6:00 a.m. Woke up early, because was getting used to it. My
sister, Jo, had texted me on my mobile. Sheâ€™d ended up in Vigan!
She was supposed to be in Laoag
where we would meet. She realized
her mistake, and was already on the move.
a.m. Just had a good breakfast at the Pensione Roma cafÃ©.
My usual bangus and fried eggs with rice. I wanted the eggs
scrambled, but they gave them to me sunny-side up. A family in
the next table was discussing Vigan; they said it was too old, which
amused me. I noticed that the artwork around the cafÃ© was for
sale. One cost PhP 10,000 which was too much for the quality of
9:00 a.m. Relieved that I was finally able to
withdraw some money.
catch of the day
I got into a jeep that would take me to
Penablanca and the Callao Caves. There I met Irma, a secretarial and
computer programming graduate who was on her way to tend her familyâ€™s
halo-halo stand on the banks of the Pinacanauan River where I needed to
be. There was a family of Aetas in the jeepney. One of them
got nauseated and vomited near the edge of Irmaâ€™s shirt. They
disembarked at their settlement near Penablanca, which was founded by
an American philanthropist. I thought of going down with them out of
curiosity, but decided to move on. The province was in the midst of
harvest time. It was also market day in Penablanca town, and
people were arriving in horse-drawn carts. I asked if these were
public transportation, but I was told that they were family-owned
cruising the river
m. Am at the banks of the
Pinacanauan River. Irmaâ€™s was the only stand there and she was
already doing brisk business. The bangkeros were arguing amongst
themselves, so I had to ask the dispatcher Romeo to decide which boat I
was to take. I took the special PhP 250 trip which will take me
up and down the river. The river was emerald green in parts, and
so beautifully pristine. We got to the waterfalls, but it was
just a trickle that summer. I saw that cave where the bats came
out in full force at dusk, but it was too early in the day. We
stopped at the Callao Caves which was already full of tourists.
Unlike Sagada, the cave was relatively dry. I saw the chapel
inside of the cave. The pews and the altar were made of stone.
family horse and cart
m. Back in Tuguegarao
, I had hitched a ride
with an engineer on his SUV. I needed to take a bus to Ilocos.
4:00 p.m. I was passing through the picturesque
coastal route to Laoag, cut out of the cliffside and battered by the
South China Sea. I felt awed that I was at the very tip of
8:00 p.m. In Laoag. So
relieved to see my youngest sister safe and already settled in, and
watching TV. We giggled at our choice of hotel, which was
art-deco style and girlishly pink! The hotel was appropriately named