March 24, 2011

Tadian: Timeline of the Journey

As representatives of batch 2003 to the final farewell of a friend and batch mate, this piece chronicles our journey to Batayan, Tadian and back. This is our story.

1) We (Irra, Cherry Dale, Daniel) boarded a Baguio-Lepanto van with the plan of getting off Abatan, Buguias and transfer to another van that would take us straight to our destination. The original plan was to take the Lizardo bus at the Dangwa station and get off Abatan, Buguias. However, precious minutes passed but no Lizardo bus appeared so we rode a Lepanto-bound van instead.

2) We reached Abatan, Buguias. Unfortunately for us, there were no passenger cars that would traverse from Abatan all the way to Batayan, Tadian. So the unknowing travelers that we were, we started asking around. The only available ride was a van that would only take us from Abatan, Buguias to Abatan, Bauko. Since it was the only available van, we took it. Luck was also on our side as a gentleman who was also going to Batayan, offered us a helping hand.
3) We reached Abatan, Bauko. From there, we transferred again to an L300 van that would finally bring us to Batayan. We had to wait though for more than half an hour before we started off.

4) Finally, we've reached Batayan. The communities we've passed along the way included Tadian Sentro, Lubon, Masla, and Sumadel. The gentleman we mentioned earlier was more than a Good Samaritan. He paid for our van fares. Not only that, he took us to his home where we all shared a midday snack of Coke and baked bread. We all engaged in a little conversation where we talked about Besao and a few other things.

5) We met up with Doscal who arrived in Batayan much earlier than us. With him was Pudong, a fellow i-Besao. We ate and shared a lunch of broccoli and pork at the house of our late friend's parents-in-law.

6) After lunch, we had a short meeting on what to do and say once we face our late friend's family and relatives. After a little DEBATE, it was decided that Doscal was going to do the talking or speech.

7) We went to the house, Doscal did his speech then we all introduced ourselves to our late friend's family and relatives. We then spent a few hours of the afternoon watching over our late batch mate and friend.

8) We attended mass at the local church. Father Palpal delivered an inspiring and heartfelt sermon.

9) With candles and flowers, we proceeded to the cemetery for the burial rites.

10) After the burial, we parted ways with Doscal. He was going back home to Besao with Pudong. Lucky for them, they had a motorcyle that'll take them home. As for the three of us, we decided to walk all the way back to Lubon or even further to Abatan, Bauko because we needed to be back in Baguio for as early as possible. It was a crazy idea but we had no choice since there were no more available rides. And the night was approaching fast. The plan was to get to Tadian Sentro or Abatan, Bauko and see if there are available rides but if there are none, we figure we'd have to find a guest house to spend the night.

10) We walked from Batayan to Sumadel then all the way from Sumadel to Masla.

11) We stopped by a store in Masla and had a little snack. We also bought 8 bottles of mineral water and some junk food as “baon” for the long walk from Masla to Lubon.

12) It was already dark and we had no flashlight but we walked on anyway, hoping that the moon will come out soon enough to light our way.

13) Fortunately, we got very lucky. We just started walking out of Masla when an FX car passed us by and offered us a ride. It turned out that the other passengers in the van are councilors of the town of Tadian and they also came from our late friend's wake in Batayan.

14) When we reached a little roadside stream, we all got out of the van and washed our hands in the stream as instructed by one of the councilors. It is their belief that if you just came from a burial ceremony, you must wash yourself before you go home to your community.

15) When we told the councilors that we were trying to get back to Abatan, Bauko, they objected to the idea since there are no more passenger vans plying the route because it's already nighttime. They suggested that we stay for the night in Tadian Sentro. So one of the councilors drove us to the Tadian Parish Hall where we can stay and sleep for the night.

16) We were at the Parish Hall by 8 pm. We were welcomed by two very accommodating and hospitable hosts who are the Parish's caretakers. We logged into the logbook as they prepared the rooms for us.

17) Since the Parish Hall doesn't cook food for it's guests, we decided to go out and look for some place to eat supper. The Parish caretaker graciously told us where we can get something to eat. It was dark and we had no flashlight so we had to grope around to find our way.

18) It was nearly 9 pm so most establishments were closed but we managed to find a little cafe eatery. The place is also a bar so we had to eat our supper of rice, marinated fish and pork which the i-Tadians call “alasaas di baboy” in the company of drunk and tipsy men.

19) After supper, we returned to the Parish Hall and freshened up to wash off the day's dust.

20) Before retiring for the night, we engaged in a lengthy chat or shall we say a myriad of little conversations. We talked about a lot of things – Saint James, all of our former classmates, Sir Gallardo, which classmates got married and which ones remain single, high school crushes, where we are now and where we are heading as a batch. Just recalling those years back in high school.

21) It was very interesting to be reminiscing about those four years we spent within the confines of our alma mater, Saint James. Unfortunately, it was just the three of us. How we all wished, the whole 2003 batch was there. It would have been fantastic.

22) We woke up very early the next morning. We paid our bills and logged out of the Parish Hall. We went down to the Public Market and waited for a bus.

23) We boarded an A-Trans bus to Baguio.

24) I got off in La Trinidad, Benguet. Cherry and Irra continued on to Baguio.

Thus ends the journey. An experience I hope will stay with us for the longest time.
“I've told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation.” - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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