), I approached a cop, yes a policeman in that blue uniform and a handgun on his side! I asked where the city center was. The quick reply was “this is the city center”! I almost laughed at my stupidity for asking a very general question hehe! So I asked were the church or the city hall was. Mr. Policeman told me the city hall was far at the other end of the city so I should take a tricycle going there. Then he motioned for me to follow him so he can accompany me to the town plaza where the church was. I said its okay I’ll just find it myself. I was surprised at his remark saying “samahan na kita, boring ditto” (I’d rather accompany you, its boring here).

As Mr. Policeman and I walked the about two blocks to the plaza, I courteously asked why he was bored standing at that corner. The very apt reply was “walang nangyayari, so wala akong ginagawa” (nothing happens, so am not doing anything)! I asked if he shouldn’t be happy that no crimes in his area. With a little chuckle he offered his view that if there are no crimes policemen should be assigned elsewhere. I was not sure I bought his idea but did not anymore refute him lest a debate ensue hehe! I thanked him for showing me the way.

The plaza
Well, this was the first open space I saw in the area without a merry conglomeration of big and small houses! This must be a fun place for the kids during afternoons. Grass, shrubberies and flowering plants are well obviously maintained. But there are no tall trees or big shades as of yet. Most of the trees I saw are still young.

The church/es
There are two churches that flank the plaza on two sides. To the back of Rizal’s monument is the Candelaria Parish Church. Closed on a Sunday noontime and was under construction so I could not enter. Another church (to Rizal’s right) is the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Catherdral of Our Lady of Presentation). Also closed.

Other sights
Well, for lack of anything to see why this place is called a city, I started to roam aimlessly lest I chance anything that will make me say “wow” or “omg”. Not quite a lot but let tell you a few:

Candelaria Institute
Well, I suppose it is really this since I saw the sign in front of the building that said so. The building am referring to, is an old Spanish-style two-level old wooden house that looks dilapidating. From the look of its windows and walls, I wondered if its floors have not yet crumbled hehe! BUT hey, they have started converting that house into a concrete building – at least at ground level. I was just so flabbergasted at the sight of such an old decaying edifice to be called a school hehe! I actually sensed “danger” at first. Aesthetically speaking, the second level of that building is appalling!

Old and New
Most of the beautiful old houses in this place are not restored to their original material or even look. When they start to decay, the folks seem to be bent on replacing them with newer, more functional and cheaper to maintain materials. So, give it more years and the memory of Cabadbaran’s olden days will totally disappear. An example is this house below. Some of the windows are now glass-paned (probably to maximize their use of that air-conditioner. One of the doors (probably originally a window) at ground level has been converted to an accordion style metal door. I wonder if that generally wooden structure does not vibrate like in an earthquake when someone rolls open or close that door!

Ugliest Tricycles
Close you eyes… imagine all the tricycles, motorcabs, pedicabs, trisikad or anything similar that you have seen all over the country, your neighborhood included. From the lowered style in Ilocos, to the big umbrella for a roof in Valenzuela, to the biblical sayings in Tagbilaran’s trikes, or Tanay’s trikes with reverse gear, even down to the portable/detachable tricycle roofs over at Cotabato’s ORC… Then see the pictures below! It seems that Cabadbaran’s trike makers/operators/drivers need to have a special review on elementary art and elementary science.

Art. Aesthetics is not just least-priority in their city trikes. It does not exist!

Science. The roofs are generally supported with a haphazardly concocted “any type/size of wood or iron bar” and they’re not aware it makes the trike even heavier. These vehicles are worlds apart in form and function from what you see on Butuan or Surigao City’s streets.

People
Now this is where I recoil from the above. The people I encountered in Cabadbaran are weirdly and delightfully different from what I have witnessed so far in many other places. Well, I might just have been lucky to have come across hospitable people. But what perplexes me was the consistency of their attitude towards me. I am almost ready to declare the people in this place surpass the meaning of “hospitable”! Really!

Remember the policeman above? Well, he might have been truly bored. But his eagerness to help me is/was after all not unique in Cabadbaran. You’ll observe these as I go through more of my encounters.

