Monday, December 28, 2009
CHRISTMAS at the SEA
The digital clock of my phone ticked 11:59. One minute away from Christmas. I woke up feeling dizzy. I looked around and saw a scene like the portrait of the mother and child deeply asleep in their double-deck bed. I felt the biting cold so I wore my red and black coat, went outside, and looked far at the placid blue sea. It’s Christmas!
A day before, I woke up at 4:30am, to catch up the 5:15am air con bus going to Dumaguete. I wasn’t lucky enough though. When I arrived, all seats were taken. Some were already on their feet with their one hand on the railings. The trip will take around 6 hours granting no delay so I opted to take the next bus. I arrived at the port of Dumaguete around 12 noon.
The uncovered path walk going to the ticket booth of the fast craft is some distance away. I treaded the grueling, hot, cemented walk way sweating profusely that I felt its cascade. As I stood near the area, I had a glimpse of a clique of Koreans talking. From the tone and pace of their speaking, somehow, I knew something is not right. Then I saw the notice printed in short bond paper, “All trips are cancelled”. What a day I said! I waited. I wanted to know why. I took a seat nearby when a staff went out. From my distance I overheard him saying, “The waves are too unruly to sail safely”.
I would have resolved to stay until 11pm and take the boat going to Cebu when my Chemistry professor called my name. I knew she’s going to my destination too so I immediately broke the news to her. She was furious! When I saw the porter behind her carrying 2 squarely huge bags, I nodded to her emotion. Then we discussed how to go about the unfortunate events that happened.
We decided to travel by bus, take the roll on-roll off barge, to be able to cross the next island, Cebu. As we sail, the waves became fierce. The further we sail, the stronger they became. I lost my equilibrium. My professor who’s beside me became my stress ball. Thanks to her. She didn’t complain. My two hands were already robustly clasped to my seat with my butt almost hanging in an effort to balance the barge when it tilted to some angle. I admit, I am paranoid in life-threatening situations. I don’t think I am ready. But we made it. Thank God!
We went inside the bus again and started again my long journey to my destination. Along the way I could feel the warmth of the occasion. I could see busy people preoccupied in their preparation. There were already disco lights and sounds stationed outside people’s houses. There were explosions of firecrackers near and far. I saw people in long queue to order “lechon manok”. I heard beautiful Christmas Songs sang by the choir in churches which made me sing along until their voices fade in the air. It was quite a long trip, four hours to be more exact.
We arrived at the Cebu South Bus terminal, and immediately rode a cab to take us to Pier 3. Then the string of unfortunate events still hanged on us. There was no boat available. We tried our luck once more and proceeded to Pier 1. There I found some consolation. There was a trip going to my place of destination. It was my teacher who’s got the dilemma. Her boat was in Pier 7. She said she can manage so I just called another cab to take her to the boat. I kissed her goodbye and greeted her Merry Christmas.
With my three bags, I was alone, as I went inside the boat at 10:00 in the evening. I looked around trying to find a soul whom I know. There was none. I proceeded to my bed, laid down my bags. Then I closed my eyes and slept. At 25, ‘twas Christmas at the Sea.