Baktin Diaries: The Tragic Death of the City Piglets

“Where am I?”

My mind immediately asked when I regained consciousness. It was like I was in a state of déjà vu as I struggled to identify what place and time I was in. I remembered Christina Aguilera singing loud and bitchy in the background. Did I party all night long? There was a tight crowd. Was I squeezed in a tin can? There was a battle of obnoxious smell. Was I in a gladiator fight?

After seconds of disbelief and readjustment, I sadly realized I was in an unforgiving bus ride from Legazpi City to Davao City. It was dark outside and it must have been between three and five in the morning. My eyes hurt due to lack of sleep, as if a thousand Gillette blades are slicing through my lids. But I must wake up; the disobliging Bus Konduktor was barking orders at us.

I looked around me and my three colleagues were also dizzily chasing their spirits. One by one, people vacated the bus; the smell dissipated and darkness lifted. Then there was a deafening ringing just near us. It was an elderly woman’s phone. She was just standing behind our seats.

“Hello!” she answered her phone loudly. It was a booming response, a near-perfect greeting of a new day ahead, or so it seems. Her voice was high-pitched, witchy coarse and crackling, a foreboding of a comic tête-à-tête that transpired in her phone.

Silence while she listened on the other line. Here is the transcript of her phone conversation.
(Disclaimer: The following statements are based on what my groggy and lightheaded mind can recall. Any variations from actual dialogues are purely unintentional.)

“Ha? Naay linog sa GenSan?” (Huh? There is an earthquake in GenSan?)

Statics on the phone.

“Unsaon nako pagkabalo na nagadagan man ang bus?” (How will I know when I am inside a running bus?)

Oh Tita, you have a point! It’s hard to tell if there’s an earthquake if you’re inside a moving vehicle. But then, GenSan is like 1,140 km from Legazpi (thanks Google!). How can we possibly feel the tremors? Was it that strong?

“Unya kung naglinog, nangamatay na mo dira sa Gensan?” (So what, have you all died there in GenSan?)

Ouch, Tita! Harshness overload!

“Unsa, nangamatay akong baktin?” (What? My weaning pigs have died?)

And our ears picked and we stared at each other.

“Naa na gani na sa kuna, nangamatay gihapon?” (How come they die when they are inside the crib?”)

Piglets in a crib! Isn’t it cute?

“Katong naglinog diay, inyong gi-karga karga ang baktin ug nangahulog ug nangamatay?” (Did you carry them so that they fell and died?)

Oh my, we can’t help but laughed then.

“Sige, pamatya ninyo akong mga baktin!” (Go on, kill my piglets!)

And we were fully awakened. The rest of her conversation became a blur as we stood up and disembarked the ship. On the way out, we were laughing hard. We did not eavesdrop; Tita was just too loud.

We were already in the pier and soon to ride a ferry going to Samar. The dusk was still too far from breaking as heavy darkness continued to envelope the place. The air reeked of morning bread and urine. But Tita’s frank and frantic conversation kept playing in my head. She simply brought cheer to my otherwise dreary daybreak. Energized, my dilapidated mortal body began to prepare for another apocalyptic journey in a ferry.

Lesson learned: In times of crisis and calamities, we hold on tight to things dearest to us. In Tita’s case, her pigs!
To be continued….

P.S.  The 7.2-magnitude earthquake had its epicentre at Sarangani province, sending strong tremors in nearby cities and provinces. Few old buildings collapsed but there were no human casualties. Deaths of piglets were not reported.

Read the entire Baktin Diaries series.

Image credit: Evtoys


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