Friday, September 14, 2007

Mindanao journey

Butuan City. A long line of travellers on their way out of the airport's arrival area, waiting for their turn to have tags in their baggages checked by the guards. Was determined to claim the distinction of being the last person to exit. Until this guy who was a few positions ahead of me in the line stalled everyone behind by losing his stubs. The guard had to ask for his ID card while checking the sealed boxes he had with him. Felt sorry for the poor fellow when it was my turn to squeeze through the crowd and leave behind all the ruckus that he unwittingly created.

Had to congratulate him though for stealing the last-person-out title from me. Went to a nearby restaurant for my first fill of kinilaw (raw fish in a spicy concoction of vinegar, ginger, onions, and chili) and guso (seaweed) salad. All the time, kept thinking about the Pinoy's lack of drive to change things and come out with systems that could make life a little better. Or is it the apathy of people like me who choose to just let such things be and get on quickly with the more comfortable and pleasant aspects of their lives?

On the road from Surigao City to Cantilan, Surigao del Sur. Had to catch the 3 a.m. bus from Butuan to Surigao City. Felt like a Neo who had just been reclaimed from the vast human farms of the ruthless machines: body resisting every movement as if all its muscles have suddenly atrophied during my aborted sleep. Reached Surigao City in such a gooey state. Everything appeared to be going quite well in the bus from Surigao City to Cantilan though. Until the bus came to the unpaved portions of the road going through the famous red hills (the gold, iron, and nickel mining sites). With all of the bus' windows down and doors shut, we still found ourselves bathed in this thick cloud of brown dust inside.

Just tried to imagine this futuristic bumpy ride across the dusty Martian landscape to amuse myself. But there was this nagging thought about not taking the "blue" over the "red pill" when there was still a chance to decide on going through with this field research. In Cantilan, a local government official will be telling me the story of how the district's representative in Congress tried to stall road building a few years ago in an effort to squeeze out more bribe money from the Japanese construction firm that won the bidding process for the project.

No comments: