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The Road to Bicolandia

Our rush trip home to Bicol that day I was notified of the sad news was to my son Raine more of an exciting adventure. Riding the big bus thrills him more than anything else as he’s always been crazy about cars, trucks, trains, buses, planes and any other modes of transportation.

For a kid, barely 3 years old, I give him five stars for not being fuzzy and whiney for the long 12-hour trip. It was an afternoon trip, we left Philtranco’s pick-up station at Turbina, Calamba, Laguna at around 4 pm. Because I was in such a hurry, we took the first bus that came along: an ordinary (read: not airconditioned) Philtranco bus bound for Ormoc, Leyte. Raine was just ecstatic, after he got tired of blabbering about the sceneries and the cars and lights we’ve passed along the road, he was just contented eating biscuits and bread and chips; feeding on his milk bottle and then later falling asleep on my lap. I paid full for an extra seat (P500) so we can have the two-seater all to ourselves.

For his age he was just too mature not to complain at stop-overs: when the bus lights are promptly turned on as a cue that passengers should get up and prepare to get-off for a coffee break or the much needed leak-trip to the toilet. At each stop-over, a sleep-laden Raine never complained as we moved our way practically on top of the baggages (bags and boxes) that usually clogs the alleys of Bicol-bound buses; as if he was doing it everyday! I myself didn’t have the energy anymore to carry a 20-kilo toddler so he has to walk down that clogged bus alley and accompany me to the not-so-clean and comfy ladies’ rest room in most bus stop points on the way to Bicol. And then run our way back to the bus, always too afraid that would leave without us. Co-passengers were just too amazed, they all thought he’s a lot older than his age and must have been taking long bus rides frequently. Considering that we only go home at least once a year, mostly on Christmas, Raine really did well.

Though I never caught a wink for my mind was somewhere down memory lane (times spent with my father), I felt it was the fastest bus ride home I ever took. We got off at Abuyog, Sorsogon (a crossing: turning right would head Visayas-bound buses to Matnog ferry terminal; going straight leads the road to Gubat) at 2 AM where two cousins are waiting for us , about three more kilometers of tricycle ride as the final leg to our journey home, home to my father’s wake.

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