Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Amazing Race, Medical Interns Edition: Bangenge ang Departure!! Surprise, surprise! It’s 6 a.m. not 6:30!

Day 1 (4 May 2006)

From one side of the fence (my side, Jake’s side): ABA! Leisurely ang shower.. then a fonecall from Dr. Milan Ratunil. The maid answers the fone while I’m still in the shower. Normally, the maid would disturb me while I’m in the shower, informing me immediately of the fonecall, no matter how trivial the call would be. For example, she informed me immediately when a friend of my brother called asking where my brother is.. hmmm, not here in the shower! (but I kept that remark to myself.) But this time, she didn’t, so I assumed it must have been totally insignificant. When I went out of the shower, I passed by her and she didn’t inform me too, so it must have been really insignificant. While I was changing, I kinda got bothered by the fonecall that the maid did not tell me about, so I asked her what it was about it. And then KABOOM! She told me that it was Dr. Ratunil, informing me that we will meet na lang at 6 a.m. “WHOA!!! Meet where?” The original meeting time was 6:30 a.m. and it’s now 5:50 a.m. and I’m standing here taking my fucking leisurely time changing. Had I not asked... Grrrrrrrr!!!! SO PANIC! STANLEY LET’S GO! So off we go to the dorm.. take note pipol, to the DORM! Halfway there, I had to fone Milan coz I was getting pretty worried, and to my horror, I was answered not by the customary polite “Hello!” Instead, I was answered by a voice that was apparently in PANIC as well. It was a panic level that matched my panic level and perhaps even more. Dr. Ratunil, on the other line, said: “Jake, we’re on our way to the pier, we will meet you there, ferry leaves at 6 a.m.” All of these details we’re given to the maid?! WHOA!! Of all the details to miss it had to be those, off all the fone calls not to inform me, it had to be that fonecall, of all the circumstances to do that it had to be this day when we leave for Boracay!!! “Stanley, we’re going to the pier!” It is freaking 6:53 a.m.!! All those details given to me in an eight-second fone call! It was like an eighteen-wheeler truck crashing at me head-on! PANIC! DOUBLE PANIC! TRIPLE PANIC! Brown bag for Dr. Hofileña please!

From the other side of the fence: at the dorm with Dr. RJ Villaflor (RJ/Ate), Dr. Donna Dee Macabudbud (Dada), and Dr. Milan Ratunil (Milan). While I was taking my leisurely shower, ABA! Leisurely din and pagluluto ng pansit canton! Not a care in the world! And ABA! De-plantsa-plantsa pa! And then a fonecall from Dr. Lynor Nerpiol (Lynor/Manang). The fonecall goes something like.. guys, the ferry trip we are taking at 6:30 a.m. got cancelled so we are taking the 6 a.m. one. WHOA! So, TRALALA ANG TANAN!!! Untata na ang pansit canton, untata na ang plantsa-plantsa!!! GO!

So, everything can now be pieced together. Shortly after Lynor foned Milan, Milan foned me and set-off my own set of panic sequence of events.

Skip to the pier: Dewey (Dr. Dewey Demandante), driving RJ, Milan, and Dada, goes to another dock. Lost! Talent ang pagka-lost! But they eventually find the correct dock for Ocean Jet.

My turn. Skip to the pier: Stan and I headed to the correct dock on the first try. Ok, now pay the toll fee of 10 pesos, sabay confirm if indeed this is the dock for Ocean Jet. The tollguy confirms it’s the dock for Ocean Jet, pero he added “Check nyo lang sir kung ara pa ang barko.” UNWANTED COMMENT! WAAAAH! At that point, I really wanted to just throw the 100-peso-bill to him, and go, speed to the terminal! Pero I had my restraints pa, so cool pa, pero medyo 160 beats per minute na ang heartbeat ko. Now, park beside the Ocean Jet terminal, go out, and again confirm from the tindera ng bubblegum if this is the terminal of Ocean Jet. The tindera confirms that it is indeed the Ocean Jet terminal... pero she added “Fully-booked na sir.” ABA! UNWANTED COMMENT AGAIN! But this time, I would not let the comment pass. “Basi nabaklan na ko ticket sang mga upod ko ya!!” And zoom! Run like THE AMAZING RACE!!! When I entered the terminal, RJ, Milan and Dada had just arrived. Did we make it? Coz the sight that greeted me when I entered the terminal was a huge line of people at the ticket booth. Did we make it? YES!!! Lynor already bought tickets for everybody and, and, and, she was about to give me an award for making it on-time. Not even morning endorsements could make me on-time. Pero Boracay! Mas Importante!! Dr. Karen Meana (Karen), and Dr. Ruscel Dogoldogol (Ruscel) were already there too, and their brothers, Karen’s brother: JR, and Ruscel’s brother: Galileo (please take note of his name at this point.) OK, now all of us had 2 seconds to catch our breath, after that we had to haul your ass on the boat coz we were like the last passengers. Now, distribute the tickets for the seat arrangement. Hindi pa tapos ang action! More, more, more! Up on the boat we go, then look for our seats, most of us found seats immediately. One of the seats for our group was 47H, and it appeared JR was supposed to sit there, pero this lady marches in, asks the guy at 47G or was it 47i if 47H is taken. Detecting something, I told the lady that the seat is taken. ABA! Sit her ass down gyapon ang lola! Again, again, again. This time, sabay kuhit na sa shoulder nya. “Ma’am, taken na na ang seat. Siya ni dapat ang mapungko dira.”, I was pointing to JR while saying that. Shocked speechless na si Milan, witnessing the entire event unfold before his eyes. Zipper the mouth na lang! It was a good thing one of the officers offered his seat for JR. Otherwise.. hmmm, fill in the blanks. And it was also a good thing that Lynor wasn’t able to notice it... otherwise... hmmmm! Hands at waist na tani, with matching glaring eyes, and kilay rising to skyscraper levels. Don’t mess with this bunch right now. The combined effect of waking up early, being made to rush, worrying about the arrival of friends, worrying about making the boat, and skipping the daily maintenance dose of coffee... well, 60 kilograms of flesh in pure adrenaline rush standing right in front of you.. times 9! BEWARE! THEY BITE!!

