Monday, July 20, 2009

My Tanauan Visit

Manila to Cebu via Ormoc: Tanauan

Out of the Mac Arthur Park, I rode a trisikad out to the rotunda so I could get a jeep ride going to Tanauan. It was a leisurely ride as I told the driver no need to go fast. Somewhere on that road, I dared exchange places with the trisikad driver. The thing starts heavy but cruises easily once it gets moving. Just the same, I still huffed and panted at what I was doing. The platoons of army recruits jogging in the area even cheered for me to go on. Many of them shouted “go go go, you can do it” and they were all clapping! Whew!

On arrival at the corner fronting the BIR building, I stopped and asked how much. The reply was “six pesos”. I silently protested but did not say anything. Imagine that, if I were the trisikad driver, I would be exerting all my energies on the pedal only to be paid six pesos? But I knew that if I said anything to that effect, it could start them thinking to raise prices and the locals might not like it. Whew!

Okay, hopped on a jeep bound for Tanauan. That is pronounced tan-a-wan, and hey remember I was in Leyte, not Batangas or anywhere else! Purpose? Nothing. Just to roam around hehe. A kid* kept looking at me I was not so sure why. When I would glance at him, he would quickly look elsewhere. I finally caught him and our stares locked, he smiled and asked “you speak English?” Smiling back, I said yes and asked why. His proud reply was “I speak English, we study that in school, I am grade three”! So we talked and I kept asking him about what to see in Tanauan. When struggling for words, he would tug at his mom’s shirt for help. Fun!

Jeep arrived at the market as its final stop. So I got off and crossed to some kind of an “everything you need” store where half is a dry goods store while the other half is a bakery that served snacks and rice meals. It was past 1PM so I had lunch there.

After lunch I rode on a trisikad to the church. It’s an old church but everything inside is now daintily refurbished with modern materials like the floor that slopes down to the altar is all tiled. The altar area floor and walls are marble! Outside, while it has seen some modernization in terms of materials used to probably repair things, I liked it that the total look of the church is still old and unassuming. By the way, the church’s depiction of Jesus’ stations of the cross is uniquely crafted. All are carved from slabs of wood and painted with bright colors. The “frame” of each slab is painted gold and the captions are in Spanish! Nice!

A block away from the church is the municipal park dedicated to Jaime C. De Vera. Funny I have never heard of him so I read the historical marker in the middle of the clean green grass. Okay, he was the first Filipino governor of Leyte and a delegate to the first general assembly and probably a linguist as the slab says “DIREKTOR NG SURIAN NG WIKANG PAMBANSA”. Big trees surround the park and nice to see that some folks there spend their siesta under the trees!

Nearby and facing the park is an old old building though it looks like still in use. The inscriptions at the top says “TANAUAN PRESIDENCIA” Its driveway is used as parking area by a hauling truck. The total look of that fa├žade seem to indicate that no mayor will like going to or coming from it everyday. So I asked a policeman who just finished his meal at one of the shacks across the building. Yep, there are a lot of them makeshift stalls lining the side of the park just across the presidencia and for me they seem to ruin the total calmness in the park. I got my reply from the policeman and was shocked to hear the truth that indeed the building was still the municipal hall. He probably noticed that my face changed when he told me about it so he asked why. I plainly said it was ugly! Then he explained further that the side we were looking at is now the “back” of the municipal hall. Government erected an annex at the back of this old building and made it face the other street parallel to the plaza. That “other side” is now “front” of the municipal hall. Funny! So I skirted the building and yes, it’s a new and handsome-looking municipal hall – probably the only one that faces away from its plaza! Unique eh! Nevertheless, I would say to the mayor “watch your backyard”. Since it faces the park, it should be as clean as the front!

I liked looking around town seeing the many old wooden houses. I do hope they maintain those but I don’t know how since wood really do rot in time! Maybe use cement that looks like wood? Hehehe whatever! Ah there is a new public area by one bank of the river just a step away from the bridge. Could not make out on what it was since I did not stop there. A new transport hub? Well, a few steps from the bridge, I could read the name of one kiosk that says “TANAUAN TOURISM AND INFORMATION OFFICE”! There is a police office, a fire bureau, senior citizen’s office and another in construction. There was a bus yes, but too few people in that area.

2:30PM, time to get out of Tanauan and I had to do some “mental discussion” as to where next should I go! I had many options. Should I hop into the next towns of Dulag, Mayoga, etc?... will there be good accommodations there?... should I go back to Palo and catch a ride to Ormoc?... what do in Ormoc during the night?... or perhaps hop to the northern towns of Sta Fe, Jaro, Carigara, etc?... same question, where do I let the night catch me? Ah the winner… get back to Palo and roam a bit, head back to Tacloban and see what the night can offer there!

So, goodbye Tanauan! I hopped back to Palo.

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