With BFF: Leyte getaway to amble Philippines longest bridge – San Juanico

I woke up one morning and decided to go to Leyte. I phoned J right away and informed her of the unpremeditated getaway. Without uncertainty, she agreed to my impetuosity. Our intent on the journey was merely to walk on Philippines longest bridge –San Juanico Bridge – as we often read this coinage in history books back in grade school.

While I was at work, I asked J to buy the tickets. We rode Roble Shipping, 10pm schedule. Arrived in Ormoc 4am the following day. Attended the 6:15 am mass at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish where we were amused by its Architecture and ID. It was a perfect blend of old and modern art.

We stayed in Travelers Suite, an affordable hotel located at the downtown of Ormoc. We took a brisk nap and washed up. By afternoon, we were bestirred to conquer the City of Beautiful People.

The most hospitable steward of Roble Shipping. Salute to you, John. Until our next trip. 
Right here. Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church
C’mon gents, follow me. 
Made it to the longest bridge of the Philippines – San Juanico Bridge. 

Item #3 unlocked.

With BFF: Music and Don Moen Concert

J and I are both melomaniac. In a mall, in a street, in my car or anywhere where music is played, we always end up shaking our booties or singing to the tune. Music stimulates our brain and it speaks to our soul. It connects us and puts us in a world of harmony and movements.

Don Moen Concert in Cebu. 08 July 2018

Don Moen Concert in Cebu is a prayer granted. We have been looking forward to this day for so long. We wanted to see up-close the person behind such heavenly voice we hear every morning from the downloaded ‘God Will Make A Way’ playlist in our phone. His music plus our praises to the Heavenly King just make the start of our day extra blissful.

Don Moen on black Suit singing the overture song.  Lenny LeBlanc on blue hue sleeves with a guitar strapped on his shoulder. 

Our fledgling plan was to take the VVIP seats. However, since J has some charitable obligation to her kin and next of kin, we decided to reserve Gold seats instead. Still, we enjoyed the moment and felt God’s blessings from heaven poured on both of us.

This day’s also a discovery of new additional playlist we would soon be hearing every am. Lenny LeBlanc, Don’s guest performer  has this melodious voice that goes deep to the soul. I was literally moved by his music. Powerful yet calm. Among my favourite is his rendition on Above All and Treat Her Right. (One day, someone is going to treat me right.)

The concert ran for 2 hours but seems like sparse. We were shouting for MORE. We did not want to end the language music was conversing to us. 

Item #2 unlocked and friendship up a notch.

With BFF: Divine Mercy Shrine, Del Monte Plantation, Ma. Christina Falls, Tinago Falls

J and I are celebrating our 10 years of being besties this year so we made a promise to each other to do 10 things we haven’t done together. It could be doing a pilgrimage, beach combing, visiting historical places, traveling abroad, trekking, attending concerts, dancing… the list goes on, whatever kooky ideas we can think of. Old stuffs, antiquated ones, also attract us. Yeah, we’re both antediluvian and seeing archaic places is pretty much part of the list we haven’t finished figuring out.

To jump-start our 10 bestie activities, we decided to journey to Cagayan De Oro. The only goal is to see and attend mass in the Divine Mercy Shrine. The rest, we kept the spontaneity. June 02, 2018, we’ve finally laid a check mark on item 1.

We left Cebu 8pm on a Friday night via TranAsia Shipping. Cruised the ocean for almost 12 hours. Arrived in Cagayan at 7 on a Saturday morning. We believed it was too early yet. On the spur of the moment, we decided to go to Del Monte Plantation, Bukidon.  Riding a Motorela (Four-wheeled trike), we headed to Agora Bus Terminal. This bus terminal has two kinds of buses: The Super 5 and Rural Transit Mindanao Inc (RTMI). The Super 5 comes in different colors while RTMI in red. You can ask a native which bus is passing through Manolo Fortrich. Fare is around P145.00. As for me, I was equally dependent to J and her mobile map app.

Once we reached Manolo Fortrich downtown, we rode habal-habal going to the plantation. Fare was around P100 one way. That’s a haggled price already. We asked the drivers to wait for us since we won’t take long. In between, we made quick stops to take good clicks of the sceneries along the way. It’s breathtaking.