Well, good thing most of the ferry ride was boring, it allowed the adrenaline rush to subside.

Just a reminder, most of the stuff written in this segment happened between 5:50 to 6:05 a.m., 15 minutes! And we have 4 more days to go. HAPPY READING!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bantayan Island, Holy Week, 11-16 April 2006

Day 6 (16 April ’06)

Departure from Bantayan. Wake up time: 6 am. Uhhh! It’s difficult to force yourself to get up when you’ve only had an hour sleep. But, we started freshening up, and packing the remaining stuff. The volleyball! It’s still with Jamil. Then I decided to stay behind while suon bebot, suon aj, and Stanley left for bacolod. Hehehe! It was just an excuse to stay behind one more day. Thank you very much to the Wilson volleyball. My volleyball has a design on it, it looks exactly like the volleyball in the movie Castaway, its name is Wilson. I got the volleyball later that morning. And I had the chance to have a leisurely walk at the beach without the crowd seen on Saturday, I even saw a patch of beach that was the mating ground of starfish. It’s like you have the whole beach to yourself by Sunday afternoon. :-)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bantayan Island, Holy Week, 11-16 April 2006

Day 6 (16 April ’06)

Departure from Bantayan. Wake up time: 6 am. Uhhh! It’s difficult to force yourself to get up when you’ve only had an hour sleep. But, we started freshening up, and packing the remaining stuff. The volleyball! It’s still with Jamil. Then I decided to stay behind while suon bebot, suon aj, and Stanley left for bacolod. Hehehe! It was just an excuse to stay behind one more day. Thank you very much to the Wilson volleyball. My volleyball has a design on it, it looks exactly like the volleyball in the movie Castaway, its name is Wilson. I got the volleyball later that morning. And I had the chance to have a leisurely walk at the beach without the crowd seen on Saturday, I even saw a patch of beach that was the mating ground of starfish. It’s like you have the whole beach to yourself by Sunday afternoon. :-)

Bantayan Island, Holy Week, 11-16 April 2006

Day 5 (15 April ’06)

Saturday. That night was going to be the big party. So it was going to be pretty much a lazy day for me, just conserving my energy for the big party. Had my morning walk at the beach and my morning swim, around 8:00 – 9:30 am. It was a good time, coz the tide was relatively high, you don’t have to walk far out to the sea to get a good depth, that way you avoid going to the sea urchin territory. And, most importantly, it’s early enough that the hordes of people haven’t arrived yet. By noon, the beach and the sea were just dotted with people, it was almost impossible to swim in, it was the island’s big day.

Afternoon: walked to the beach again when I saw a big crowd surrounding something, then I saw Stanley looking for ice. He just told me that he needed me coz one of the guys he knew, Ken Onozawa, had an accident, and he took me to that crowd, and in the middle of the crowd was a guy in apparent pain. He twisted his left foot while skimboarding. I had to make an improvised splint using 2 sticks and a sarong. I had to accompany him to the hospital, good thing his brother was there with a car. We arrived at the hospital and there was no x-ray technician. Crap, all they did was make a more stable splint, with plaster of Paris and bandage. Party is over for Ken.

