i guess you begin it with a question.
but the pain from burning my shoulder in the trip from balut island is almost gone. my nose is already peeling, and already had a day of davao air in my lungs. i am left with only tiny little memories of the trips that i need to write now, lest they be gone forever. (i can almost imagine mamsyeb: see i told you...)
damn! roger was right when he said, "ok sana itong lugar namin... ang layo nga lang talaga" i was about to say, awwww c'mon roger, you are being humble... "malayong malayo talaga!" we left davao at the first hour of saturday and arrived in lebak 12 hours after. we took the tacurong-isulan-bagumbayan-kulaman-lebak route, across highways that stretched on into infinity, rough roads that shamed the 20 minute rough road portion of buda in 2002 into oblivion, and of course the sweet smell of the lady (tempered with red horse aroma) at the front seat of the jeep which we rode. it was as if, i lost all feelings with my butt, my lower back was damned painful too.
when we arrived, we were greeted by the hot afternoon sun. so what's in lebak? well there's the kiosk (a rotonda present in well to do cities and municipalities in sultan kudarat and cotabato... there is one in matalam), the munisipyo, the market, and the people.
fun after the run:
i never knew how important the people could be in a vacation such as this. i believe the trip was well worth it because of the people i was with and the people we met in lebak. for starters, there were she-she, myra, monsalas, richie and me. we arrived in lebak to meet roger and perry too, the wife of roger, arlene and their daughter gerlyn (i wonder how she got her name?), perry's girlfriend matet (the pair we were having fun of asking the question as to the date of their marriage), and richie's family, who hosted our last dinner there, and the countless faces and conversations we had with the people.
there were just two sites we visited: the hot springs of brgy nabulian (that is a left turn after poloy poloy, the barangay where mon was born), which soothed our weary bodies on saturday night; and balut island off the coast of kalamansig and lebak. but the company made the vacation, well perfect!
it was really nice coming home to a simple place like lebak, where there is only one lawyer, gilbert (whom we blame of taking away our post balut hot springs dip...) of which the only municipality in sultan kudarat that is not pre-dominantly muslim, ilonggos rule the day there, where gringo honasan made his earlier initiations to war-fare, where datu pax never won... and other stories that endear the town to its inhabitants, where tagalog is the easier way of communication.
amidst dinner of alimango, pasayan, and beer, we talked and joked about anything and everything in roger's place. next day richie hosted dinner with native chicken tinola, talakitok sweet and sour and emperador brandy.
i guess that is why mon comes home every so often. it is because he is in fact so much part of the place as they say, people from lebak LEave and comes BAcK! corny but o so true.
but the journey wouldn't be complete without the coming home. with two kilos of alimango and memories colored with friendships and good relationships, we trekked our way home via the kalamansig-cotabato fast craft and the cotabato-davao route. left lebak at 7a and arrived at 6.30p.
it was made all the more interesting with a new found friendship. of which i would smile my widest and at this point just remember those three hours we spent in quite lively conversation.