Monday, May 7


Om and I had been eating home-made chorizo for breakfast in a Bacolod pension house last year when Angelo Reyes shot himself in front of his mother's grave one sunny Wednesday. As pathetic Manile├▒os are wont to do, we learned of the news because we next brought our laptops to the dining area so we could go online and check things. We were probably on the 20th to the 25th hour of the bus ride to Ormoc yesterday when, in his window seat and verdant mountainside alternating with wide blue seas in the background, he started giggling. "What does 'offloaded' mean?" he asked, and I told him, "Ha?" after which he giggled some more. Funny that there was giggling at all in the trip, when half the time, I was imagining the hotel bedsheets and longing to sleep, for a change, in a horizontal position. Thirty hours, count 'em, and, of course we questioned the soundness of the plan. When I woke up somewhere in Catbalogan, he said I just missed the San Juanico Bridge. "Tulog ka kasi ng tulog e." I looked at him long enough and fervently enough, then I grabbed his phone and saw the tiny blinking dot on the map that was still a centimeter or two away from the country's longest bridge. Longest, which is to say this route. We half-joked about the silly ways we could turn this into a story. The Longest Route to Ormoc, I said, and I imagined the scenes inside the ferry, with all the (assertive) commerce, including but not limited to the many magtatahos and manicurists onboard. The characters presented themselves in the motley crew of our fellow passengers, such as Ate Assertive, Ate Assertive 2, Ate Mag-Isa, Bibong Konduktor, and La Familia, who, the bus hardly gaining speed in SLEX, took out a bucket of fried chicken and started eating, turning the bus air greasy and our erstwhile suspicions of this being a long trip from literal to also quite figurative. What was the real news in the trip so far? That I can withstand grueling 30-hour bus rides with fewer complaints than my tummy. That Filipinos are a beautiful people. These, and that Om can always have the window seat.

1 comment:

  1. Pray write more about your travels, ser

    (and of the songs blasting along sea walls).