Wednesday, November 3, 2010

child play: masbate, dangerously beautiful

i looked at my ticket again and read 5:15 AM.

it was already 3:45 AM,and without any sleep, i have decided to go straight to the domestic airport from tomas morato, after having countless bottles of beer (again) with my bedan blockmates. i have been officially baptized as the "ultimate kaladkarin" of the group

i flipped the next page and read another name printed on it. my supervisor instructed me to wait for this guy at the airport and he will introduce himself there.

when i arrived it was already 4:10 AM, and no familiar face was on sight. i tried to contact him and a man with a deep voice answered the phone, apologizing tremendously for being late.

he arrived right after the last call. i already failed to profile him for we immediately rushed towards the check in counter. the clerk told us that we were just in time, the gate was about to be closed. we only had the chance to talk when we were boarding, he introduced himself as M. he also works for the same company as i am but in a different department. he also seldom goes to the office, no wonder he is not familiar.

it actually took me a while before i was able to ask him what will his role be in our current task. he smiled and looked at me.

"i will be your BG," he answered.

i caught myself really surprised. it was actually the first time that i will have my own BG, at least for this project.

he explained that the area is relatively risky for someone like me. though i know how to speak the language, it is still not enough to handle unexpected situations. right that very moment, i already thought of enrolling myself in a martial art class.

we arrived in masbate at exactly 6:30 in the morning. we went straight to the hotel we are staying, reviewed my itinerary and proceeded with all the necessary retrievals required.

masbate is a province in between the island of luzon and visayas. but it doesn't have any hints that it is detached from the main land luzon for almost all familiar establishments are present there. it almost reminded me of my dad's hometown, sorsogon, that also made me realize that my ancestors are actually rooted in the island of ticao, another island of the territory of masbate.

i called my dad and informed him that im in masbate. but i never thought that ill be more surprised than him. for the first time, he was really concerned. for the place has a reputation (whatever that means).

then M told me that aside from its beautiful beaches, masbate is quite famous for its insurgencies and numerous ambush attacks. but i was never bothered since our intentions were not something political and besides, the conotation for the leftist groups has never been an issue with me. i know these are just one of those black propagandas.

we went to the centro to take a ride going to our area. there, we were given an option to either take the tricycle or habal-habal, (a trip, where 3-5 people are forced to fit on a single motorcyle). of course, i took the tricycle ride for i know it will be bumpy and dusty; and with the equipment i am carrying, falling from a moving vehicle down to a rocky road is the least thing i want to happen.

on our way to the area, i saw a number of passing habal-habal, that made me realize that it is really the most popular and cheap mode of transportation in the area. it costs around Php10 per person while the tricycle can soar 'til Php50, but what really got my attention were the mini buses.

its your typical provincial mini buses, where most passengers are outside the vehicle. there are even kids on top of each. actually, i was a bit intrigued with them. for aside from being only around 8-12 years old, without any adult supervision, each of them were also holding long and dark pellet gun and shot guns. cut soda bottles, attached with a piece of string, wrapped around their heads, covering their faces. their movements could tell me that they were aggresively and anxiously waiting for something or someone.

then i noticed another set of kids that were standing along the bumpy and dusty road, also holding pellet guns. in an instant, they were swiftly clicking their guns and firing at each other. a good ten shots flew at both parties. when the mini bus made a good distance, each party posed a series of aggresive poses, insulting each other, as of resembling to the cracking dance.and the same scene continued as we drove along.

but what made it more surprising, was that no adult riding the bus, reacted nor opposed of what happened. it was as if nothing really happened. and during my entire stay, as i go back and forth to the area, the exact scene repeated over and over again.

somehow, it made me remember the film, cicade de dios or city god.

then i realized, if this is the kind of child play, someone has been exposed to while growing up, no wonder the place has already enveloped a negative reputation.

in such setting, ambush or any violent attack, regardless of how irrelevant they maybe, will eventually be deemed legitimate or ordinary by such society.

ironically that night, we attended a town fiesta activity, i clearly remembered one of the lines the provincial education superintended said in his speech. he describes masbate as dangerously beautiful.

please be reminded that i do not intend to write this entry to throw bad words against the province. i just want to point out an event that seems to be invisible to the locals. i am not questioning any morals nor traditions. perhaps, i am just trying to send an inquiry across, expecting an opinion back.

another surprising scene in the province were the kalboys.

or kalyeng baboys (akala niyo ha?!).

