Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh Marabut!

I finally went there! What a 'small, laid back' place... and I think I like it!

Going there
I was on my way to Guiuan (Eastern Samar) to see Calicoan Island when I suddenly remembered that the vans pass by the town of Marabut in the province of Western Samar (more formally called just Samar). So, at the Duptours terminal in Tacloban, I asked if I could ride their vans going to either Guiuan or Borongan but only up to Marabut. The reply was “of course, sir” – and that was said in English ha?!

So, on a bright sunny morning, I was on my P100 front seat ride to Marabut, Samar! What is there anyway? Well, you can browse the world wide web to know. As for me, I always say… I am not a caveman nor a highlander, I am just a “townsfolk” and a true blue “son of a beach”!

Along the way
Going out of Tacloban, I did a quick surf about Marabut. Thanks to my Omnia. I find nothing interesting on that ‘always under heavy traffic road’ exiting Tacloban towards the north. And mind you, there is no other way, no parallel side streets – unless you go by water – towards the San Juanico bridge. So, I took the chance of doing a quick browse. See?! Before we could even approach that long bridge, wading in slow traffic, I already had four targets in Marabut… 1) The town center, 2) Jasmin Beach Resort 3) Caluwayan Palm Island Resort and 4) Marabut Marine Park Beach Resort… not necessarily in that order. I was resolved to stay in any one of the resorts should I feel the need to!

Crossing the San Juanico bridge from the Leyte side to Samar side never fails to amaze me. So I was happy to have been on the bridge again. Looking directly up front though is not as fantastic since you face the sun. I have already known this… mornings, nice view crossing from Samar to Leyte… afternoons, the reverse. The views of the San Juanico Straight on both sides of the bridge are always exhilarating though.

The van heads right on that famous fork after the bridge. I like passing through this part of the highway going to and a bit beyond the town of Basey. I always muse that the engineer in charge of constructing this road must have barely passed his board exams. Its fine concrete all right but your vehicle keeps bobbing up and down amidst a lot of little smooth depressions. They’re not too deep and not too long, thus, easily discernable. Ah, to cap that little up and down motion, every approach to every bridge is a steep climb of the vehicle (sometimes as sharp as 45 degrees) and everyone hears/feels the thud when tires lurch over that joint between the road and the bridge pavements. Hehe, going down those bridges are the same “sensation” hehehe! It is such fun for the passengers (esp the younger set) passing this road, though I hear from drivers that it borders between irritating and dangerous. I still like it hehehe! By the way, Basey is another town worthy to visit not only for this road but for its history, natural wonders and industry (banig = mats).

The town of Marabut
I planned to get off at the southern edge of town. I knew there is that waiting shed after you turn right at the end of the poblacion with a nearby kilometer marker that says zero. The many times I have passed by this road, that “km 0” marker already got my curiosity as it stands on a silent corner (of the highway and a little street almost parallel to it) instead of the common practice where “km 0” is at or near the municipal building.

So I got off… that means the van already passed by and I saw glimpses of the marine park, Caluwayan and center of town. A father and son were just about to ride their motorbike and paused to look at me, definitely an unknown in their town. I smiled and asked where the church is. The father said good morning and pointed me to a corner where the church he said would be on the right. So I walked on. OMG, by my roaming around this country, what I saw was not a church but a chapel in terms of size. And it was even either being renovated or still under construction. Now that got me thinking… if the nearby town of Basey has that grand and old church, how come this town just has a chapel half the size of that McDonald’s store in Eastwood? Aw hehe, sorry for the comparison but that’s what came to mind!

Ah a group of folks (neighbors?) were huddled in front of a store and I didn’t notice they were watching me take pictures of that small “church”. As I passed by, one of them was saying “e di tanungin mo” and suddenly followed with “what’s your name”! I knew it was about me, but I thought that guy was telling another person on what to say. I continued this time heading towards their municipal hall. Then they laughed and I heard one of them say “diri maaram mag-englis” (doesn’t speak English) and the same man jokingly said something like “wachingachinga” to mimic an asian language while everyone laughed. A girl was walking in the same direction I was. We looked at each other and smiled. Then I said to her “ayaw aringasa ha, kasiring nira diri ako maaram mag-englis hehe” (just keep quiet, they think I don’t understand English). And we giggled!

