2004/03/08

Coming Home to Bohol

I seldom take the direct flight from Manila to Tagbilaran when I go home to Bohol. Usually I would pass by Cebu and take the ferry boat to Tagbilaran. I do it on purpose and take the occasion to visit my community in Cebu.

Last July 17, 2004 I took the 7.15AM flight of Cebu Pacific from Manila to Tagbilaran. I was excited (as always every time I am going home). I checked-in early at the Manila Domestic Terminal, bought a cup of brewed coffee and a couple of doughnuts while leisurely waiting for boarding time.

The departure area was starting to hum with activity as passengers bound for different destinations streamed in. Our flight took off on schedule, even with half of the seats vacant. I wondered if it was always the case. I later discovered that Cebu Pacific had other direct flights to Tagbilaran. The city must be that progressive to deserve an additional flight, I thought to myself.

I took a window seat which was on the right side of the plane. It must have been meant for me, I thought, so that I could see once again the aerial view of IHMS as we descend towards Tagbilaran airport. I waited anxiously for that moment when I could glimpse once more IHMS from a distance. The flight took about an hour and 15minutes. To my dismay, as we descend for landing, I realized that I was seated on the wrong side of the plane. We landed without me seeing the seminary from the air.

So much for the sentimental journey, the reason for my trip was to attend the funeral of Fr. Go’s sister in Dimiao. So, from the airport I went straight to Dimiao. There I noticed that the coastal road was scraped for widening and paving. I felt happy that finally the most visible sign of progress, the paved road, was being cemented.

Late that afternoon, I went back to Tagbilaran and tried to locate Junior. I wasn’t sure where to find him though. I browsed the telephone directory and found the number of Junior’s parents’ house in Cogon. I rang the number and fortunately the lady at the end of the line said that Jun was there. We talked and agreed to meet. He volunteered to call Arnold.

At around 9 in the evening, Junior and Arnold came to where I was staying. I handed to Junior issue #4 of Scriptum, where unknowingly he was appointed as Circulation Manager together with Chris. He was being assigned the task of distributing of the newsletter to our batch mates in Bohol.

We went to Bohol Tropics that night for some drinks. As expected our conversation centered on life and on where we were at present. I was able to get news from them about our other classmates. Deep inside I felt happy and at the same time sad--happy because of the reunion and sad at the fact that some of our classmates were facing difficult times in their lives. Then we talked about the state of our health, a topic we never talked before. It must be a sign that indeed we were already in our midlife, notwithstanding the fact that our heads were already balding. We talked of having arthritis and high blood pressure, of the need to slow down in our food intake, of doing regular exercise (though not anymore the more strenuous one, like basketball and tennis and jogging a la “Jounce Rocker”).

We parted ways almost twelve midnight after a few bites of barbecue and puso at “Sky is the Limit” near the old Royal Cinema.

The following day, I woke up at 6.00AM, took a shower, said my morning prayer and ate breakfast. After browsing the day’s paper, I grabbed my things and took a tricycle to the airport for my flight back to Manila.

At the check-in counter I asked the personnel-in-charge the plane’s direction during take-off. Then I requested to be seated on the window side where I can have a good view of the seminary. My seat number was7E, the perfect side, I thought, where I could see IHMS.

We were supposed to depart at 9.20, but were delayed for an hour. No reason was given. Finally, we boarded at around 10.00. I prepared excitedly for the take-off and the aerial viewing of IHMS. But to my great consternation again, the plane took-off so fast that the moment I peeped through the window we were already above the Maribojoc area. I consoled myself by saying that there will always be another time.

I miss seeing IHMS even from a distance. Years back, I used to listen to the sound of the airplane as it flew overhead by the seminary. This time I wanted to see IHMS from the vantage point of a passing airplane. But the occasion did not permit. Perhaps I have to go beyond the visible, for IHMS is not only the building but it’s also the experience I had which I would always keep in my memory.

Still, I am looking forward to my next home visit to Bohol. (soc)