Friday, September 7, 2012

To See The Sarakiki

Excited, I arrived at Calbayog early (about 11AM) from Catbalogan City. I was told the day before that this parade starts at 2PM. I went early just the same. First stop, the city’s tourism office at the famed Handumanan Building – which is a Calbayog Landmark in itself (as I said in this previous post). Whoa! The entrance and hallway was littered with parents, children, yayas and drivers doing some final re-touches to their costumes and makeup. Most of the kids seemed to be members of different marching bands. Hmm, kakaiba ha?!

Entering the tourism office, I saw a fairly adult man busy on a computer just a few inches to the left. I somehow knew what he was busy with, computer games! When I asked him if this was the tourism office (obvious ba?) he hollered for a young lady to attend to me. Young lady courteously and excitedly entertained me, told me what I needed to know and answered my questions (e.g., the museum was closed for renovation). I glanced at the computer, old man was busy playing “chess” – well, at least I can call it progress, since most I see at government offices in this country are still playing solitaire!

In the course of that little conversation, I surmised that the young lady must have been an intern from some university. Probably a tourism student. But I liked her rapport and eagerness to inform. She gave me that map of the city, that program of activities for the parade and a list of participating groups printed on a legal size paper. Whew! 21 elementary school marching bands, about half that number for high school marching bands (I think it included college/university level) and finally the cultural showdown contestants, about 9 of them (or less). Caught the tourism girl trying to txt/call someone, and she told me to hang on for just a while. I realized she was trying to check from some boss, if I could be allowed a seat at the stage. My eyes grew big in appreciation of that effort, but I kindly declined and told her I would be happier watching on the sides!

Crossed to the church, and OMG it teemed with children, parents and teachers all busy preparing for the parade. Too many of them from the sides, to the front, to the insides of the church. Now that got me wondering… maybe marching bands are of a different level or category in this city compared to others we commonly see everywhere in this country, even Catbalogan where I watched their fiesta parade last month. More about these marching bands later.

I wandered around the city center, gravitating towards eating places as it was already noontime. OMG mana margie! Every joint I remember as good to have lunch were full to the rafters! Well, I suddenly remembered this was fiesta time hehe! For some reason, I felt like I was in Lukban again to watch the Pahiyas. Ganyan kadami ang tao sa lahat ng restaurant, turo-turo, coffee shop and fastfood joint! Fiestas in our times have really evolved far and away from those we see in history books! Well, at least at urban centres.

I decided I would ride a trike to somewhere north of the city, hoping restaurants or eateries there would be somehow a bit less crowded. Good that a friend in the city that I was txtng with told me to stay put as I might have a hard time crossing back to city center as the bridge will soon be closed (or already). No problem there, I decided I would hit the turo-turos south of the city instead, near grand tours that I saw earlier when I arrived into the city. But voila, I found something else…

Isla Cafe! It’s a fairly respectable cafe in terms of ambiance, imitating the famed coffee joints. Much like, or some degrees more rural than Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or Bo’s Coffee, but swankier than anything coffee-shop in Samar, if you know what I mean. There’s flat-screen TV showing cable channels, there are glossy mags, there is wi-fi… and there is one side awash with delicacies much like Charito’s Delights hehe! I have passed by this place a number of times and i think I saw that they are serving lunch, so I went for it!

The pork steak (strips actually) was fine enough for me. It came with a free iced-tea which the tummy does not like, or anything sour for that matter during the early hours of any day. But these are hard times hehehe, the mind prevailed over the tongue who was craving for coke! Hey their tiramisu capped everything to a smile. We formally call it “graham cake” at home (when there are visitors) but that is a.k.a. “fidgerator cake” when I and the nephews and nieces discuss it! I suddenly remembered all of them eating my Isla Cafe Tiramisu! Why? Because that is just the way we whip it with the kids – bumabaha ng condensada hahaha! As one connoisseur (a.k.a. killjoy) cousin calls it… “amateurish”! But that is just the way we kids like it (me included in “kids”) hokey?!

And it rained! Awrrrhh! The gloomy cloudy skies finally dropped it! All I could say was “punyeta naman, there’s a parade in the next few minutes, ba’t ngayon pa”! So I stayed put a little bit more watching this fairly old house across – which reminded me that even the building where this cafe was built is actually also a fine old abode! Hmm, Calbayog heritage advocates, I know there are a lot of you, better start taking these houses into stock and document their beauteous pasts as they are morphing fast into ugly practical urbanities!

Hey, I think someone up there heard me hehe. After a spattering of lightning and thunder it went down to a fairly acceptable intermittent dry and very light drizzle! So I went to the city hall area where the parade starts and ends!

That’s my next story, c u there!



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