Baktin Diaries: The Road Back Home is So Much Wider

The stars were still twinkling like diamonds in the sky when our ferry hit the dock of Surigao. The breeze was cold and the smell of Mindanao sent a wonderful shiver through my dilapidated body. Few hours more and I would be cuddling my five pillows once again. Pity me!

After minutes of waiting, our bus appeared and we were back again to our most beloved seats. I instantly slept but I kept rousing from time to time as the bus went through a million stops-and-gos in the area, delivering people and picking up some along the way. So when I finally decided to wake up for good, I was stunned to see a deserted bus. But was surprised me more was the multitudes of trash being left behind with us. Plastic bottles of various sizes and empty packs of Chippy, Piattos and other junks were scattered everywhere, as if a mighty tornado just wrecked havoc in a dumpsite.

It was a depressing sight and it made me sad and frustrated, especially that our Haggardo Versoza looks and the worn and torn seat upholsteries were part of this picture. Our earlier trip to Legazpi was not like this; it was packed but the people were cleaner and more disciplined. No wonder, there was a moment of silence and disbelief when new commuters ride the bus, including Kuya Army who scrutinized the bus when we passed by a checkpoint.

Morning came and we ate a hearty breakfast somewhere in Tagum City. Afterwards, I washed up, brushed my teeth, and freshened up. Two days without bath and I feel like shit. But I don’t think I looked like one. Just a sprinkle of water on my oily hair, a run of my hands through its thinning strands, and an expert twisting and contouring gave me a less heartbreaking look. Plus a fresh pooping relaxed me a bit. I have no problem relieving and my ass is thankfully cooperative. I could poop everywhere (and in any position?).

We lingered in the eatery for a while and my eyes took the view in. Compared to many places we passed along, the roads in Mindanao are undeniably broader and more paved. Whereas their national highways are only two-laned, majority of roads in this part of the country have four lanes, even in the cities’ interiors and in the barangays. Mindanao is so much different; the degree of simple comfort, a life less complicated, and the warm brotherhood here is overwhelming and uplifting.

Soon, we hit the road once again and the thought that this trip was ending brought both cheer and nostalgia. It was far from magical but the experience was unexpectedly funny and unforgettable. Aside from the things earlier documented in this self-serving blog, I would surely miss Manong Bus Konduktor who was certainly an annoying piece of jackass. He was unpleasant at the beginning as he had no talent for crowd-control, in the middle as he was second-guessing if we were his passengers when he distributed the ferry tickets, and in the end simply because he was himself. There was also the overpriced food in the bus terminals…. The apocalyptic attack of hungry commuters…. The overpriced toilet fee… The clogged urinals…. The overrated and extremely dull advertisements being repeated in the ferries' TVs…. And several more….
As we near Ecoland Terminal in Davao City, our final pit stop, I could not help but paint a smile on my filthy face. It was indeed a rollercoaster ride, and I felt like a piglet who, after being crammed in a sty with other beasts, finally found promising liberty. So when I and my colleagues ride another bus bound to General Santos, this time roomy and wonderfully smelled, we stayed away from each other. We need space and time…. To think what sins we had committed that we had to undergo such penitence. LOL

Lesson learned:  Backpacking skill is a must in this kind of trip. Luckily, I love to backpack. Huh…. It may not sound right but it’s the truth.

P.S. A long ride is exciting when imagined. But expectations versus reality is much more difficult to fathom.

Read the entire Baktin Diaries series


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