Friday, April 23, 2010

Marabut to Guiuan

It was not all beautiful… but there was fun too! At least, I got to experience another facet of life in these islands.

Alrightie, still happy from the Caluwayan experience, though partly seething at that “don’t touch the fish” admonition from the owner, I went outside of Caluwayan’s gate and waited for a ride to Guiuan. No no no, it was not his comment that made me go. As I said in the previous entry, it was the thought of being alone in a big resort with no one and nothing for the night.

There came a bus. Silently I said oh thanks, since it was a big one so I was sure it wouldn’t be cramped inside. It was a white and orange bus named Eagle Star. Oops, not air-conditioned! But I already flagged it and slowing down to get me. So I hopped in. Nge, I did not even look at the signboard as to where it was headed! Then again, I knew that anything going south should take me to or near to Guiuan.

Ah, there was something I immediately noticed inside that bus. The passengers looked disheveled. All looked like their last bath was days ago and they were either slumped or sleeping stretched across seats. Those that were either on the phone or talking to each other spoke Tagalog. Their manner of dressing were mostly layered – meaning there were sweatshirts or jackets, caps, bandanas, bonnets and the likes. I checked myself “hello, am I on a bus going to Benguet?” hehehe. No, I was sure I was in Samar. They spaced themselves from one another by taking rows for themselves. Only the lovers and mothers with little children sat close together. And there were too many luggage, some of them occupying seats too or strewn along the aisles. This bus did not look like it came from Tacloban or anywhere nearby! There were lots of those biscuit in cans or pails! Do you know those? The tin cans about knee-high filled with assorted kinds of biscuits and soda crackers? These days some are already in plastic pails hehe! Take note: in this country they pronounce that as “bis-quit”!

I asked the passenger near me where the bus originated. The reply was Cubao. Ah that explains it. These folks had been traveling overnight from Metro Manila. Wow! The time I joined them must have been for them a homestretch – which means they had been in their seats for 24 hours or more! And this must have been the dirtiest bus I have ever taken in the past so many years. The floor was full of rubbish I itched to raise my feet. Too many food wrappers, food left-overs, bottles, instant noodle containers. Gosh! As if to console myself, I just reasoned deep in me that at least, these passengers do not just throw their trash out the window! A yes, those bottles (plastic or glass) that keep rolling on the floor as the bus turn and tumble are irritating hehe!

Then I heard a woman (two rows front of me) say “me mga hapon na pala dito sa Samar”!. A companion said “baka nawawala”. So the lady called the conductor and said “tanungin mo nga yung sumakay na foreigner kung saan sya papunta, baka papuntang Tacloban yan, mapapalayo pa”! As the conductor approached me, I said “diri gad mana, pa-Guiuan ako” (am not lost ma'am, am going to Guiuan). Ack! That made everyone turn to look at me. The woman even stood up and turned to make sure it was I who was speaking hehe! So I smiled at everyone. Then she said, “aw kasiring ko… kababayan man ngayan” then she returned to her seat. Well, since the conductor was already in front of me I said “magkano?” and I paid the P70 fare only to a town named Quinapondan as the bus terminates there.

Might be apt to tell here folks that that is the general attitude of the Warays (and all Visayans for that matter) towards foreigners (or in my case, to those they think are foreigners hehe). They are always concerned about the visitors’ welfare though they will not be so forward to immediately talk to you. Example: she told the driver to ask me – instead of her talking directly to me. In the Visayas, silence does not always mean they don’t care! Am not sure if that’s being timid! I hope someone can tell me the correct term for this, ah… behaviour?

Now that was the opener! All near me started a lively conversation as the bus passed through scenic roads along the towns of Lawaan, Balangiga and Giporlos. I got interviewed again hehe. I have memorized and always ready to answer those questions as they are the same everywhere I go! Where are you from? What do you do? Who do you work for? What is there to see here? Then they would usually tell me about things they think would be nice for me to visit. Hey, even if I did not ask, the woman gave me detailed instructions on where to wait for my connecting ride onwards to Guiuan from Quinapondan. And yes, I still cant easily pronounce that! So its “key-nuh-pon-done”!

The wait was short and fine. I was able to have a glimpse of their town hall and church. Even got to watch a busload of youngsters getting ready for a performance. They told me they were the dancers on tonight’s campaign rally of Raymond Apita, a young lawyer from Borongan running for congressional representative of the province. Oh, the busload of kids was accompanied by a truckload of props, signages and workers and they have started erecting those at the plaza! After talking to two of those kids, I caught myself conversing with the lady who manned that sari-sari-store just across the road from back of the stage where the kids' bus and truck were.

OMG was I indirectly campaigning? Well, probably so! I was telling the lady... "it is about time this province is led by the well-educated younger generation. Those old politicians are backward thinkers and only care about what their families and friends (who supported them) have to say. Those traditional politicians are already devoid of any hints of pragmatism, objective thinking or forward thinking. They are weak in the sense that they can't anymore think of the province without considering the views of their political allies (who usually have vested enrichment interests) and they are cowards because they are ashamed to get/use/perpetuate the good plans of their opponents. They even make permanent enemies of their election rivals and think of every possible way to make them look bad or feel bad despite their being election winners. Those old folks come from olden ways of thinking and very dictatorial notions of leadership plus a very vindictive attitude - which forever divides the province into so many chunks". I was still about to continue my "discourse" when the bewildered lady asked, "bakit parang kilala mo silang lahat sir, taga-dinhi ka?". I just smiled and said, well yes I know almost all of them because I am very well read, I read everything about a place before I visit it! A hehehe, what was I doing anyway? Gosh! What was I doing?! No regrets... I happened to have researched and asked around about those 8 congressional candidates. Yes, 8 as in walo! And I think the lady I was talking to was satisfied with my "discourse" he hehe he he!

Soon came a van destined for Guiuan. Aw it was not Duptours nor VanVan. Argh! But it was getting late, so I hopped in. Well, what else would I have expected hehe, as we ambled along, everything in the van seemed to vibrate and squeak! Am not sure if that is still possible nowadays, but this van did not seem to have any shock absorbers or suspension. Hehe, it was interesting to note that my beer belly seemed to have been thoroughly worked out, ah hehehe! How so? Well, after the van turned right at the fine South Samar Coastal Road, everything was choppy all the way to the town of Salcedo where we had a short taste of good roads. But after that town, it was rough again until we reached the town of Mercedes where the van finally zoomed through to Guiuan! Hah! Well, let’s expect Raymond Operario-Apita becomes congressman soon and hope he will attend to that part of Eastern Samar!

Oh well!


  1. Bisaya are naturally hospitable. That is the kind of attitude that normally you don't see in the big cities such as Manila.

  2. i was laughing so hard while reading this entry... you are such a good writer... those small details that you describe are such invaluable info that a traveller will, am sure, find useful one way or the other. keep writing...

  3. thank you banyantree :) ok i will try to keep up!