Friday, December 9, 2011

Getting To Know My Cebu to Calbayog Boat Ride

“Why do you all keep talking in English, is that a requirement? Is this ship also a call center? Di ba kayo pwedeng magsalita ng sariling atin?” so I jokingly asked the dude who accompanied me to my bed. With a smile, he said “aw not really sir, but we thought you are foreigner”! “Foreigner kayo dyan, saan ang restaurant” I continued the lively conversation. And he said “aw, walang restaurant dito sir, meron canteen banda doon” he pointed towards the middle-front of the ship. I said “saan, di ko makita” and he said “sa loob nung pinto malapit sa TV direcho pa kayo labas dun sa kabilang pinto ng tourist class”. Well, I liked it hehe. That would have meant I’d already be able to tour this ship just going to the canteen. But I said “hassle, its far and I will have to keep lugging my backpack going there and back. He said its okay to leave my things on the bed and assured me no one would touch them. Hmm, I wasn’t sure I wanted to believe that, he/they can’t possibly be watching everyone everytime hehe.

I asked, “why are the crews of this ship all young? Is that a requirement? The dude answered that they are apprentices just graduated from marine school. “So bisaya pala kayo, why is it that if not English, you speak in Tagalog” I continued my questions. And the kid said “kasi yun ang salita nyo sir”! Da! As if I got slapped with that answer hehe. Natauhan ako! As I laughed, I told him to speak to me in Bisaya from now on. Then he said he is actually Waray, from Tacloban. So I said, speak Waray to me from now on. And he did! He has a funny surname – “Macapobre” – and he even joked he wants to change it into “Macarico”! But I forgot his first name! Now that’s ugly. And I even teach that the sweetest sound to a man’s ear is his name. How could I have forgotten?! Age!

When I asked when the beddings will be distributed, he said there are none in this area (Economy) as those are only available at tourist class, business class or cabin. Nge! I further asked if we economy passengers could rent bed sheets or blankets and he educated me with a crisp “no”! Argh! “So I sleep on that bare mattress”? his reply was now a resounding “yes”! Awrrr! But he followed that up with information that I could actually have myself upgraded to any of the classes as soon as the ship departs. He told me to just look for the “purser”. And to that I said “so there are real employees on this ship after all”. He smiled and said “oo gad sir”. After a few more exchanges in this conversation and I learned too that on a fine weather like tonight, the trip does not really span from 7PM to 7AM as displayed in their schedules. He said we’d probably be already in Calbayog by 6AM. Whoahoa!

As we talked, I was playing with my lighter, and noticing that, he said “you can smoke here anytime, sir”. Nye! I clarified that asking “like here near the beds”? The answer was “yes, anywhere in this class of service”. I am a smoker yes, but I thought that was uncool. I think it is even dangerous. I am a smoker yes, but I hate the smell of smoke coming from anyone’s stick including mine. How much more if I was on my bed trying to rest? I am almost sure that is also how other people would feel. AND… I was at the rearmost portion of this ship, therefore, I surmised that when anybody starts lighting up, their smoke would be floating towards me before finally exiting out the rear portion of this ship. Gosh! Well, let me contradict myself… due to the topic, I suddenly felt the urge to light a cigarette. I quickly scanned the few people milling around or settled in their beds. NONE was ever smoking. Gosh also hehe. So I did not attempt just yet hehehe!

Some beds away, I saw brown boxes and 'bayong' with little round holes obviously ‘live chicken’ containers (okay, cages). Roosters actually, the ones that are ‘used’ for cockfighting. Ah. I learned sometime ago that there is a professional term for them… “game fowl”! Whatever that means, they are all chicken to me. As in manok manok MANOK! So that got me thinking and I asked the kind apprentice who was still with me to keep the conversation… “does that mean people can also bring dogs or cats, pigs, ducks, carabao, cattle or horses up near their beds”? He had a loud hearty laugh but explained that pets are usually allowed near the beds especially when the boat is not full like on this trip, but they must be caged. As he continued laughing he said definitely not pigs, carabaos or horses since it would be difficult for anyone to bring them up this level anyway! And he continued that downstairs is a fine place to put those big animals together with other cargoes and vehicles.

Speaking of vehicles, I knew from the time I boarded that this was a RORO but I asked how come there were no vehicles on this ship. He answered that it was just probably a lucky day for me that no one was bringing any to Calbayog. He did tell me that sometimes there would be trucks, vans or even tour buses boarding this ship either way.

Ah It was dinnertime and I was hungry. So I said thank you to the young seaman and I started off to wade my way towards the canteen that he told me about. But let’s get to that story and many more in my next installment!

1 comment :

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