Well, night came, I didn’t go out until it was 11 pm. The bands were still playing when I arrived, not really my kind of party. Oh well, house and club music started playing at 3am, by then the people were wasted already, coz they started drinking by early afternoon. Not really one of the best parties I have been to. Saw Stanley and some of his skimboarding friends there, Obet was also there. By 5am, Stanley wanted to go home already to rest, coz we were departing the morning of Sunday. :-)

Bantayan Island, Holy Week, 11-16 April 2006

Day 4 (14 April ’06)

Raging hang-over! Forget the volleyball matches, I didn’t have a partner anymore anyway. I still felt sick the entire morning and most of the afternoon. I knew I had to hydrate myself and eat, but scared that I might throw up again. Good thing there was soup. That was pretty much my diet for the day. Afternoon came, I tried to swim my way out of my hang-over. Doesn’t work, I had poor coordination while swimming. Oh well, back to soup and coffee. By late afternoon, I had recovered, I went back to my usual hang-out at the beach. As soon as I arrived I told them that the dead lives to see another day. I saw Dwight, I apologized about last night, and he was pretty cool about it. And people were drinking again. This time I refused, slept early that night, by early I mean 12 midnight. :-)

Bantayan Island, Holy Week, 11-16 April 2006

Day 3 (13 April ’06)

Volleyball games start today at 8 am. For the first game, one of the teams defaulted. Stan and I were up next. It was going pretty well, we were leading 13-6, and at the official time-out, our opponents remarked that we already have one win. And then trouble begins, the opponents began to catch up. And soon we were tied at 15. And then they led after that, but we were able to tie at 19, but eventually they won 21-19. the organizers later told me that Stan couldn’t take 2 steps without running out of breath. And I later found out that Stan still had a hang-over, same reason why one of the teams defaulted. Afternoon: we had another volleyball match against the team that defaulted in the morning. It was under the scorching heat of the 1pm sun! This time, we were using my own volleyball, it was really intended for beach volleyball, it’s a Wilson Soft Touch volleyball, the ones the organizers had was for indoor volleyball. But, lost again by the same margin, 21-19. It was damn exhausting, and to think we entered just so we have something to do. Well, Stan quit after that, and so I had no partner anymore. I lent the organizers my volleyball afterwards. well, after the day’s matches, I had a swim with some of the volleyball dudes (Ricki and Karl) with their surf and swim friends. I caught a sea urchin but had to throw it back coz it was too hard to handle. And we made fun of Ricki when it became obvious in his face that he was having a headache coz he was getting trapped by all the sea urchins, he didn’t know where to step on.

Night time is party time. I decided to rest until 10 before going out, so did Stan. I woke up first, around 10:15pm, and freshened up. I woke Stan before leaving but he went back to sleep. I went to my usual tambayan at the tattoo tent, and knowing that I’d be drinking a lot then, I brought Gatorade with me. When I arrived, I saw them drinking gin and lime. I decided we needed another bottle so I bought another big bottle. I also wanted to duplicate the same ‘high but totally awake’ feeling when you drink Red Bull vodka, so I decided to substitute Red Bull with Extra Joss, which I placed in my Gatorade. It was ok, I was hydrating myself while drinking. But then the beer came along... after drinking the gin lime. Hmmm, the combination seemed suspicious to me, but again, out of politeness I drank. I was already having a good high when Dwight and Lucky asked to go to another party at Tent City, I went with them, kinda tipsy already. But the party at Tent City wasn’t so good, so I just sat there, and then later they made me lie on the sand, Dwight used his shirt for my pillow.. BAD idea! Soon, I was curling up, puking on his shirt, and I didn’t really care then. Going home, I had my arm over Lucky all the time, otherwise I would have fallen over. I was so drunk I went past the house we were staying, but then was able to relocate it. I ended up not being able to party with Ricki and Karl as I promised them. :-)

Bantayan Island, Holy Week, 11-16 April 2006

Day 2 (12 April ’06)

Lunch was again at Manong Pito, they have the best food, 2 kinds of dried fish and fish tinola. YUM! People there seem to be drinking all the time. I’d see them drinking before meals, during meals, and after meals. Hehehe. They drink mostly beer, they would have several big bottles of San Miguel Beer and Gold Eagle Beer, and they would offer us beer all the time. Well, since I’m too polite to refuse, I’d drink the beer, despite the fact that I don’t really like its taste and despite the fact that my stomach is rebellious with beer. What’s worse is that most of the time, the beer is not cold, it is beer warmed by the Philippine Summer Sun! Give me rum or scotch whisky anytime.. just not beer.

