From Rizal, we took a car to Quezon City before traveling to Cagayan province via Florida Shuttle bus, a
very pink type of bus in the Philippines, in the evening. Albeit being a 12 hour drive, it was relieving to see a highway and the occasional rest stops to stretch our legs.
Soon, we found ourselves at my grandmother’s house. Just like my nephew’s house, the walls were concrete and the roofs, metal. The only difference is that there was a lot more room to walk around, both inside and out.
Oh, and that the bathrooms are outdoors, one of them being right next to a piglet pen. Unfortunately, the once proud house is beginning to crumble away due to a lack of care and the elements pounding away. Mice run back and forth through not-so-secret holes and cracks on the walls as the blue paint fades away to a gray. Holes litter the roof, causing problems during typhoon season which I got to experience firsthand as the house flooded on several occasions.
Across the street is my uncle’s house and it was a close replicate of her’s: concrete and metal. Here, I befriended a sweet dog, who I called Buddy for I didn’t know his name. Buddy turned out to be my best friend during this part of the trip before he met his untimely, tragic death. He’ll always be missed
and I’m further convinced that humans don’t deserve dogs despite being a dog owner myself.
My mom’s side of the family are farmers, and as a result, there is a wide array of fruits growing nearby, the Santol being one of them. This little fruit is a unique combination of both sweet and sour, creating a unique taste. Even stranger is that they use salt to tone down the sourness of the fruit, and having tasted it, it’s actually not that bad.
Since it was a small community, the kalesa, sometimes spelled calesa, is one of the more dominate forms of transportation aside from the tricycle and the occasional jeepny. Consisted of a horse and a cart, it’s not only inexpensive but it’s a nice way to unwind as you go on your way. My mom’s brother had one, and we often used it to and fro to Centro Solana, a marketplace nearby. Here, I soon learned that having your haircut done out of State isn’t always such a good idea, but it did teach me a few lessons, one being that to trust my gut more often. Sometimes, we would go there before going to large cities such as Tuguegarao or tourist places like Callao Cave.
On the last day, we stopped by to visit my mom’s land which is currently being borrowed by her two brothers. Nearby was a flooded bit of land I thought resembled a lake or river. The farmland halved in two, the corn was nearing its due date of September where it will be harvested and sold for profit. I had the opportunity to grab two ears of corn and found that it is a lot more difficult than it looks. This is where she told me that the land will be passed onto my brother and I later on.
Now, off to Manila we go!