unlike the domesticated pigs i used to see from the places i have been. the kalboys in masbate are free to wander around the perimeter of its owner. it runs with the dogs, whenever their master call and feed them. they chase each other and sniff things new to them.

i can just imagine how manila or other nearby provinces will look like if such treatment to pigs is enacted. vegans will definitely rule!

relatively, there is no night life in masbate. so i decided to just stay in my hotel and think of anything else to do. but i failed. the day was so boring for me, that it lived with the province name, literally. hahaha! kiddin!

paano pa kaya sa trip ko sa panay??? hahaha!
after masbate, we rode a fast craft going to sorsogon then legazpi city!

despite numerous times, i have seen mayon, it still never fails to awe me. its even more breathtaking if you'll look at it above.

nung highschool ako at wala pang jolibee sa aming baryo, sikat ka na kapag kumakain ka dito--- sa quick n' hearty. hahaha!


rudeboy said...

Ohhh Masbate.

I passed up the chance to go there once. Heard it's a beautiful place, but woefully underdeveloped like many other provinces in this benighted land.

I've seen the habal-habal, though. Clever contraption, but only for the adventurous.

I'm still intrigued as to what you do for a living, ewik. All this cloak-and-dagger stuff goes way beyond development work.


wanderingcommuter said...


so your in the country now?! hehehe.

if you are really up for a chest pumping experience, habal-habal is a must.

lets just say, i wander for a living. hehehe. nice to hear from you again, rude boy..

Mu[g]en said...

Ano ito Wiwik, travelitza ka na ren? Wahahahaha!

♥N said...

Amazing - my family roots are from the island of Ticao as well! ;)

You know my dad said the same thing about Masbate. I've always wanted to visit there whenever I am home in the Philippines, but every time he always says it's too "dangerous" to go. Your description of it that it reminded you of the City of God makes me want to rethink going there hahaha. They can probably smell fresh [balikbayan] blood. :P

Yellow Bells said...

ang taba ng baboy damo, hahhaha

Bloiggster said...

ahh masbate... a semi-ex hails from there. naalala ko tuloy ang ginawa nyang pagbalewala sa akin.

ang habal habal ay isang uri ng transportansyon sa visayas. love riding them.

Chyng said...

forgive me dear, kala ko another post with a different meaning yung masbate.. hehe

ano ang direct flight to masbate?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, this post gave me a bad impression about Masbate. Thanks for being honest. Welcome back! Glad you're safe! And oh, that Kalboys, I remember when I visited Marinduque, there were lots of them. Na-share ko lang. hehe.. :]

wanderingcommuter said...

mugen: wala naman akong lovelife na makwekwento eh. other than that, ayoko naman magpakabitter! lol!

nova, hey you! yup our family came from here! its not really that dangerous. the perception of it being dangerous is coming from the presence of intimidation.

wanderingcommuter said...

yellow bells, oo nga e. pero mas masaya sana kung malnourish siya! ang ironic! lol

bloiggster, yiheeee... hot naman ang mga masbatenyo eh! lol. i ownder kung bakit "semi-ex" hahahaha!

wanderingcommuter said...

chyng, masyado ka ng nacorrupt ng mga PLU. lol! zest air, usually 5:15 am...

iprovoked, ive realized kasi to write something a travel entry na hindi lang about food, hotels etc. i want to get atleast the stories chosen not to be told.

VICTOR said...

I placed the tip of my forefinger in the face of the woman in the book cover and voila.

kalansay said...

cute ng baboy! :D

hmm interesting work... may bg pa. hehe

kumusta naman ang pagsunod sa pangalan ng probinsya bilang sagot sa boredom? haha

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hello. I would just like to ask if you asked permission with the Authors of Los Recuerdos Book for it to be posted online? I bet it's a copyright matter. Hence, that book is the book of our ancestry. Just asking, Thanks:)

wanderingcommuter said...

Hi anonymous! The book was actually handed over to me by my grand father who also happened to be a historian. it was given to him by our close relatives from masbate. we use this to follow our ancestry.

i bear the same surname. it just so happened that i am an anonymous blogger so i had to cover part of the title and author. hehehe.

however, you are right... this maybe a copyright issue so i have decided to remove it.

thanks for reminding.

~ N said...

hard to stay anonymous with that surname. I know that too well. ;-)

wanderingcommuter said...

nova, i bet you do.... i miss you! i saw your new pet... its lovely. stay safe and regards to G! keep me posted!