I mentioned in the very first part of this series that five things were lost during my summer break in Dumaguete, and for five parts already, I had only mentioned one. Well, on this day, the vanishing tripled. As how many variety shows put it: one time, big time.
On our way to Antulang Beach Resort in Siaton, the final workshop week’s escapade, I put on my other sunglasses that I thought would best suit the day, especially when yachting in Tambobo Bay. After all, it is one of the few places in the Negros provinces that are gifted with both sunrise and sunset. A few hours later, I was looking for the glasses’ slip case and found none. And that was lost item number two. Just like any other small things, this couldn’t upset me. Along with a fellow who was itching to get into the infinity pool, I jumped into the waters under the midday sun and allowed myself to be unbothered by anything.*
Strange, one co-fellow didn’t bring any swimwear with him in an outing that involved a lot of water. It was supposed to be a vacation for everyone, so I lent him a pair of shorts—which was recently bought and worn only once—of which he handed it to another person for safekeeping. All was set. But even with the shorts in hand, I eventually knew he didn’t dip a single toe in the pool or the sea. And due to the hurricane of swimming here and snapping photos there, talking here and diving there, I forgot all about what I had just lent.
At the end of the day, when we separated ways—the fellows going back to the mountains of Valencia and us alumni going back to Dumaguete City—I realized the pair of shorts was not with me. No problem. Will get it in my next visit. But the next visit was futile. It was gone, absent in anyone’s backpacks. I shrugged. There was nothing I could do. My plans of jogging around the rubberized oval in the city sports arena were immediately scraped off the list. Lost item number three: check.
It seemed that my personal properties had formed a pact and rebelled against me for possessing them. So, I decided to drown myself with my favorite music on the bus routed for the city. Nothing could lift this misery out of the system better than Janelle Monáe and Gnarls Barkley. I pulled out the iPod from the bag, and it was just the iPod. I searched for its earphones in my bag, in my seat, on the floor, and couldn’t get a sight of a single white noodle around. Lost item number four: check.
That was it. The battle between me and my belongings was growing fiercer by the hour. I turned to my seatmate and future Ms. Universe Liza Baccay, who was my co-fellow in the 2008 workshop, and sighed. She could only share to me what I had recently shared to her back at the resort: Ayaw pag-strong kay mag-struggle ang face.
It was Wednesday, and that meant one thing: almost like a tradition, workshop fellows would flock at Hayahay for Reggae Night and meet Miguel “Mickey” Ybañez, another workshop alumnus. After the mandatory dinner at Neva’s with Mo Francisco, Keith Cortez, Phillip Kimpo, Ynna Abuan, Ceres Abanil and Peachy Paderna (Ms. Universe, Elena Paulma and Noelle Leslie dela Cruz, my co-katsubongs, were suddenly a no-show), off we went to the seaside resto. Joel Toledo and Douglas Candano, as expected, we’re already in the company of Mickey.
Alumni kept on trickling that night. Like how the 47th met the 48th met the 49th. Missing in the link, surprisingly of all the batches, was the 50th. And then I knew they hadn’t attended one Reggae Night in their three-week stay in Negros Oriental. Back flip here. Of course, it was not as crucial as, let’s say, reading the next day’s short stories and poems, but on this particular night they missed Ricci Guevara’s dancing to the rhythmic percussions of a band. Just saying.
The sense of reunion was finally settling in the city. Some things were lost and some people were introduced. And I received some good news. The day was not entirely awful.
(sixth of eight parts)
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 |