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Posts Tagged ‘cebu’

IT’S BEEN so many weeks since I got back from a trip to Dipolog City to attend our national convention. It wasn’t one of the sweetest travels I’ve had lately within the Philippines, but it was certainly unforgettable.

Beautiful sunrise in Dapitan City. Taken on October 8, 2008.


Dipolog isn’t Dipolog yet if you’re coming in from the ocean via slow boats from Cebu. The boat docks in historical Dapitan, a second class city in the province of Zamboanga del Norte. It is historically significant as the place where Dr. Jose P. Rizal, our national hero, was exiled by the Spaniards during their colonization of the Philippines.

I have stories about Dapitan, but let’s backtrack a bit as I want to (I need to) recall our Cebu gig that only lasted from 2 p.m.-9:30 p.m., and yet, felt like a lifetime for me.

Our arrival in Cebu in the afternoon of October 7 was welcomed with a mentally shocking thud made by the Cebu Pacific plane that landed on the airport tarmac like a taxi with broken wings. I couldn’t stop myself from being nervous. Remind me next time not to watch National Geographic Channel because it’s there were I’m getting all my paranoia about riding planes — INVESTIGATION OF FLIGHT so-and-so CRASH — who wouldn’t be obsessed with paranoia?

In the same blog that I had posted here in October 2006, I recall complaining about the same incident; Cebu Pacific planes land like the pilots were trained to maneuver taxis. Right now, however, it’s the only airline that offers the best travel fare… so why not?


This isn’t really the prescribed sleeping position at GP Lines. I wonder why they all had to face that wall there… hmmm… maybe SLEEP is there?


Cebu is the second fave big city of this irritatingly trying-to-be-self-confident-itinerant (hahaha!). I’ve always been amazed by the Cebu International Airport’s vigorous and forceful quality. It doesn’t make me think of what else is living and breathing outside its perimeter — crazy. Yep, I had been told!

I can live inside the airport, and I’d feel comfortable unlike Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) in that comedy-drama-romance movie The Terminal. As long as nobody chases me, or forces me to leave, or do latrine duties, I can probably do a LIFE there.

From the CIA, some of us (we were 7 in the group) packed ourselves in JCI Sen. Bobby’s Palawan Pawnshop car. We didn’t fit so Ian, Malou and I, hailed a taxi to reach Estancia. He has a house for his staff there, and if we decide to stay, we could.

I’ve been to Cebu a number of times, but I think it’s the first time I moved on foot there. There’s nothing spectacular in Estancia except for the water dispenser we found in one sari-sari store that has a hole for a coin before it allows a drink. That was a first encounter; the idea can be picked up in Palawan… probably!

The whole street is only a slight wider than J. Abad Santos Street where I live. The only mighty difference is that my house is in front of a barangay hall with a basketball court, while JCI Sen. Bobby’s house stands next to a line of small stores that sell different kinds of things — from Good Morning mineral water, to spare parts, to fried and grilled chicken, etcetera.

Friend and grilled chicken… ewww! Not ewww because the food’s horrible; I just realized I’m dead hungry. Super hungry, my goodness. All of us were.

We all left the place with the possibility of acquiring the wickedest kind of all psychiatric conditions as we were all delusional about FOOD, FOOD, FOOD… none of us ate before leaving Puerto Princesa. We couldn’t stop — no way, we still had to endure to find the office building of Cokaliong and GP Lines and get our tickets first to get out of the place as soon as possible. Susanne, Carlo, and Bong have an academy to attend the next day.

At about 4:30 p.m., with tickets carefully kept somewhere in the jungle in Malou’s bag, we headed to SM Mall to finally eat. We were so hungry, we all look like fried chickens to each other. Susanne gave me that stare I didn’t like. Hahaha!

“The proof of the travel is in the adventure,” this thought kept running in my head quietly because I don’t want everyone to hear it from the facial expressions I was making the whole time. We only stayed in Cebu for a few hours and yet, like what I’ve already said, all the hassle made me feel like I’ve lived there a thousand years. I wish I was back at the CIA as it was my connection to Palawan — besides, I like it there.

