Labor Day Weekend At Masbate

Date posted on May 20, 2007

The weekend before the Labor Day celebration, Karmela, Chrissie and I flew to Masbate to do a little R&R.; When I said yes to joining this vacation with my Law School blockmates, I wasn’t quite sure I’ll be free. I decided to risk it because it was to be my first trip with them, the CCs (Cosmic Comrades. Don’t ask). Plus I was really desperate to make the most of the summer season. I did go to Boracay last April prior to this particular trip, but that was far from relaxing. Truth be told, most of the vacations I take are not. That’s why this particular out-of-towner was a stand out. It was a much welcome breather from the stress of work. I’ve been praying for a break these past few months cause I haven’t really had one since the onslaught that was “You Got Me!,” and already, I’m working on a new project. I do know how to count my blessings so I’m not really complaining. Work in Star Cinema is hard to come by, and I know better than to act up when blessed with an opportunity to write.

We flew in Saturday morning, April 28, via Asian Spirit. After landing on Masbate soil, Karmela took us to Jollibee for quick mid-morning snacks, then we did some last minute shopping. We then took a trike to the wharf where her parents were waiting for us in their private pump boat. We sailed for about an hour and finally arrived at the Franco’s provincial rest house. It’s situated on a beach in Baranggay Titong, Masbate City (I think. Kar, you’ll have to correct me on the city, hehe…).

It was such a beautiful house. Just a few steps away from the sea. Kar’s Mom said that when the tide is high, the water could even lap the house’s front wall. After setting camp in the guest room, we proceeded to the terrace (which they referred to as the ‘balkon’) and spent the time waiting for lunch to be served by playing with the Francos’ Boston Terriers, Chessy and Blackie. That was to be our routine for the next few days. We would wake up, feast on cuisines prepared by Kar’s parents and relatives, watch a DVD (among those I got to watch/rewatch: “28 Days Later,” “Shaun Of The Dead,” “A Scanner Darkly,” “Chungking Express”), hang out, sleep again, wake up again, read, hang out, have dinner. I didn’t mention breakfast cause I managed to oversleep every day and wake up just in time for lunch.

The following day, Sunday, we got to watch the locals engage in what seemed to be a favorite past time. Sabong (cockfighting). It was such a crude setup. They didn’t even have a formal cockpit for the roosters. The men who had money betting on the clashing poultry formed a circle around them and served as cockpit boundaries. Kar’s dad even bet on a few roosters and won.

Later that afternoon, the three of us took to the beach for the first time. We got Kar’s inflatable raft and tested our rowing skills. Chrissie and I hogged the raft that first day, while Kar enjoyed swimming with her cousin Ai-Ai, who also served as our tourist guide. There was also a bamboo raft with make shift benches and nipa roofing propped on it. When we got tired from rowing against the oncoming waves, we stationed on that bamboo raft and bathed in the sun. Later, upon my return in Manila, I found out from my doctor that I wasn’t supposed to do anything physical a week after my operation. I just had a tonsilectomy so my throat was not in tiptop condition yet. That still didn’t stop me from enjoying our stay there. In fact, I managed to munch on a local treat they called “molido.” It’s a sweet pastry-like thing that reminded me of nougat. Other than that, however, mine was a diet of soup, pancit bihon, and vanilla ice cream.

After showering, the three of us lolled in the balkon, watching the locals enjoy the lazy Sunday afternoon. Kids frolicked on the sand as the women and the teen-agers chatted while partaking of halo-halo bought from the small stand set up beside the Francos’ house. The rest of the men who were not busy making meals out of the cockfights’ casualties were still engaged in the sport.

Watching all that was very therapeutic. Everything was so simple. Looking around, everyone seemed so happy, here in this barrio which did not even have electricity and needed to tap into the Francos’ generator in order a light bulb and a television set work. Kar, Chrissie and I had a ball just watching kids wrestle and tumble on the rough sand. I actually intended to make this a working vacation for me. I even brought my laptop with me. But that sweet moment, I thought, “To hell with my deadline.” I decided to just soak up the idyllic Masbate atmosphere and leave the rest of the world behind.

The next day, Monday, I spent the afternoon reading on the bamboo raft while Karmela had a go on the inflatable raft with Chrissie. They actually did well, rowing much further to the open sea than Chrissie and I did the previous day. I think it was because Chrissie was more confident after having tried it with me that Sunday. That, or she just trusted Karkar more. Meanwhile, I managed to read more than two-thirds of “Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix.” Karmela and Chrissie got back from rowing and we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon strolling along the countryside, with Ai-Ai leading the way.

Tuesday was Labor Day, the day we were to fly back to Manila. We all woke up early despite my not having enough sleep. I was up late finishing the rest of the fifth Harry Potter book. Karmela’s parents joined us on the trip back. At the Masbate city proper, we ran into a Labor Day parade led by a militant party list group (Akbayan? Bayan Muna?) and heard roving cars announcing Ping Lacson’s visit to the province later that afternoon. Then, at the airport, we managed to catch a glimpse of Kiko Pangilinan who was also just arriving for a campaign sortie. It was like after being detached for a good three days, we were being reminded that it was election season in the real world. And that quickly, I knew, we were back to the same stressful days from which I longed to be saved.

Thanks again, Karkar, for your family’s warm hospitality! I really enjoyed myself in Masbate. Hiyas, too bad you weren’t able to go with us. Below are our pictures from that trip. Enjoy! Hope we could do it again sometime 🙂