Sunday, December 11, 2011

Roof Deck Dinner, On M/V Filipinas Dinagat

So, as said in the previous story, I excitedly went up to find the roof deck. Folks, for those who are not used to these boats, careful up or down the stairs. They’re narrower than normal, and in the case of M/V Filipinas Dinagat, its also steeper than usual. A bit tricky to negotiate – especially if you were carrying two Sky Flakes, a Coke in can, and that big paper bowl of very hot instant noodles. Add to that my backpack that perennially clung to my shoulders hehe. Watch your head too! Yep, the opening at the top of the stairs that empties you out to the roof deck is rather too low and it is made of thick steel, so you could break your forehead if not careful. Was I?! Secreeeet!

Anyway, there I was… on a fine breezy December evening… a cool moonlit but starry night… and I was on top of a ship ready to have my dinner al fresco! Lovely wouldn’t you say?! And all I had was a big paper bowl of 'Lucky Me' Instant Noodles – Pinoy Chicken Flavour! The thing was soup, appetizer and main course – in one! Well, at least two of my favorites were present – Sky Flakes and Coke – if its any consolation hahaha! Candlelight dinner? Under the moonlight? Naah, make that a thousandfold lumens! There are two big spotlights that hover from atop a post serving as illumination of this area. The effect? As if you were sitting in front of studio lights where all you can see are just the things behind you hehe! I tried sitting with that light on my back and I could not see my “dinner”! Oh well!

I came to this area with only 3 tables occupied. Or you can look at it the other way around – with 3 tables unoccupied – since there are only 6 tables! Each table has six seats around it and all are fixed to the floor. Anyway again, I settled on one such vacant table and got to the business of “enjoying” my wonderful “dinner”. At first attempt, I almost screamed as I think the hot soup burned my kissable lips and my talkative tongue! Argh! So I dropped it to give it more time to cool down in the coolness of this night. And I turned to the wonderful enough views. My goodness, I did not imagine, Pier 1 could be that busy during the night! Buses and trucks kept moving around the area, ships were mostly departing – many I think were of Cokaliong’s. Other baots sailing along the Mactan Channel were a fine enough view.

As I stood by the railings looking at some so-so fireworks lighting up over (probably) Mandaue, I told myself… there goes another expensive birthday or wedding party hehe. Then a woman’s voice behind me… “excuse me sir, are you alone on this table? Can we join you?” and I said “yes, go ahead”. I noticed they were part of about a dozen or so folks that occupied the other table to also eat noodles. At least they had loaf bread obviously bought elsewhere. They had two nuns in their group and they all sounded like teachers. I don’t know why, but I readily know teachers just by hearing them talk. I thought the two were a husband and wife who wanted to sit together since others in their group (including one of the nuns) opted to stand around their table. Lucky for me there were at least two souls beside my instant noodles. That meant my talkative tongue won’t be “stranded” for the night and my saliva won’t go stale again hahaha!

I returned to my noodles thinking I must have left it long enough for it to be just warm and as I sat down the woman asked if I was traveling alone. See?! I finally had someone to talk to! I said yes and the man followed it up with “is it part of your job?” to which I answered, that in this case, yes, though I continued on to tell them that I am a weekend traveler, that I love going around the islands. And they asked me more about those. Good that I threw in some questions for them on this 'getting to know you' portion of the conversation. Why? Because it got me to decide not telling them about this blog! Why? Because they could be one of those who disliked my honest story about my visit to their town (okay, city) – then they’d leave me alone and without someone to talk to on this fine evening hehe! Or they could be one of those who liked that story and pepper me with more stories to affirm my observations. Ah, I don’t like hearing negative stories – even if they corroborate my travel experiences. I want “the good and the beautiful” hehehe! Yeah yeah, I had to put that in a quote since I know Imelda said that first!

So which town (okay, city) did my new found dinner mates come from? Ah well, they are teachers from Guihulngan Negros Oriental. They were on the way to Calbayog to attend the funeral of the mother of their school director (they use the term directress) who hails from Calbayog. I actually know btw, that teachers of their age and caliber (I think the two had masters or even Ph Ds) are not fond of reading blogs if at all they still have time for internet. Just the same I opted not to tell them about that story I posted two years ago. I instead a bit drove the conversation towards their town (oops city, I mean) and I heard affirmations of what I described hehe! The muddy park is not yet done. Gosh!

Ah well, I did tell them that I have seen Calbayog a number of times and it is so big and wide compared to Guihulngan. That Calbayog also has a rather small city hall though its frontage is not where their ambulance, fire truck and dump truck would be parked hahaha! Yes, they laughed with me! They were surprised to have known that I have been to all the towns and cities of Negros Oriental and they were surprised I asked if they passed via Tangil.

Anyway, we talked many things else, like about this ship we were riding, about Mactan, about Liloan, about Bohol, about children’s choirs, about baye-baye, etcetera etcetera. I did challenge them to look for “kiseyo” or “quiseo”, “labtinaw” and my favorite “tamalos”! The two even stayed behind when the rest of their group trooped back to their beds following the older nun who said she wanted to rest.

Fun talking to them as our ship slowly inched along the Cebu coastline at I think the speed of a tricycle hehe!


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  2. Let a professional building contractor save you all the problems of figuring out how to complete your rooftop deck, the new one in your backyard, a roof or an arbor for it, or any additional features.