Quarter to 9 p.m. was the best laugh I’ve ever had that day. It was living on the edge of insanity. I think food didn’t do me good because I still think crazy.

By this time, a bus of the GP Lines had taken us to the pier. Upon reaching a terminal building there, it made a U-turn and stopped at the edge of the water. My calculation brought me to realize that I was only about 9 inches or so away from falling into the murky sea. It was night time, for dios por saint!

Talk about living on the edge, I got scared. I had to warn everyone to move carefully when they go down as I don’t want the bus to keel over with me sitting by the window.

Next stop… TRIP TO DAPITAN.

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I SHOULD be writing Cebu Interlude, Day 2 as a follow up to my Cebu Interlude, Day 1. However, I’m taking a pause to give way to what I want to say to a newfound friend in Naga, Bicol Province who has become special to me in many, many ways than one — M.B. whose trust was broken.

Ending a friendship on purpose isn’t common, but it’s necessary. Drifting apart happens even when you were once close friends: people move, life circumstances change, priorities are shifted, jobs lost or found… individually, we all change, and friendship changes too. Sometimes you lose touch and move on. Other times you decide to say goodbye and cut off all contact because friends have destroyed your confidence in them.

Whether it’s deliberate or a matter of drifting away, letting go wasn’t made to be easy. It’s always hard to do.

Some friendships are fundamentally weaker than others, such as those that are not based on likenesses or honest connections. They do not last very long, especially if the reasons for friendship are not genuine. Trust is one thing that keeps friendships afloat. When it’s not present, or if it’s broken, nothing is there for friendship to hang on to.

A few years ago, I’ve also cut off all contact with at least three friends whom I thought I can trust and were good. I didn’t feel respected when I was around them because I couldn’t speak my mind and can’t find space in our conversations to say anything at all. A friend should leave you feeling happy, content, connected and hopeful. But when I was with them, I always come out feeling depressed, frustrated, exhausted, depleted or angry. Who wants to be that kind of person?

Like what you’ve experienced, they broke my trust too. I thought I could tolerate them along the way, but I’m only human, my capacities have limits. They’ve scathed my emotions badly, I can’t just sit there and take everything doing nothing.

In the beginning, it was sad — especially because I’ve grown accustomed to their presence in my life. There was a time I thought I could never do things without them. That I can never be whole without their support. I thought they’re the wind beneath my wings, instead they broke my flight. Why else would I remain friends with them?

My heart and my mind are one in believing that all relationships are fragile alliances. That’s why they’re built on trust, faith and common understanding. A small error of judgment, a dent in the links of trust can bring everything crumbling down. Nobody should even begin any idea of friendship if she/he is not prepared to give these three requisites: TRUST, FAITH AND UNDERSTANDING.

When friendship brings more harm than good, it’s better to end it. Despite predictable consequences — one is you’ll grieve and feel pain fully (like I did, you’re not alone there) — it’s perfectly fine to choose goodbye. Take time to mourn over your loss. Cry, dig a hole on the ground and shout, hit the pillow (not the person), play rock music at its loudest possible, curse (not within hearing distance of anyone) — do whatever it takes to get all rage and sadness out of your system. Let it all out so that you can move on from these destructive feelings, and for you not to harbor negativity that you might continue to carry if you do not release the bad feelings.

Afterwards, move on. Enhance the remaining relationships you have with your other friends and build new ones. Time and again, in every ending, there is a new beginning. Life never runs out of people whom we can become good and trusting friends with.

I’m maybe in Palawan, but I’m here for you.

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NO MORE SUGAR: Carlo and Rogie with me at the Philippine Taoist Temple, Cebu on October 13, 2007.

IT WAS bright and sunny when Emilyn and I landed at the Mactan International Airport with a loud thud. That was October 9, Tuesday, I thought the tires of the plane would be separated from where they’re attached. Cebu Pacific pilots really land their planes like roaring taxis in EDSA. I was caught unaware, the feeling’s so intimidating.

But I was excited too. Not only is Cebu a dream place, it’s also where my brother Carlo lives now. I miss him so much so a meeting with him and his girlfriend Rogie is possible as soon as we’re all free from our own busy schedules. He’s assigned in Boljoon — strange name, I don’t know where that is exactly in Cebu.