Afterwards, I got myself a Henna tattoo on my back and arm. The guy who gave me the tattoo also tattooed some celebrities in manila. I was their first client in Bantayan. I had to wait for 2 hours for the tattoo to dry up then I could rinse it, and in those 2 hours I must not sweat. Kinda impossible, being under a tent, with the afternoon sun blazing over us. So there were 2 people fanning me to keep me from sweating... Hahaha, I became the King of Bantayan! Despite that, however, my arm still sweats a bit, and parts of the tattoo smeared a bit, but not much. Now, time to rinse my arm. I went in the water, and while rinsing I realized that my fone was still in my short pocket, which by now was already wet! Huhuhu! L My Nokia 6030 which I bought recently!!! I took it out of my pocket, it was dead. I had to take the battery out immediately and had it air-dried. While waiting for my fone to dry-up, I met the gang of the tattoo artist. The tattoo artist is Juanlou, his senior and head of the tattoo federation of the Philippines (or something like that) is Ricki, and Ricki’s wife Camille, their friends Froilan, Dwight, Lucky, Ice, Jude. Then afterwards I had to go to Budjong Beach Resort. I was also able to eat jelly fish while waiting, tasted like squid, but all the tomato sauce kinda masked its true taste, then they took out the uncooked jellyfish and showed it too us, didn’t touch the jelly fish dish again after seeing it. Yuck! Seeing those tentacles in glorious pink or glorious green removed my appetite in an instant.

Stanley and I then entered in the 1st Beach Volleyball competition that was organized there, it was sponsored by Gatorade. We decided to enter so that we had something to do while we were there. Trip lang! And also because it costs pretty cheap to enter, all you had to do was buy 4 Gatorade’s being sold at 40 pesos each. There I met the organizers, Jamil and his friend, and also the other volleyball players. Most of them were Obet’s barkada, quite a few were from Cebu, among them were Ricki and Karl, and 2 of their friends who are surf and swim dudes, and only 1 was from Manila. One of the perks we get, the volleyball players get to enter Budjong Beach Resort for free! No games were scheduled at that day, the games would start Thursday. But the parties had already started at Budjong Beach Resort, it was scheduled from Wednesday night til Saturday night. The big ones being Thursday night and Saturday night. Well, back at my usual hang-out at the tattoo tent. My fone was still dead. But since I’m free, I had my leisurely swim again. This later became my daily routine during my entire stay there. :-)

Bantayan Island, Holy Week, 11-16 April 2006

Arrival in Bantayan town port: 1pm, 11 April ’06. Finally, some land after a boring boat ride. We took a van going to Sta. Fe, the community where the beach is, van fare is just 20 pesos. It was a 10 minute ride. On the way there, I injured the ring finger of my right hand, I don’t know exactly how it happened but I suspect that I could have brushed it against the zipper of my backpack or it got completely caught in the zipper while I was zipping it. It was quite a bleeder and I had no band-aids in my first-aid pack. Arrival in Sta. Fe. We placed our bags in nanay azon’s house where we will be staying. I had to buy some first aid strips, and it was a good thing that the sari-sari store had the heavy duty Medicare plastic strips, works very well. And then we were introduced to the family of suon bebot, we were introduced to manong pito, who owned a lot at the beachfront, right smack at the center of the beach strip of Bantayan’s beach. Just beside it is a place frequented by skimboarders.. they offer free skimboarding lessons, sell cool shirts, and have space where people can pitch a tent, and you can even have a band perform. When we passed by, they were also playing our kind of music.. beach house. We were also introduced to kuya david, nanay azon, obet and jun-jun, it’s their house where we will be staying at. After the introduction, we had our late lunch. It comprised of dried fish (sap-sap) and I can’t remember what else. But the dried fish tasted really good coz I haven’t had them for quite a while. Next, tour of sta. fe. We had to see the beach… and when we saw it, it was an instant cure for all the travel fatigue. A kilometer of powdery white sand, and crystal clear water! Paradise! The other parts that suon bebot showed us were the school, the old houses, the market, and a boat that had just unloaded its catch.. a few fish and around 5 or 6 sting rays, 1 or 2 of the rays were even pregnant and baby rays were going out of it post-mortem. After the place was showed to us, we were free to do whatever we want. A swim at the beach was definitely at the top of my list, and that’s exactly what I did. I must have swum at least 200 meters, the water is so nice, crystal clear and you can have the beach all to yourself. After swimming, I freshened up back at nanay azon and kuya david’s house. They have an artisan well where you drop a bucket attached to a rope and get your fresh water from there for bathing. It’s pretty neat.

That night, I again took a walk. This time checking out the bar alley. There’s Marisqueira O Portugues where most of the foreigners were hanging out that night, and some local girls and waitresses getting friendly with the foreigners. And then there’s Hard Kock Café, very interesting name indeed. But the bar isn’t what the name implies, it’s just a regular bar. It’s fairly new and foreign-owned, I was told. Going back to the house, I got lost. I had to go around the place a couple more times to familiarize myself, otherwise I’d get lost every night. Interesting observation for that day: it was as if I had a beacon surgically attached to my back, coz when suon bebot’s family looked for me, the locals at the marketplace and at the bar alley were able to pinpoint my location at a precise time. They looked for an ilonggo in a red shirt and boom, precise coordinates and time were given by the locals. :-)