A friend of mine (Adolfo Saldana) asked if I could show what the trail looked like during the daytime which I took in my last video during the night on my walk back from the nearest town, Tagbilaran. Well, as luck would have it I decided yesterday to take another walk to town for some more white spray paint to finish a pantry project I was doing. Besides, my mind started to roam thinking about all those short skirts at the mall.
Word has gotten around the village that the new ‘Kano’ at the end of the road still insists on taking walks at night through the jungle road. The other day Leizel, the local HOA officer who is in the office at the end of my street (very attractive but also, very much married to a guy who I am sure owns a machete of some sort).. chastised me yet again that I really should not be walking around in the dark out there. In a calm, reassuring voice I explained to her;
“You know that part of your brain that tells you something might not be a good idea? Yah, that part of my brain doesn’t really work too well.” I don’t think she caught the subtlety of what I was inferring and instead gave me that look usually reserved for compassion on the mentally retarded.
So today I was walking the road yet again, as I said previously, to get some spray paint, cinnamon, raisins and antibacterial soap when I saw yet another little path that juts out from the main road. It was still daylight, pretty hot and I wanted to just walk down it a bit to get a better view. As I did, to my left I spied through the bushes the entrance to a cave. Naturally I went closer to investigate. My first thought was, “Cobras.. it’s a trap.” Yet, despite being clad in sandals I ventured forward. As I did, my presence of mind came to me and I thought, “Pictures! Gotta get a photo of this.” As I kept my eye on the mouth of the small cave and my eyes adjusted (keeping my eyes peeled for any type of lion or puma that might leap out suddenly).. I noticed something inside was moving. There it was again. Yes, something white was moving around in there. An albino puma. I’ll bet I’m the first (maybe last) person to ever see one in the wild. Must get closer.
As I did I saw there was not just one.. but two in there, definitely moving about as I approached. It was immediately after this that two Filipino men came out of the cave, both clad in white t-shirts. They immediately began to walk away. Their clothes were very clean for two guys coming out of a cave. As they quickly walked away one of them asked, “Companion? You looking for someone?” I wasn’t altogether sure what he meant and the only thing I could think to say in response was, “Why?.. you have an extra one to spare?” Don’t ask me why, it’s all I could think of on such short notice. I was expecting an albino puma.
The two of them kept looking over their shoulders at me as they went down the path into the thick of the jungle. My guess is that they lived down that path a ways and this was where they went to escape the heat and have a smoke. I went to the mouth of the cave and, yes.. the smell of nicotine hung in the air. I got a few photos while keeping an eye peeled and continued on my way.
As I did I was still only 10 minutes into my journey and this time I’d come prepared with my earplugs so I could listen to some tunes this time while taking my walk into town. I got all hooked up and the first song on my phone that came on was, “Red, Red Wine” (the UB40 version, although I like the Neil Diamond version as well.) This was bliss. Just walking along in the sunshine with my backpack on.. listening to the music surrounded by more greenery than you can take in with any single glance.
It was a short-lived moment though because by the middle of the song a Jeepney came slowly tumbling up the road behind me. It wasn’t a for-hire jeepney but a private vehicle. Keeping with the groove I gave them a glance and turned back around to keep walking. The jeepney slowly passed me and then came to a gentle stop ahead of me. I could see that there was a man and woman in the front, two young girls and a boy in the back. As I pulled off my earplugs I could hear the male driver saying something in Visayan to the kids through the window with no glass along the back of the cab.
“My father says to get in.”, the girl of about 15 said to me as she opened up the back hatch. My Mom always warned me, “Never take rides from strangers offering you candy.” No candy was involved so I figured this was legit and climbed in, setting my backpack to my right as the jeepney began it’s slow, bouncy journey across the rough, coral road. I removed my sunglasses out of respect to say, “thank you!” to the driver as I looked at him in the rear-view mirror reflection. Remembering what little Visayan I do know I then followed up with, “Salamat!” He waved his hand without turning around as though to say, ‘No problem.’
Soon the girl sitting across from me asked me, “Where do you live?” Here in the Philippines it seems whether you are a foreigner or not, the customary first conversation is usually a series of questions covering where you are from and your marital status. Who you know is usually right after that. I told them with a few gestures where I lived and she said, “That is very far from ICM (the mall).. you were going to walk all this way?” I told her I’d done it before and it was good exercise. And yes, even she told me sternly, “It is not safe here at night. You should not go.” Being in a bit of a smart-ass mood (which is often) I told her, “Yah.. I guess I should just stay in town overnight, get me a room and roam around downtown.” Yet another puzzled look in return. I get that a lot here.
She told me the names of everyone on board and, with my crappy short-term memory I instantly forgot all the names and later decided her Dad’s name would be Sal and his wife’s name Nella. I really am bad at remember people’s names. But what I do remember is that she said they all lived at a church property and her Dad was the Pastor. I noticed she did not say he was a Priest and gave a knowing, “Ahh.. I see.” “We are Baptists.” she followed up with, just to make sure I really did see. That set me at ease a bit. Not that I was worried at all. There is no glass in the jeepney and I could have escaped even with it moving along at 15 miles per hour without much hesitation if that’s what it came down to.
After a bumpy ride we made a few turns, entered the edge of town and soon were at the ICM mall entrance. I made my way out and to the driver’s window to give the man some proper gratitude for his kindness. He smiled, said something in Visayan again and off I went to the mall.
The rest after that was fairly uneventful. Got my groceries, spray paint and then ran into the same three ‘promo girls’ I’d seen there earlier in the week. Here they have these promo-girls who are usually tall with long legs (hence the tallness) and quite often very cute. The short dresses are a plus as well as they move about the mall handing out promo materials on behalf of whatever company hired them. I had serendipitously run into my neighbor in the grocery store earlier and she insisted I meet her at her car to give me a ride home. So while I waited outside for her to exit.. this is when I ran into the same promo-girls in blue handing out flyers for the Globe network. It would have been rude to ignore them so, I went to introduce myself.
After a bit of chit-chat I asked if they’d take a photo with me. It’s part of their job description (I think) and so they got all giggly, posed and someone nearby snapped off a pic. As they took turns looking at the photo preview on my phone, one of them went into a well rehearsed spiel about the Globe network services they were advertising. I gave her my full attention and three sentences into it she began yammering complete jibberish. The poor girl got all nervous and embarrassed but began laughing uncontrollably as she apologized profusely saying she normally delivers her message very well. Her two promo-friends got a big kick out of it and began teasing her. Despite the fun we were having for the moment I know they have work to do and they couldn’t be seen chatting away with me. So I made my exit and thanked them for the photo op as I left to locate my neighbor’s car in the parking lot and waited for her there.
So, not just once but twice in the same day I lucked out and got a ride.. sparing me from a little over a 2-mile walk round trip. I can always get my exercise some other time. As for the mini-pantry, I sprayed two more coats on it in the dark using just a flashlight to see so, I’ll take a look at it in the morning. It’ll be a nice fixture in the kitchen to keep my sugar, coffee and other goods readily available behind its wire-mesh doors.
I hope you enjoy the video, below, and until next time.. as I always say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Take care,
After 49 years living in Southern California, USA, I decided to move to the Philippines despite never having been here before. In July, 2012, I took a leap of faith and transplanted myself to the amazing Philippines. I am a single man taking an honest look at all that the islands here have to offer, one day at a time. I hope you find my LBTSea site informative, entertaining and hopefully a bit of each. 🙂 Be sure to visit the Forum and other parts of what the site has to offer. Browse around and be sure to sign up for updates via email. Enjoy!