October 7, 2008 — still in Cebu
WE LEFT the port of Cebu way past 9:30 p.m. I didn’t feel it any more. I was numbed from tiredness, not to mention that short 9-inch stint by the edge of the water. I couldn’t even look forward to being in Dapitan, which I was supposed to be happy about because I love trailing history.
That night, I was moving about aimlessly, not knowing what’s going to happen next in the agenda (if there’s any). All I knew then was we had to wait for 9 hours before we land our curious feet in Dapitan. Nine hours was a mixture of quiet agony, chats that almost lack common sense, outrageous banters, catnaps, checking boat exits and lifesavers, watching Betty La Fea from a television that’s located far from our double decks, and criticizing the unfriendly white paint of the vessel. It did feel like we were in a floating hospital.
At one point, we went out to see how the Cebu pier and all of it visible to the eye would look under the evening sky. The sight was, of course, extraordinarily good! The nicest view before one falls asleep.
In front of this Catholic church in Dapitan City is the garden map that residents there said Dr. Rizal made himself. (Taken October 11, 2008)
Goodness gracious, great balls of fire. If all fires are these beautiful, I’d gladly allow myself to burn. (Taken October 8, 2008)
October 8, 2008 — finally, Dapitan City!
I’m not sure what time I fell asleep the night before, but that sound the vessel made as it approached the small pier in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte was so attractive, it started my morning right. It means we’ve arrived finally. I could kiss the ground.
The sun was already preparing to rise from the horizon when I went out, armed only by a toothbrush, a toothpaste and my digital camera. I can see its golden rays beautifully highlighting the landscape, giving it that much-needed appeal a convention-delegate-trying-to-also-be-tourist like us would like.
Carlo and Malou, my best friend and the incoming president of JCI Puerto Princesa Kiao, were already at the corridor ahead of me. I went to the bathroom first to brush my teeth, and then followed them outside to see what the world has there in store for us.
It was a nice morning; breathtaking sunrise for very eager people like us to leave the pier and be where the action is in Dipolog. On second thought, a sunrise aficionada won’t let go of the chance to be filled with a kind of magic, the kind of power that she knew was from a Higher Being. To see sunrise is to be given a new chance at life. To live it and dwell in its gifts, more than seeing natural arts that depict fantastic subjects in a realistic manner.
Dapitan became an important site in the Philippines’ historical map even before the Spaniards came to Mindanao. The first settlers of the place were the Subanens from Indonesia. They’re called Subanens because they live along river banks. In Cebu last year, we lived for about three days at Subang Dako, or “big river.” Suba means river. Subanens — therefore, river people.
Save my life, lifesavers.
We failed to get good seats in the bus that comes one time in the pier to fetch GP Lines passengers whenever it arrives due to that sunrise gig. From the pier, we had no choice but to take tricycles to reach Dipolog City that we learned was still about an hour away.
Didn’t someone tell us it’s only 15 minutes away?
Docking at Dapitan pier, and cruising its main streets, made me realize that life in ZaNorte seems to be “living on the edge of, living at the edge of, living by the edge of, living in the edge of…”
The houses I saw by the pier stand so high on stilts, I wonder how their owners get down from them without being scared of falling. Even the homes we passed by in the highway appear to be by the edge of a creek, a salt-making farm, a hill — whatever. I’ve never thought of any place like this. Not even in my own province where I had braved treks in the jungle just to see the Pala’wans on my birthday some years ago.
Tricycles that only need propellers to jet to the skies.
The tricycle we rode alone, made me on the edge. They’re pretty much like our own in Puerto Princesa; the only difference is that they’re manufactured higher, making it difficult to clamber up and down with our bags.
My adventurous clone told me it’s alright; that it’s exciting to get on the escapade and not mind danger and paranoia. Never mind the fact that they run on land but makes you feel cruising the air space at a speed that makes your belly highly strung — like holding on to dear life suddenly had a LIFE of its own and it’s overwhelming emotionally. Awww!
It’s not easy getting to Dipolog via Dapitan pier, its roads, and tricycles, if you have your whole house with you. It may not be living dangerously, but you’re always courting the possibility of jeopardy to come and fool around.
Of course, this is not to say that I don’t like Dapitan. Any place that embraces history as part of its BEING is worthy of visit, of staying for a while. I may not be a great fan of Dr. Jose Rizal, yet since his part of Philippine History, someone who made life hard for me in college just to get to know him — why not?