Wednesday, May 25, 2011

writers, red stones, and the thirst

May 14 - A Trip to Pulang Bato Falls and Other Trips

The second week passed yet the golden ones had only reached as far as Siquijor in their leg tour. Thus, the trip to the twin lakes in the town of Sibulan was planned the night before (among many other plans proposed by Ian Casocot). The lakes, especially Balinsasayao, were as memorable as the new sights of flora and fauna every time I visited them. But due to time constraints, Moses Atega, Negros Oriental’s Kuya and unprecedented accomplice, suggested Pulang Bato Falls in Valencia. In my four years of living in the Negros before, I loved the idea. I have never been to that place, like the rest of the writing fellows, and someone in the name of Taka, a Japanese who studied English in Silliman.

Without second thoughts, after an almost hour-long of packing our lunch in Kabayoan, we found ourselves uphill, momentarily engulfed in wispy white smoke that seeped out of a mountain wall’s crevices. “Sulfur,” Mo said, and then we covered our noses. As the easy-ride trudged forth on the bumpy road, Pulang Bato revealed itself, all true to its very name, down to the last pebble. The riverbed was red. A massacre happened here, I thought and came up with a sapling-of-a-line for a possible poem. Such sight and moment deserved to be immortalized. We immediately plunged into waters, perhaps to wash away the dread of what was to come in the next few days.


For a small city like Dumaguete, visitors from different provinces or countries would be surprised to discover it as a bustling focal point of activities every Saturday night. But the fellows had to read their last week’s manuscripts, so they opted to go up the mountains. I let them be, chaperoning some of them with their errands in the city before nightfall, until Tobey lured me to go up too with the promise of her own pasta dish for the following day’s dinner. I agreed and packed up my things. Yes, sometimes, I am too easy to get.

By the time we arrived in the Writers Village, I became one of the Champaca Boys for the night (and some future nights), with Lean, Miggy, and Glenn sinisterly dropping hints of a coming interrogation that would involve flashlights hovering above my head. Their idea of theatrics was cute.

Just as I had expected, prejudice aside, the delegates from Mindanao (and interestingly two ladies from Luzon) would spearhead the workshop’s “Feed the World Program.” This is a series of rounds approaching one fellow after the other, asking for generous means to purchase rum, beer, and vodka in the nearest convenience store, with their bottles gleaming like eager orphans waiting to be nursed in the hands of the eager.

Since I was a guest in the village that was soon filled with the symphony of cicadas and other slow evening routines, I chipped in a couple of pesos. I had to do my part. By nine o’clock, both men and mammals circled in the open field, concoctions were made (there was one that particularly gave me a 24-hour long palpitation the next day), glasses were passed, chips flew in the air, laughter bounced on the invisible walls of the night, a bond was formed. We were thirsty no more.

(second of eight parts)

Part 1 |


eva said...

two ladies from luzon--meaning not me and tobey, right? haha. i love being a gunner!!

f. jordan said...

: Erm, I was actually thinking of Andy and Miel. Hahaha. So you loved the sense of authority, eh? Next time, you'd be the all-nighter gunner!