From the international airport, Emilyn and I, and another friend, Maj. Junios Fernandez, hailed a taxi to look for Subang Dako where Singson Village is located. It’s where we will live for a couple of nights before we decide to transfer to a hotel. That is if we want to.

Subang Dako means “big river” in Cebuano. I thought it’s funny because “suba” also means river in Cuyunon, the ethnic language my family speaks. Sounds familiar, I told myself grinning. The only difference is that “big” or “dako” is “mabael” in Cuyunon. Subang Dako would be “mabael na suba” to us.

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Mactan Cross is in that building behind me.

We found Subang Dako a little over 1 p.m., Emilyn and I were so hungry but we didn’t want to disturb the owner of the house anymore by preparing late lunch for us. We told them we’d go to SM City and look for something warm and soupy. She and I just had mooncake all the way from Puerto Princesa, it wasn’t enough. Too bad Cebu Pacific is no longer serving free lunch or snacks.

We’re in Cebu because we’re attending the 59th JCI Philippines National Convention hosted by JCI Cebu, Inc., an all male local organization management. It will begin tomorrow, October 10, to October 14. October is always the time of the year when all members of the Junior Chamber meet. If I’m not mistaken, there’ll be over a thousand attending, and we’re excited to meet some of them, especially those that have become our sister LOMs.

At SM City, Emilyn ordered fish stuffed with eggs and tomatoes inside its belly from Island Grill. No, fish for me. I’ve been eating fish at home all the time because my father is not allowed to eat meat. I ordered for grilled liempo and requested for a manageable bowl of tinola. Major Fernandez ordered fish too, but it’s not dry. It has this pancit-like noodles that grow in the ocean.

I couldn’t eat grilled liempo without vinegar with a bit of patis (fish sauce) and garlic so I went back to Island Grill and requested its female food server for it. She entered a door to the kitchen, and when she got back she handed me soy sauce (toyo made of soya beans). Then I was struck by the thought of what my brother told me before. When in Cebu, patis is toyo. If you want it, you’d better ask for Rufina. Geez…

From the SM City food court, Emilyn and I lingered for a while just watching the scene inside the mall’s shopping area. No time to shop. Besides, we’re on a tight budget. But we did check out some iPOD models and mp3 players, telling ourselves we’ll buy one if we have extra money.

Major Fernandez had gone ahead of us to the pier where he would be boarding a vessel that would take him to Leyte to celebrate his father’s birthday with his family. The boat would leave at 5 p.m. His father was just hospitalized a few weeks before he left. Now that he’s well, my friend thought it would be better to spend time with him. I agree.

Since it’s still pretty early, just past 4 p.m., Emilyn and I decided to go up and see what movie’s showing. We saw Brave One starring Jodie Foster, one of my favorite actresses, and I thought we shouldn’t miss the chance.

The movie’s about the story of a woman who was seriously hurt in a mugging incident in New York. Her boyfriend was killed by the muggers when he tried to stop them from harassing her. A radio talk show host, Jodie’s character tried to go to the police so they can look for her boyfriend’s killer who also stole their dog. But the police station was so busy she decided to take matters into her own hand. She bought a gun illegally and started saving victims just like a vigilante.

There’s a black guy character whose an investigation officer, who, if not because he respects the law, would also like to avenge the death of a mother of a little girl. Jodie killed that guy. The movie has twists and turns that were all exciting until the end. If I give all, no one might see it. All I can say is it’s three thumbs up!

From the movie house, Emilyn and I went to Starbucks to wait for the Cebu afternoon fade slowly into nighttime. Cebu glitters like Manila as a big city. I think I like Cebu better because I feel safe in the place. I’m not intimidated by taxis like in Manila.

They said that in the Philippines there are many poor people. If you’re in Cebu, you won’t think that because it seems that they’re all in the malls. You see them eating, shopping, playing in the arcades, etcetera.

At about 10 p.m., we went home already to Subang Dako. It’s another day, and it’s not bad at all. Not bad at all to start a week in Cebu.

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