J and I haven’t really gotten the chance to enter the building when we reach the field since we didn’t know anyone there. However, we found ourselves in love with the ravishing beauty of pineapples sold by merchants-on-trucks outside. There was already an add-on to the price. I didn’t mind. I just wanted to take home some for my loved ones in Cebu. I bought a dozen. Oh boy! It was hefty but thanks to Kuya habal habal driver for being kind in helping us out.

After Bukidnon, we went to our hotel to drop our heavy loads. Then, straight to Divine Mercy to attend the 3pm Mass and confession afterwards (By far, I had the best confession moments here).

From Cagayan proper, we rode Motorela going to Gaisano Mall. Got a ride with route going to Bulua Terminal. From Bulua Terminal, we mounted on a jeep going to El Salvador. We were just dropped off at the corner road going to El Salvador Divine Mercy. From there, we took habal habal going to the Shrine. (Normally, habal habal drivers would give their contacts and you can just text them whenever you wanted them to pick you up already).

Taken right after mass and confession. Reason for the bulgy eyes. 

Huge Caveat: Since the Shrine is the House of our Lord, no one is allowed to wear revealing clothes.  It is encouraged to wear long skirts and shirt with sleeves while inside the shrine premises.

You can wear something like this. 

The following day, our brain cells had again made an impulse that we check out Maria Christina Falls and Tinago Falls prior to going home. We went to the trip unprepared. We even had bamboo rafting on our undies and collared-shirt. Who cares! Seize the moment.

Fun Fun Fun. Not in suit but who cares?

It was short but sweet journey. I am just exuberant we started our 10 years with a Pilgrimage (with side trips). We left Cagayan on the evening of Sunday, 8PM. We reached Cebu 9pm the following day. I went straight to work while J went to her first day of TESOL Class, bringing all memories from Cagayan.

What does our National Hero and my BFF have in common?

Unknown to few, today, June 19, we celebrate the birthday of our dear National Hero Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda. Lolo Joe, as I name him, led Filipinos outsat a revolution against the Spanish Government for us to attain freedom and gain control of our country.

Be it known to all, today, also happens to be the birthday of one of my personal heroes- my girl best friend for 10 years. J, as I fondly call her led me out from obscurity and brought back my guile and acuity.

Not by luck but providence did it on purpose both Js be born today. Both have so much in common. Few fun facts below.

Fun Fact 1: Lolo Joe is known to be a propagandist and for his manner of fighting the Spanish Government through his written works revealing Spaniards inhumane manipulation. He chose not to have a bloody war to fight for our freedom.

J is a propagandist by action since she is an advocate of silent wars. She culls to settle disputes through sending me long-sentimental SMS narrating my barbaric behaviour. While I… I always end up ignoring her for I know hangry stomach must have took over her overall sanity. In other words, she normally would’ve pangs of tantrums and the only antidote is good food.

Fun Fact 2: Lolo Joe is one of the few recognised “Renaissance Man” in the world. Editors Note: A renaissance man is a well-educated person and one who excels in a wide variety of subjects or fields.

By description, J too. She is a teacher, philanthropist, dancer, singer, writer, theater actress, journalist, dramatist, enthusiast, traveler and more.  She values education at a loft. In fact, our planned gala for this month has to be cancelled to give way to her TESOL classes. Yet, this exploit makes me even more proud of her. Go reach for the stars. Editor’s note: TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speaker’s of Other Languages, a teaching qualification in the field of English language learning and teaching.

Fun fact 3: At one time when Lolo Joe was a medical student in Madrid circa 1882, he didn’t take a bath for 136 days. He wrote his sister Maria about it for 2 reasons. First, he has not perspired because of cold weather. Second, baths were expensive and he was conserving his limited funds.

During our heydays in College, there was a time when J didn’t bathe for a week. She told me about it for 2 reasons. First, she had “patutho” from a Manong in her town to treat a quirky illness – flu! The tutho has to linger on her skin for days so to heal her. Second,  she’s undeniably too obedient obeying her parent’s instruction. I commended her humor and forbearance cautiously disguising my ridicule. Truce girl! At least now, after our recent trip in Divine Mercy, CDO, we knew seeing “quacks” is against our faith. Editor’s Note: Patutho is a style of quack healing in which a person spews spittle or saliva in your entire body. The spittle is believed to bring healing to any afflictions.  

Kidding aside, the truest fact in a nutshell is… Like Lolo Joe, J is a very high-spirited warrior with so much vigor compound to everyone. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day she will also make a history.

Today, marks her blessed day.

The Lady in Red is posing with me. Happy Birthday J.