The municipal building looks like an American era house converted to be so. Or probably it was just designed to look like one. It’s not really big nor grand, but for a town this small, who needs a palace? It sits in the middle of a wide expanse of grassy lawn with trees and flowering plants which makes it cool and beautiful! Hmm, why couldn’t all municipal or city hall’s frontages be like Marabut’s? Grass instead of concrete. That would be fantastic! Anyway, my camera had two problems here… 1) the sun was still low behind the building, and 2) there were people resting at various parts of the frontage. Thus, I could not take good shot of the whole “Pamahalaang Bayan Ng Marabut”!

Went into a door on ground level and saw municipal offices with not so many people. I think the front-most was a municipal assessor’s office or something. I asked where the tourism office was. They said there was none. But one lady suggested I go up to the Mayor’s Offices as they were at that time having a meeting and everyone there could help me. I recognized one girl was with me in the van. She even said that the other women with her are in that meeting. I decided not to barge into that meeting. Who am I anyway hehe!

Moving out and away of the “pamahalaang bayan” I saw monuments at the opposite end of the grass. I approached the uncommon one since the other seemed to be Rizal. Oh, so this was in the past a sitio of the town of Basey. This was Sitio Lipata that became Barangay Sto. Nino and eventually became the town of Marabut in July 22, 1949. See, I learned something new again! Now I also know that Marabut is a surname. Of who? Secreeeet! I also now know about Grefiel, Ferreras, Amantillo hehe! See?!

Oh, from that monument, the greenery of the municipal hall’s surroundings make it look like an elementary or high school building. Oh too, facing the building, to the left (just across Rizal) is their yellow Legislative Building and to the right is the big green roof of a gymnasium or covered courts whatever! Oh too too, the women upstairs having a meeting? They were beside and behind me in the van from Tacloban… and for exactly one hour, I heard so many “tsismis” that they were discussing especially about Barangay Osmena! Don’t worry ladies, am not telling about it here hehehe!

Alrightie, I walked to head back to the highway, but crossing the bridge, a family caught my attention. They were on the father’s boat plucking fish (mostly “sapsap”) from a very long net and tossing them fish into a yellow plastic pail. I asked for permission to take a picture… granted! Remarked that their catch could easily be 10 kilos. The father smiled and said probably even more or even double! As I watched them, another son in his teens arrived with green pail half-full with the same kind of fish. The father asked what happened. Son said the buyer (vendor at the market) only got 5 kilos and won’t take any more of their fish. Then father said “baa, kinahanglan ada kita hini mag-ice” (baa, we may need ice for these). Ah, that moved me!

Crossing the bridge the younger of the two policemen called on me waving his hand. He asked that if I wouldn’t mind could I kindly tell them what it was that I do. I said am just roaming the country and I take pictures of anything that interests me like their municipal building and the small church under construction. The older policeman offered that they have a bigger church but its not Catholic, its Aglipayan (hmm, why did he sound like he was sorry telling me that hehe). He pointed me its direction and it was on my way up unto the highway. Yes up.

Children were playing with a can and their slippers in the middle of a street. I know that! I played that when I was young too! In samar they call it “tumba-lata” but in Manila its “tumbang-preso”. The youngest of the girls smiled at me and said good morning, sir. Hmm that was a sweet and sincere greeting… I could see it in her face. And I returned the greeting. Error: next I asked if I could take a picture of them. Everyone rushed as fast as lightning to pose for my camera. Ahhh, they won’t go back to their game while I was still around. All were still ready for a lot more poses. Lesson: I should have just immediately snapped my camera on sight of them playing tumbalata. No need to ask for permission. In fact, when I started to move away, they were first to say thank you. I should have been the one thanking them… and shame on me, they were first to thank me!

Oh well! Next stop, the resorts!

1 comment :

  1. this entry made me smile like those kids in the last picture.

    u even took a picture of that oddly placed KM 0 marker! i love it that u share this small detail. this sets you apart from other travel blogs that ive read.

    inspiring kau imong off the beaten track travels sir like this one! i'l probably follow ur IT if mo adto ko og calicoan/guian someday if makatigum nako. i really wanted to go to homonhon jus to see that rock with an inscription chiseled by magellan's crew did2. is homonhon worth going para nimo?

    btw, maka intriga ang imonng pagka anonymous blogger. cge jud ko og wonder unsa kaha imong job? kay i want to be like u nga mag cge og travel(: i think ur a journalist, or u work for a cultural agency(?) but naa man sad hints about ur age. heheh!

    i admire u alot.

    God Bless u!