Lunch
I knew there is a better place (asked the cop about this), but my stomach grumbled as I roamed the street near Alson’s Fastfood. The aroma from their roasted chicken and roasted pork probably did it. So I hopped in since it was already 1130AM anyway. The style here is you point to all you want to eat and pay for them. Crew will deliver everything AS IN everything to your table. There was a line of diners so I queued in – about 4 or 5 people before me. I remember these:

Woman/Crew [bypassing three people ahead of me]: Hi sir, good morning…
…then whispering to the three folks “excuse sa ha, kay naa tay bisita” (pardon me but we have a visitor)
Stunned, I obliged to the seeming over-eagerness or even favoritism to serve me! And the three folks actually retreated from where they were to behind me! I did not say anything lest it all the more keep the line from moving. When I glanced at the three folks, they amiably smiled at me with a slight bow of their heads. I just thought “gosh, who am I this time, the congressman?”

To finish my orders, I said “coke, 12 oz.”. The lady shouted it out to a colleague who promptly brought the bottle to the counter. When I attempted to get it, another waiter (this time outside of the counter) lightly tapped my hand saying “we will bring it to your table, sir”. Hah! My constant smile was now almost a grin and I was bordering on telling them how corny they were. But I left them to it. Now I got a bit bothered… did I look like an invalid or a disadvantaged person to them? Golly!

Chose a table with a view of the food counter and the lechon/roasting station just across it. No sooner have I seated, my food tray and bottle of Coke arrived! The waiter was just behind me actually. I knew he waited a bit for me as I paid at the cashier! Here’s more, a girl was inches away from my table constantly swinging a stick with strips of plastic to ward flies away from my food!

The food. I will be a poor judge on how their food was because there was lechon with crispy rind and fish tinola the way I like it (not the sour sinigang Luzon-style). With those two on my plate, I forget to discern what is good food and what is not!

The place got a bit busier and I watched that the line was constant. And there I saw it again! When a caucasian male with local wife and their cute little tyke entered, the crew’s extra effort was obvious. This time they did not let the couple jump the line but called out to somebody else to attend to them. Ah well, in short, they asked those “visitors” to jump the line just the same!

Roaming some more
After lunch, soon as I stood up, someone ran to the glass door to open it for me. And I heard a chorus of “thank you sir”. This time I was the one who bowed to thank them sincerely! Whoa, I thought that bow was executed by My Royal Highness in a regal fashion hehe!

Groped my pocket… oops! I ran out of cigarettes! So I dropped by a store that seemed to sell everything. You know, where their wares are spread all over and hung everywhere that it’s not easy to move around?! And there were a number of folks in this store buying many things. My badness, there it was again… the storekeeper suddenly ignored the person she was attending to… asked the other people to move aside to let me in and asked me what I wanted. In less than a minute, I was done! When I glanced at the other buyers, the reaction was the same – a smile, a slight bow. I almost fell into an instant identity crisis! Who was I really? The priest?! Ahh…

Hailed a tricycle and asked the driver to take me to the city hall. There was a noticeable change in his facial expression. Then as we started off he said “ser, wala tawo doon, Domingo ngayon” (sir, there’s no one there, today is Sunday). I said it was alright, and that I just wanted to see it and take a few pictures. His wife and baby were by-the-way joy-riding with him. So I teased the baby and made funny faces as we moved along… no reaction… I was unsuccessful! The look in that baby’s eyes seemed to say “who/what the hell is this…” hehehe!

The City Hall
Probably the only reason why this place is now a city! At the time of my visit, it was in disarray – being reconstructed. And while you would see parks or things like those nearby other city halls, in this place there is none. Well, maybe it is yet to be constructed!

The tricycle driver
After a few clicks, I decided to go and I knew it would have been a long walk for the tricycle driver told me there are very few trikes in this area during weekends. I didn’t mind, it was still too early to go back to Butuan. To my surprise, he and wife and baby were just by the shade of a tree playing. I asked why they were still around; the reply was they knew I would have a hard time getting a ride so they decided to wait. They too knew I wouldn’t stay long in that city hall as there was nothing to see, so they anticipated that the wait would be short. Great! I asked them where else would be good to see or visit. None that they knew. So I asked that we go back to center of town. Driver said he would pass by another route (the highway) so that I will have a chance to see it.

On reaching the highway, I saw a yellow Ceres Bus. I asked trike driver where it was headed. He said Surigao City. I asked how long that ride takes and if there are many rides during the day. He said it takes about two hours and there are trips until late in the evening.

Then I suddenly cut my Cabadbaran City trike ride! I asked him to drop me at the bus stop as I have just decided to go to Surigao on the next available bus! Whohooo!

Oh well, next topic… my quick Surigao City tour!

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