Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hello Sto. Nino, Western Samar

“Oh wow” was all I could murmur as we approached to dock at this island-town named after the little baby Jesus. Yep, the Holy Child as they say in English. This island is not after all “little” and I had to correct my wrong impression judging from google maps earlier as we cruised. And this town is not really just one but two islands! Plus, a scattering of little islets. But we went just to the town’s main center on the big island. It’s a charming little seaside “pueblo” of fairy tale material as you approach it on a clear sunny morning.

Quiet, not so bustling, not so many humanistic nor vehicular movements… just a few folks going about their daily lives… and the sporadic shrieks of children at play nearby. Here I go again with my insatiable desire for the laidback rural life…!

Funny how people on this boat could talk to folks on-land with just their normal voices – even as we were still probably 20 meters away from the dock. This, I witnessed, soon as our boat’s engine was shut and the crews maneuvered us to docking position by using just a long bamboo pole. Ah what a serene habited place this is. Am not sure if I was just hallucinating, but I think the voices of those who talked were even echoing in the area. Way far from any tourist’s experience docking at oft-trodden places in this country! Even the chirping tones of txt msgs arriving at cellular phones could be heard by everyone in the area. Really wow!

My friend and his companions were still busy conversing about their project for which this trip was scheduled, even as we all disembarked. And with the boat’s crews following us, we like paraded in twos past the public market to a big 2-level house going left. What for? Breakfast – and OMG my kind of breakfast! The long dining table at second floor was empty with just a platoon of cups and a thermos bottle accented by that popular brand of coffee in sachets (3-in-1?). Someone went to the fridge to fetch pitchers of very cold water. I was quick to notice, friend was not touching any of those nor did he offer me anything, even with quick glances at me as they were still in those “official topics”. So I did not touch a thing…

It seemed my friend’s antenna & my radar were very much in synch this morning. When one of our lady companions tried to offer me coffee, friend was quick to reply in my stead saying “hindi nagkakape yan…”. And as if on queue, came the helpers of the house with big bowls of tinola, where the friend continued with “yan ang di nya palalampasin”! Obviously, we were first to grab the utensils and dive into the tinola! May I highlight again folks, in the Visayas, when one says just the word “tinola”, it automatically means fish – unlike in Metro Manila where it means chicken. Ehem, need I describe what transpired next? Hehe, all I can say is: there is nothing better than perspiring in the morning, but perspiring due to piping hot fresh fish tinola is infinitely much better than jogging or badminton hahaha!

Bananas cooked or ripe came, purple-colored rice came too. Grilled fish, some other local eatables, pineapple, watermelon, etc., also came, but I stuck with the tinola. Well, okay, I touched a bit of the “sinugba” (same fish as my tinola) that I noticed actually goes well with cooked bananas! Yeah yeah, the irresistible ripe mangoes I did not let pass! Although I think I did not even touch the cold drinking water, since I made the tinola broth its better substitute. Whatta royal breakfast! Only one little thing was missing, but I would rather tell you about that later.

Without further ado except the continuing technical talk amongst them engineers and local officials, when everyone seemed ready after the hefty breakfast, the group decided to hit the road to start their walk to the “site”. Friend asked me on the side if I really wanted to go with them as it entailed some walk to the end of a concrete road and a ‘foresty’ hill. Not that it would have been grueling for me, but I said I would just instead take the time to roam ‘town proper’ while they were out there busy in the wilderness hehe! So off they went to hike, off the boatmen back to the boat, and on I was at center of town to see more of Sto. Nino, Samar!

My first order of the roam? Address that one little thing missing I mentioned above. Yep, I walked to the nearest sari-sari store at the wharf for a bottle of Coke! Walked with it to the waiting shed by the waterfront, and sat there drinking it while also puffing my Marlboro Lights Gold. Royalty. Burp!

Oh hey, I could not really actually literally allow myself to just sit there blankly, right? Yeah, as I sat there, my curiosity was already being titillated by many things around me and further away. But let’s do that next, shall we?!

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10

ISSN: 2516338.375-0802


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